Philosophy of Education
Baldwin Christian School is a Classical-Christian school dedicated to building character by forming the hearts and minds of our students to know, reflect, and express the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus Christ.
As our name indicates, we are a Christian school. But what does that mean?
Students. Do we only admit students living perfect Christian lives? Of course not—we teach children, not angels. We can’t and don’t promise that students are always going to imitate Christ, but we can promise that we will hold them accountable to Biblical standards and correct them in a Biblical manner when they stray from those standards.
Materials. Do we only use Christian materials? No. While much of our curriculum is Christian, as our students get older we do incorporate non-Christian books. We do this because we want our students to understand and be able to engage with the world around them. However, all of our teachers are Christian, everything we teach we teach from the perspective of a Christian worldview, and we judge everything according to God’s revealed word.
As a classical school we follow the trivium, teach Latin and Greek, and focus on Western Civilization by using the Great Books.
Trivium. The trivium matches the dominant educational need and method of instruction with a child’s development. In the grammar stage (grade school) students focus on mastering core ideas, concepts, and terms. When students begin to ask more and deeper questions, we enter the logic stage (middle school) where students are trained to think critically and instructed in formal logic. When students have both content knowledge and the ability to think through it critically, they enter the rhetoric stage (high school) wherein we train them to speak and write clearly and persuasively. In short the trivium imparts content knowledge, equips students to think critically, and prepares them to communicate winsomely.
Classical Languages. We instruct our students in Latin and Greek for a couple of reasons. First, both are foundational languages. As such their study deepens students’ understanding of English grammar while expanding their vocabulary, which helps them develop into stronger readers and better writers. The study of Latin and Greek also equips them to learn other languages later in life. Finally, being able to read these languages allows students to check primary sources themselves instead of having to rely on the authority or interpretation of others. This is particularly important when reading and interpreting the Bible.
Western Civilization. No matter where our ancestors came from, as Americans we are members of Western Civilization. We cannot understand the world we live in without understanding the events, people, ideas, etc. that have formed and shaped our civilization.
Great Books. Instead of reading a modern professor’s interpretation of the growth and development of our civilization, we read the first-hand accounts of those that made and witnessed history. Our students let the Greeks and Romans themselves speak about their histories; they read the great works of literature from Homer, to Dante, to Shakespeare; and they dive into controversies in economics, philosophy, and theology. In so doing they grow in their ability to both understand and critique modern thoughts and ideas in a wide array of disciplines. Moreover, an education infused with purpose and focused around great books produces lifelong learners that love to learn.
Socratic Method. When possible we seek to equip and lead students to find and discover correct answers themselves. The question and answer method of Socratic instruction promotes an active learning that teaches students not merely what to learn, but how to learn. It also helps students to recognize that they play the primary role and responsibility in their education.
Surrounded by the machines of the industrial revolution theorists began to reconceive education. Instead of seeking to form mature and free individuals, they reduced the goal of schools to the mere transmission of the knowledge and skills that workers required. Their limited view of education assumes a limited view of human beings and produces what it assumes. In contrast, we believe that every child, every student, bears God’s image and has been created and called to live and delight in the truth, goodness, and beauty of Christ.
Because of this belief we train our students to seek academic and moral excellence.
Academic Excellence. We are committed to applying the truth of Scripture to every area of our curricula and to training children to think Biblically in every area of life. Our multi-age classrooms offer students the opportunity to receive instruction based upon their ability and not solely upon their age. National testing isn’t the only indicator of a school’s success. As a school we seek first and foremost to instill a love of learning and the development of Godly character. Nonetheless, our students regularly test significantly higher than their peers. Over the last five years our students have had ACT scores five points higher than the national average.
Moral Excellence. Academic knowledge is worthless at best and potentially even dangerous if it is not subservient to higher values and truth. At Baldwin Christian School our students are taught that truth exists and that it comes from God; they are also taught that what is true is also good and beautiful and manifestly worth pursuing. Our goal is that our students would not know only know what is good, but be equipped to do what is good, and find their greatest earthly joy in living out the good that God has called them to.