What is a Classical Education?
Classical education is a classroom in which well-educated, articulate, and engaged teachers explicitly convey real knowledge to students using traditional teaching methods. At Optima Classical Academy at Estero, our mission is to train the minds and improve the hearts of young people through a rigorous, classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue. We have a culture that demands moral virtue, decorum, respect, discipline, and studiousness among students and faculty. There is acknowledgement of objective standards of correctness, logic, beauty, weightiness, and truth intrinsic to the liberal arts. One description defining and explaining the difference and importance of classical education can be found here: “A Classical Education for Modern Times,” by Dr. Terrence Moore, a headmaster and one of the chief architects of the Barney Charter School Initiative
A Content-Rich Curriculum
A classical education delivers real content which fosters a natural love for learning and thinking. Students learn about historical events, characters, stories, fables, myths, scientific facts, and mathematical proofs. They read whole books in great depth, and learn to approach books both with motivation to learn and courage to question.
A republic is best served when its citizens can formulate historically-rooted opinions, draw upon powerful myths, stories, allegories, and tales, and understand the basic workings of the natural world. Together, these abilities sustain the best kind of conversation and elevate the tenor of our common life.
Our license with the Hillsdale Barney Charter School Initiative brings with it a time-tested and proven curriculum that does not teach to the test, but more than prepares students for success by exceeding the standards of many other schools.
A Traditional Classroom
Our teachers teach and our students study. A classical classroom prioritizes the authority of the teacher, and their expertise and responsibility to deliver it to students. Students are not the passive recipients of knowledge, but active participants in the discussion. This disciplined and orderly environment facilitates attention, focus, and engagement. In our classrooms, technology may be a tool, but the teachers model leadership and deliver instruction. We do not entrust the preparation of our next generation of Americans to an adult monitoring the students allegedly "learning" from a computer program. Suggested reading: An Introduction to Classical Education by Dr. Chris Perrin.