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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
It may look like your ordinary pre-school with toys scattered on the floor and books on the shelves, but the learning curriculum at Springfield Academy is anything but run of the mill.
“We're a classical liberal art academy, which means we study according to the seven liberal arts - the trivium which includes grammar, rhetoric and logic, and the quadrivium, which includes arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy,” said the school's director Julie Morris, “We teach Latin grammar and most of the Greek grammar, and in the process, they're going to learn English grammar. It is progressive in the sense that students are going to learn very quickly. It's an ancient model that has been used for thousands of years.”
Springfield Academy is currently accepting pre-schoolers and hopes to begin enrolling full-time students next fall. At first glance, the lower grades resemble a regular public school.
“At the lower levels, the focus is primarily to learning to read,” Morris said. “From kindergarten to second grade, it's going to look very similar to a regular school, but they also may be learning some Latin such as reciting Latin prayers or singing Latin songs. Then when they get to be somewhere between eight and 10 years old, they are start going into serious study.”
Many of the foundations of the classic liberal arts are also used to students who are home-schooled. Morris said the advantages of this type of lesson plan teach students to utilize critical thinking skills and become more focused on their studies.
“The biggest advantage is that the students learn to think independently and to problem solve,” said Morris. “They have to develop discipline and a good work ethic. You know that when you leave them alone for 15 minutes, their work is going to be done when you return. Technology is a part of it as well, it's not like they are in a monastery studying books. By the end of their studies, a student will be able to read scientific literature at college level or beyond. It helps them do well in college and in the workplace as well.”
Morris said that there is more demand for alternative teaching methods these days.
“Over the past 20 years, there have been many private schools that have begun teaching the classic liberal arts,” she said. “They tend to be mostly Christian schools, but they are not always, there are also some secular schools as well. Several are also offering online courses all over the world. The advantage of Springfield Academy or other schools using the classical method is that we can offer more one-on one instruction. In a public school setting, the teachers are expected to teach every student and not all students learn at the same pace.”
“The way the schedule works for the grammar school, the students will work for about an hour and a half working on memorizing and reciting, then another hour and a half of history or science, and in that way, it looks very similar to a public school. Then after lunch, they get to go outside and have some physical activity. After that, they are ready to come back in and have a concentrated session.”
“The school is not accredited through the state of Kentucky, for that you need to use the textbooks that they require,” Morris said. “However, it is a recognized, legal school and abides by all of the state regulations. Any student who transfers from Springfield Academy is not going to be behind.”
Springfield Academy is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010, but Morris said the school will accept students in the spring if they are interested in enrolling. She hopes to offer some sample classes in the summer.
"We'd like for everyone to have a chance to check us out and see if this is something that suits them."
For more information about Springfield Academy, call Julie Morris at (859) 481-6007 or visit www.springfield-academy.org on the Internet.