What is a classical Christian education?

in Uncategorized by

Headmaster Chad Lawrence discusses the philosophy behind Holy Trinity Classical Christian School

By Pamela Brownstein

On August 1, 2012, Headmaster Chad Lawrence got the good news that his new Holy Trinity Classical Christian School was approved to move into its home on 302 Burroughs Avenue. That gave him and his staff only 21 days to ready the empty building for the first day of school on August 22. Although it was a hectic and busy time, Lawrence said, “It was very exciting for us.”

Holy Trinity Classical Christian School Headmaster Chad Lawrence stands in front of a bulletin board displaying the artwork of the week.

Now that everyone has settled in, the efforts of their hard work can be seen in the colorful, creative classrooms that foster an inviting environment and in the hallways where students wear uniforms and big smiles on their faces.

On a tour of the school, Lawrence describes its mission: “We have a desire to provide children with a strong academic education with a Christian foundation.”

The school teaches preschool, with classes for 2 and 3-year-olds, through fifth grade. Each week, the classes learn art, music, poetry and a memory verse. The art classes are based on pieces of classical art from artists such as Van Gogh and da Vinci.

In second grade, the students start learning Latin, a key part of the school’s curriculum. They memorize basic vocabulary words and phrases, and the language gets more challenging for the older grades. But Miss. Bywater, the fourth and fifth grade teacher, said Latin is her students’ favorite subject.

“They like it because it’s something not everybody knows,” she said.

The idea for the new school began in earnest more than a year ago, and after accepting the position of headmaster, Lawrence admits he’d never heard of classical education before. “But the more I learned about it, the more I realized how right on it is,” he said as far as its emphasis on a traditional approach to learning with structure and focusing on classical studies such as Latin and Greek mythology.

The teachers and staff work in collaboration with Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Ky., which serves as a model for Holy Trinity.

“We believe in learning from a knowledgeable, educated teacher, who leads from the front of the classroom,” said Lawrence.

Headmaster Lawrence was once a teacher himself before joining the seminary and becoming a part of the clergy at the Parish Church of St. Helena in downtown Beaufort, and he values the importance of educating the whole person. Holy Trinity has its own athletics program and the school has improved the playground with new equipment.

“I think playing outside is a big part of childhood,” he said.

The science curriculum goes in-depth, and students spend a whole year learning about one subject. They teach cursive and adhere to a code of conduct. They also read classic literature. “We want to read great books,” Lawrence said.

Right now the school has about 100 students, with small class sizes at only 14 or 15 students per class. They hope to add sixth grade next year, and Lawrence said the eventual goal is to be a Pre-K through 12th grade school.

Lawrence hopes to dispel misconceptions about a classical education that some might perceive as strict and serious and out-dated.

“I see our students as joyful with a love of learning,” he said with a smile.

For more information about the school, call 843-522-0660 or visit www.htccs.org.