HCA embraces Classical Christian Education as a return to a time-honored approach to learning. The classical method is based on the centuries-old method of education known as the Trivium. In using the Trivium, we divide the teaching methods into three major stages according to the way children naturally develop. We like to say that we are teaching children “with the grain.”
- Grammar Stage: Kindergarten – 5th grade Children in this stage are naturally inclined to memorize. The grammar stage capitalizes on their desire to memorize, recite, and chant. In this stage, we teach them the “grammar” of each subject, or each subject’s fundamental facts and rules.
- Logic Stage: Grades 6 – 8 In the logic stage, we capitalize on the student’s love of challenging others, arguing, and finding holes in communication. Logic is taught in this stage to enhance a student’s reasoning platform, to examine the construction of argument, and to strengthen debate and persuasion with articulation and research. As the students develop their positions of debate they draw on the facts learned in the grammar stage.
- Rhetoric Stage: Grades 9 – 12 In the rhetoric stage, students strive to express themselves. We teach them how to communicate clearly in written and verbal forms, how to conduct research in all subject areas, and how to see relationships among subjects. In this final stage, the students learn how to communicate eloquently and persuasively, presenting the substance and applying the tools learned in the Grammar and Logic stages.
Subject content, or knowledge and skills, is at the heart of the Classical curriculum. We believe our children will be better able to serve God, understand life,and succeed in their personal futures if they are equipped with a solid base of knowledge. In all of the Trivium, we seek to teach the students how to learn for themselves and how to express and defend what they learn. Some key points about our program of study:
- Classical education places an emphasis on the basics. We understand the basics to be subjects such as languages, arts, math, reading, writing, and history.
- Classical education is designed to provide students with a core knowledge – a kind of cultural literacy – that will enable them to minister and live more effectively at this important stage of our country’s history.
- Grades 3 – 8 study Latin in order to acquire a greater understanding of the English language as well as provide a base for learning foreign languages.
A Classical Education builds on the developmental stages of the learner. God has created each child with a primary learning style. Auditory learners process best the information they hear. Visual learners learn by seeing. Kinesthetic, or tactile learners process information best when they touch/feel/manipulate or practice while they are being taught.
At HCA we respect the different ways God has created our students. Lessons are carefully planned to include all learning styles whenever possible. In addition, several members of our faculty are trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach to multi-sensory learning.
Hickory Christian Academy makes every effort to support parents in early intervention concerning learning differences that could lead to a “learning disability” label. If taught appropriately, children will succeed and reach their full academic potential. Every effort is made to train our faculty so that only true learning differences are brought to the forefront for extra attention and private intervention.
Our preschool, Transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade teachers have been trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach to Multi-sensory Phonics. Other HCA teachers have been trained to deal with all learning styles. This training is a Masters level course requiring 70 hours of class work and practicum experience. The O-G Approach insures that students meeting the requirements for acceptance into our school will be taught appropriately. Students are given the tools to decode and encode words and learn the rules of language, thereby giving them the best foundation to understand reading and spelling to the fullest. The handwriting component is also crucial as students develop legible manuscript and cursive handwriting. Students who begin with us in preschool or kindergarten achieve the best results.
ORTON-GILLINGHAM TRAINED STAFF
- Connie W. Peeler (C): Grammar School Administrator – O-G Trainer with 15 years experience as O-G Tutor and Supervising Teacher/ Past Board Member for NC Branch of the International Dyslexia Association
- Tammy Smith (C): HCA 5th Grade Teacher – O-G Trainer with 12 years experience as O-G Tutor
- Debbie Preachers (C): HCA 1st Grade Teacher – O-G Teacher and Tutor with 7 years experience
- Marquita Fox: HCA Kindergarten Teacher – O-G Teacher and Tutor with 4 years experience
(C) denotes a teacher who has successfully completed the year’s follow-up observations, received her certificate, and may be available for tutoring under the Orton-Gillingham approach. The years of experience listed include only O-G experience and do not include the many additional years of classroom experience.