At Caldwell Academy we realize that making a decision about where and when to send your child to school can be stressful and confusing. Few investments in life hold as much potential as the time, money, and thought that you put into your child’s education. This decision has the ability to influence the way children view the world around them, the shaping of their character, and the hope that they hold for the future.
Private schools, public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, home school — the choices seem endless. What are your child’s interests and learning style? Does your child thrive with more structure in the classroom, or less ? What extracurricular programs do you believe will contribute to the best educational experience possible? The list of questions could go on.
As you ponder these questions, we would love to share a few reasons why we, as educators and parents, have chosen to be a part of Caldwell Academy. We believe that these distinct characteristics make Caldwell Academy a wonderful place to learn, grow, and play. So what is the Caldwell difference?
Classical education was born in Greek culture and thrived until the late 19th century. This proven method of education has produced some of the greatest thinkers, leaders, writers, artists, and scientists in the Western world. America’s Ivy League colleges and the ideals of our founding fathers grew out of the soil of a rich classical educational tradition. The results have been proven time and time again, but what does classical education look like today?
At Caldwell Academy, we believe that the classical Trivium of Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric provides an educational framework that corresponds to a student’s natural development.
Grammar Stage (K-5th Grade)
Students in the Grammar stage possess an innate ability to memorize and retain facts. Our classical methodology fosters this ability by including many songs, chants, and jingles in our Grammar School curriculum to help students memorize and retain the foundational facts and truths that they will rely on throughout their education. Hands-on learning experiences encourage a student’s natural curiosity and encourage creativity.
Dialectic Stage (6th-8th Grade)
The Dialectic Stage (sometimes called the Logic Stage) is the developmental period in which a student naturally moves from questions of “what” and begins to ask, “Why?” Students at this stage have developed the ability to think more abstractly, and from this newfound capacity flows their love of questioning and the tendency to debate anything, from the intricacies of a just war to the color of the sky. At Caldwell Academy we believe that the ability to reason and argue correctly will set our graduates apart when they enter college and their chosen spheres of influence. To accomplish this goal, our Dialectic School focuses on nurturing sound reasoning skills by teaching students to define terms, recognize logical fallacies, and identify assumptions. Our Dialectic classrooms are filled with discussion and debate as our teachers encourage students to ask questions and discuss ideas.
Rhetoric Stage (9th-12th Grade)
Students in the Rhetoric Stage have become independent thinkers and have naturally developed a concern about how they are perceived by others. Our Rhetoric curriculum focuses on giving students the tools they need to effectively communicate with and persuade an audience, whether a small group of peers, a panel of judges, or an auditorium packed with listeners of all ages. We encourage our students to draw on the facts they memorized during the Grammar Stage and to apply the logical thinking skills acquired during the Dialectic Stage in order to exercise and develop further skills in debate, apologetics, essay writing, speech, and drama. Before receiving their diplomas, they must complete the Senior Thesis assignment, the capstone of a Caldwell Academy education. Each senior must research and defend of an arguable thesis both in a paper submitted in class and in an oral presentation before a panel of professionals whose respective backgrounds allow them to challenge and evaluate the effectiveness of the student’s presentation.
As Caldwell Academy integrates subjects such as math, science, history, literature, and art throughout all three stages of the Trivium, students are able to observe the effects that ideas in these different areas had on each other throughout history. What effect did the Industrial Revolution and the progress of science have on the literature and ideas of the late 18th and early 19th centuries? What effect did this progress have on philosophy and art? These are the questions that students wrestle with as they begin to formulate their own worldview.
The Teacher as Mentor
Classical methodology focuses strongly on the teacher as a mentor. The master and apprentice relationship has proven to be a highly effective tool for learning over many centuries. We believe in Socrates’ notion that education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire, and that this is best accomplished through teachers who have a love of lifelong learning and a desire to mentor students in their area of expertise.
Is Classical Education Still Relevant?
The world around us has never moved faster. Technology and culture are reshaping our lives at an incredible speed. At Caldwell Academy, we believe that people who are able to think clearly and articulate well will always be in high demand, and even more so in an ever-changing culture. As we equip students with the tools that they need to become lifelong learners, they are also gaining the knowledge and ability to grow and learn independently no matter what their chosen career path may be. We believe that the skills acquired from a classical education will always be relevant.
Caldwell Academy is a nondenominational Christian school. As such, we believe that all truth is God’s truth and that our students are created in His image. For this reason, we approach all subjects from a biblical worldview, wherein students are regarded as souls to be nourished, not vessels to be filled. We encourage our entire school community to pursue wisdom, virtue, and service to the glory of God.
Our ultimate goal at Caldwell Academy is to produce graduates who will answer God’s call to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8b).
At Caldwell Academy our faculty, staff, students, and families come from a variety of different church backgrounds, family dynamics, zip codes, and socioeconomic situations. However, we come together with a shared passion to see our students become winsome discerners and communicators of God’s truth. We pray together, serve together, learn together, and have fun together as a community. The results are inspiring. A Grammar School dad invites a Rhetoric student to shadow him at work for a day. Fifth Graders visit the Preschool to encourage our youngest students in the Book Buddy program. Parents are constantly in the classrooms, the lunchroom, and behind the scenes, working together to make our community, both inside and outside the school, a better place. When a senior lifts a Kindergarten student onto his shoulders to provide a better view during an assembly program, we are reminded of the value of our distinctly Preschool through 12th Grade community school.