What is Classical Education?

The Classical education imparted at Donahue Academy is structured and integrated so as to affect not only the mastery of facts and ideas but also to provide the students with the tools of learning and a general disposition toward intellectual virtue. Classical education is not just about subject matter but also about the integration of various disciplines and the development of intellectual faculties necessary to fruitfully and fully pursue truth and to appreciate the unity of all truth.

The means toward this end include a carefully structured curriculum, focusing on the great books, emphasizing reading and language (including Latin) and delivered with a pedagogical emphasis appropriate to the students’ developmental abilities. Dorothy Sayers in her important article on classical education, The Lost Tools of Learning, referred to this as “teaching with the grain.” The subject matter is structured, sequenced, and repeated over a period of years, growing ever deeper into details and increased depths of synthesis. History and literature, music and art are studied in a complementary context. Science instruction also follows a similar four-year pattern of biology, earth science, chemistry, and physics. Each iteration of the discipline and subject matter increases in depth and scope as the student advances through our school and is constantly challenged to connect existing information and ideas to new information, insights and challenges. A collaborative K-12 faculty will assist them in this exciting and rewarding journey. The process takes time, but as it follows the natural growth and development of children into young adults, there is no better way to proceed towards the goal of fully developed young adults ready to face the challenges of the modern age, and if they so choose, matriculate into Ave Maria University where this life-long pursuit of wisdom and learning can proceed under the direction of undergraduate and graduate faculty who have devoted their lives to this endeavor.

The Trivium
The progression outlined above is often broken down into a pattern called the Trivium. As the name implies, it flows in three general stages: