What is Integration?
An Ambrose Parent Education article by Carl Warmouth, Dean of the Grammar School
We have been extremely blessed this year to have many new families at Ambrose. While some have come here specifically because we are a classical school, for others the classical approach is brand new. Since there are many things unique to a classical Christian education at Ambrose, I thought it might be helpful to write a series of short articles explaining why we do particular things in the Grammar School, and how they contribute to the overall goals for our graduates.
Teaching as an Integrated Whole:
One of the desires of classical Christian education is to intentionally integrate all of the subjects within a school day. Bible, History, Spelling, Science, etc. are not simply “subjects” that are taught independent of each other. We seek to create in students the recognition of the interconnectedness between all of God’s creation and that faith and the natural world go together. The Greeks viewed this as a means for cultivating paideia*.
A Theme for the Year:
One of the ways we do that is by having a theme for every grade level, K-6. The theme is the focus for the year and it represents a “great idea” that increases in complexity each year as the child develops. The themes for each grade are as follows:
1st Grade: God’s Perfect Plan
2nd Grade: The Fruit of the Spirit
3rd Grade: The Seven Virtues
4th Grade: The Four Loves
5th Grade: The Great Ideas
6th Grade: The Good Life
How Does it Work?:
The teacher is able to centralize all learning for the year around one theme by identifying examples of that theme and training the students to look for examples of that theme in every subject. By doing so, the students begin to see the connections between each of the subjects as well as biblical connections. Each year the themes get more complex, gradually stretching the child’s ability to think philosophically and develop a Christian worldview in every area of life. In upcoming articles we will look at specific examples of those themes.
*Bonus: What is paideia? This is the word that the ancient Greeks used to describe an ideally educated citizen. There is no good English translation but we can think of it as a fully formed soul who has been informed by virtually every aspect of the natural world in a pursuit of Truth.
Want to hear more?
He will be presenting ideas from his perspective as a Christian husband and father as well as an administrator that has been working with children since 1989. We encourage you to attend the workshop as many of the philosophical and practical tips he will present are designed to promote consistency between the home and the school. You will find the information useful and worth your time. Childcare can be arranged through the junior class fundraiser.
If you are not a current Ambrose parent but would like to attend, please feel free to join us. If you have questions, call the office at 208-323-3888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.