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Classical Education

Educational Method

True education has a two-fold object: (1) the perfection of the human intellect in its ability to know, to reason, and to express itself and (2) the formation of the will to adhere to what is good and right. To accomplish the two-fold purpose, the Academy employs tried and true methods from the best of human history.

Immaculate Conception Academy is has been officially accredited by the Classical Latin School Association since 2019. This accreditation provides external validation of our academic integrity and access to resources enabling the continuous improvement of the Academy.

Education of the Intellect

Perfect schools are the result not so much of good methods as of good teachers, teachers who are thoroughly prepared and well-grounded in the matter they have to teach; who possess the intellectual and moral qualifications required by their important office; who cherish a pure and holy love for the youths confided to them because they love Jesus Christ and His Church, of which these are the children of predilection; and who have therefore sincerely at heart the true good of family and country.

To achieve the intellectual development of its students, the Academy employs the classical curriculum, the educational program which has produced the greatest works of literature and the great advancements in the sciences. St. Ignatius Loyola saw in this program an excellent means for the education and salvation of souls and ordered the Society of Jesus to make use of it in all their schools. In the earliest years of educating the students (the Grammar stage), the classical curriculum focuses on developing the student’s abilities to learn information, by listening and reading, and to render that information by the spoken and written word. During the middle years of education (the Logic stage), the curriculum develops the student’s reasoning powers and awakens him to the power of logical thinking, weighing the value of statements according to the rules of logical reasoning and, by the processes of induction and deduction, drawing logical conclusions as well as identifying fallacious arguments. In the latter years of education (the Rhetoric stage), the classical curriculum builds upon the student’s knowledge and reasoning abilities to develop the powers of expressing thoughts in a clear, orderly, elegant, and logical manner.

Throughout this entire educational process, the classical curriculum enhances the student’s powers of learning, reasoning, and self-expression by the inculcation of the Latin language and study of the great literature produced by civilization. A hallmark of the classical curriculum is that the courses of study are not treated as isolated subjects, but they are consistently interrelated to manifest the unity of truth and of knowledge as it has developed through human history to the present day. In this way, the classical curriculum enables a student to perfect his powers of knowing accurately, reasoning soundly, and expressing thoughts with clarity and precision.

Formation of the Will

In order to obtain perfect education, it is of the utmost importance to see that all those conditions which surround the child during the period of his formation, in other words, that the combination of circumstances which we call environment, correspond exactly to the end proposed.

The Academy follows the disciplinary method of the great 19th-century educatory, St. John Bosco. As opposed to the “repressive” system prevailing in his time, Don Bosco prescribed the “preventive” system based on the three pillars of reason, religion, and kindness. Discipline erupting from anger and passion is inconsistent, arbitrary, and unfair; it confuses and embitters the child rather than correcting and instructing him. When reason dominates the teacher’s actions, discipline is measured and consistent, fair and constructive. The instructor not only requires right behavior in his students but demonstrates it in his own life.

Religion is the second element in Don Bosco’s method. By religion, we put into practice the truths we know by faith. By religion, we cultivate in ourselves humility, prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, honesty, purity, etc.—not only for the natural motive of a trouble-free life (as the pagan philosophers taught) but to fulfill the Great Commandments of God in obedience to Christ.

Kindness makes virtue attractive. It is the love of God expressed through us, His human creatures. It inspires the young in our care to follow the three admonitions of Don Bosco to his students: Be cheerful, work hard, and obey the rules. The teacher expresses care for students by rejoicing with them in their prosperity and their strengths, comforting and encouraging them in adversity, and supporting them in their challenges and weaknesses. This requires the teacher’s steady vigilance for the students’ benefit.

This necessary vigilance does not demand that young people be removed from the society in which they must live and save their souls; but that today more than ever they should be forewarned and forearmed as Christians against the seductions and the errors of the world, which, as Holy Writ admonishes us, is all “concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes and pride of life.” [I John 2, 16]

The formation of the will, or moral education, as envisioned by Saint John Bosco, is ultimately the formation of the conscience. The development of the human conscience demands patient supervision and persevering care over many years. Christ has commanded us to be vigilant. This vigilance for parents and teachers concerns not only themselves but also extends to the impressionable minds and promising souls of the young entrusted to their care.

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