Classical Liberal Arts and Sciences

Non scholæ sed vitæ discimus – We do not learn for school, but for life. – Seneca

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Non scholæ sed vitæ discimus – We do not learn for school, but for life. – Seneca

What does the “classical” in our name signify? Its meaning can be traced to the ancient Greek development of two interconnected sets of principles that we strive to cultivate: “shared inquiry” and “habits of mind.” We refer to the antiquity of these principles, not because we want to revere their old age, but because it is helpful to keep in mind that these are not modern inventions—they are deep-rooted sources of vitality in our own striving to be free, to understand the world, to understand ourselves, and to live good lives.

Socrates of Athens developed shared inquiry into a method of pursuing truth. He did not mean the kind of dialogue that merely seeks practical compromises, but instead something like the kind of discourse among modern scientists, gradually sifting out invalid theories, that has led to our enriched understanding of the fundamental forces of physics, the quantal nature of matter—the periodic table of the elements!—and the cellular basis of plant and animal life. All of these advances required rigorous, truth-seeking dialogue among scientists across many generations.

We cannot use experimental methods or microscopes as evidence in pursuing the truth about moral principles; so it is harder for dialogue to produce such decisive agreement about the human fundamentals as it can in the physical sciences. Their reality is not proven by logic; yet courageous and artful dialogue can help us to sift out their core meanings.

This ancient thinker showed, ironically, that in pursuing moral inquiry through rigorous dialogue, we are compelled to continually practice the very goodness that we are seeking to understand: we have to practice courage and self-control in striving, through dialogue, to understand them. At LCA our diverse studies, with teachers using diverse methods, have this in common: we explicitly, consciously strive to practice the “parts” of both intellectual and moral excellence—which the ancient Greeks and Romans called virtues, and which we call good habits of mind—through the challenge of honest, truth-seeking dialogue.

Louisville Classical Academy stands in a long tradition of education that reflects the spirit of inquiry of ancient Greco-Roman culture. Students at LCA learn, in a very literal way, how to participate productively in the “Great Conversation” that began in Athens more than 2,000 years ago and continues today. Essential areas of study in the classical liberal arts and sciences include Latin, advanced science and mathematics, enduring literature, history, fine arts, music, and geography, as well as culturally significant mythology and philosophy. These tools develop superior habits of mind that also facilitate learning in the sciences, history, and art. 

LCA provides students an intellectual home with a comprehensive education based on a solid foundation of knowledge and strong critical thinking skills. Considered of equal importance is the cultivation of Habits of Mind, such as persistence, attention to detail, openness to new ideas, and flexible thinking. Our ideal student is curious, motivated, focused, and capable of working hard. So many children innately possess this potential, and we exist to see it flourish. Within this intellectual home, LCA students learn to approach learning and life with reason, mindfulness, and purpose. We hope you will inquire about our program’s fit for your child.

The Arts

Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.  – Plato

 Music enhances the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broadening the depth with which they think and feel. If we are to hope for a society of culturally literate people, music must be a vital part of our children’s education.  – Yo-Yo Ma

Louisville Classical Academy esteems music, art, and drama as an integral part, not periphery, of our daily curriculum. All lower- and upper-school students participate in choir, where they will sing songs from the canon of children's and classical music, including songs in other languages. Students listen to and create music in a way that will allow them to become fluent in this most beautiful of languages. Private and group music lessons are available during the school day (usually Mondays) in piano, guitar, and violin.

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Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain at artist once we grow up. – Pablo Picasso

As they grow up, students at LCA will understand art to be an essential part of their learning and their lives. At all grade levels, art class meets multiple times per week, but it does not stop there; art is integrated across subjects to enrich learning.

The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. – Stella Adler

Primary students learn historical and modern stories through drama and dance. They have the opportunity to try on different personas, expand their imaginations, and experience performing in front of peers and parents. In the grammar and upper schools, drama is offered as an elective.

Movement

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. – John F. Kennedy

 You will find few, if any, schools in Louisville that offer as much recess time as LCA. Students in all grades, even through high school, are provided the recess time their brains and bodies need. LCA acknowledges sound research on the interrelationship between the mind and body. We believe whole-heartedly that moving their bodies through recess and physical exercise is critical to children’s and adolescents’ social, emotional, and intellectual development.

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Primary students have recess three times per day: morning, after lunch, and in the afternoon. Outdoor recess is our priority, but when the weather makes it impossible, recess takes place indoors. Additionally, they take PE twice a week and drama/dance once a week. Across subjects, students are afforded opportunity for movement within their classrooms. Kindergarteners have daily free play.

In grammar, middle, and high school... NEED MORE CONTENT

Habits of Mind

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. – Will Durant on Aristotle

 A habit of mind is a composite of many skills, attitudes, cues, past experiences, and proclivities that serve as an established framework for handling challenges, enabling creativity and innovation, and supporting of lifetime of intelligent decision making.

More tangibly, LCA’s curriculum is inspired by the 16 attributes, termed Habits of Mind, identified by notable educators Arthur L. Costa, Ed.D and Bena Kallick, Ph.D. Knowing, practicing, and employing these intellectual patterns when confronted with challenges is critical to successful, emotionally intelligent human functioning and productivity. The 16 Habits of Minds are:

  • Persisting

  • Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

  • Managing impulsivity

  • Gathering data through all senses

  • Listening with understanding and empathy

  • Creating, imagining, innovating

  • Thinking flexibly

  • Responding with wonderment and awe

  • Thinking about thinking (metacognition)

  • Taking responsible risks

  • Striving for accuracy

  • Finding humor

  • Questioning and posing problems

  • Thinking interdependently

  • Applying past knowledge to new situations

  • Remaining open to continuous learning

At LCA, the Habits of Mind inform instruction, both directly and indirectly, and are reinforced with classroom dynamics. Students are encouraged to think flexibly, respond to the world with wonder and awe, listen with empathy, cultivate persistence, and remain open to continuous learning. They learn to manage impulsivity, strive for accuracy, and communicate with clarity and precision. The encouragement to “think about thinking” allows students to develop metacognitive skills as they progress.

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