Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
At South Hills Catholic Academy we believe in using a hands-on learning approach whenever possible. Our teachers feel that it helps the students to better comprehend the lesson being taught. Our traditional curriculum encourages communication, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity; it is based on The Educational Plan of St. Jerome Classical School. A detailed explanation of this educational plan may be found here.
What is a Traditional Catholic Curriculum? Traditional Catholic education is language-focused; learning is accomplished through words, written and spoken, rather than through images on the television or computer screen. This requires the mind to work harder as opposed to passively sitting in front of a screen. Most importantly, a Traditional Catholic education is a formal education with a classical-model curriculum that has an end-goal of the student learning to discern and to know how to use what he or she has learned to glorify God.
A traditional (classical) curriculum follows a three-step liberal arts approach known as a "trivium" consisting of grammar, logic and rhetoric. These three steps are integrated into each discipline of our curriculum and are described below:
The “grammar stage” concentrates on the building blocks for all other learning. Rules of phonics and spelling, grammar, poems, vocabulary of foreign languages, stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants, animals, the human body; the facts of mathematics. The students use these basic building blocks to form the second stage of education.
In the “logic stage,” the student pays attention to cause and effect, relationships to different fields of knowledge and how they relate, the way that facts fit together into a logical framework. They learn to apply their paragraph construction skills to supporting a thesis, criticism, and analysis of texts. For example, not just learning the facts of a war, but why a war was fought. They learn the facts of science, and apply the scientific method.
In the "rhetoric stage" students concentrate on acquiring wisdom and applying knowledge. They learn how to express themselves persuasively.
In summary, some people feel that a Traditional Catholic Curriculum must be an advanced curriculum only for elite students. Rather, it takes us back to the basics: how to read, how to think, how to speak. It is language-focused and follows a specific three-part pattern which is incorporated into each discipline of our integrated curriculum: supply the mind with facts and images, give the student logical tools for organization of facts, and equip them to express conclusions.
At South Hills Catholic Academy our primary focus is our students, God's children. We believe that students grow through diversity which is why our school welcomes students with unique gifts, economic backgrounds and varying abilities and faiths. We accommodate all of those differences and they are appreciated.