Paideia uses the classical method of education. “Classical” refers to the traditional approach to education, an approach common before the twentieth century that was cultivated by the church, grounded in piety, and governed by theology. Classical education uses the historic curriculum and teaching methods of the seven liberal arts (grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music) in order to form men and women characterized by wisdom, virtue, and eloquence.
Classical also refers to the educational insights that Dorothy Sayers made in her essay “The Lost Tools of Learning.” She observed that students tend to learn in stages that correspond to the subject matter of the first three liberal arts (grammar, logic, and rhetoric).
In the Grammar stage (elementary), students like to sing, chant, and recite. They like to learn the “facts” or the “grammar” of various subjects such as history, science, geography, math, and music. At Paideia we like to refer to the Grammar stage as the Musical stage. It is the stage where students wonder at Creation, delight in imitation, and learn through literature and narrative.
In the Logic stage (junior high), students like to find out how all those facts fit together. They like to synthesize, analyze, and argue, identifying fallacies and presenting logical arguments.
In the Rhetoric stage (high school), students like to present themselves with polish. They like to write and speak with eloquence, using their words to persuade, to instruct, and to delight. These three stages of learning, as identified by Sayers, are another aspect of Classical education.