Introduction and HistoryExploration into the feasibility of opening a parochial elementary school at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, located in Mogadore, Ohio, was started after the parish revised its mission statement and long-range plan in 1997, which were published as follows:Mission Statement of St. Nicholas Orthodox ChurchThrough worship and life together as a community, we will attempt to continue Christs mission to transform the world around us by bringing it to God. We will do this by:Learning and teaching Gods statutesInspiring our faithfulReaching out to those seeking the Kingdom of GodInviting all to come and seeBeing sensitive to the spiritual, physical, and material needs of allAttempting to make ourselves true reflections of Gods gloryExcerpt from the St. Nicholas Long-Range PlanFive-Year GoalsItem 6: Establish an Akron-area parochial elementary school to offer an educational alternative to parents interested in providing their children with a quality academic education and deeper knowledge of the True Faith.A school committee, consisting of the parish priest, deacon, and six interested parents, began meeting bimonthly in August 1999. After representatives from this group attended two Charter School Start-Up workshops sponsored by the Ohio Department of Education in Columbus, the committee decided the project was quite feasible, considering the facilities available at the parish complex, the pool of potential students and skilled volunteers available in the Akron-Canton area. The committee approached the parish assembly at the end of January 2000 for permission to officially begin the project, which was granted, and set a Year 1 goal of five students and one paid teacher. That committee agreed to become the first School Board.In the fall of 2000, St. Nicholas Orthodox School opened its doors. Drawing from the classical model of education, the school developed a curriculum which incorporated the philosophies of the Ancient Greeks, Thomas Jefferson and Dorothy Sayers. This model focused on natural cognitive development and provided the students with the tools of learning. This philosophy has continued to the present. What is a Classical Education?The modern proponent of the classical approach was British writer and medieval scholar Dorothy Sayers. In an essay entitled, The Lost Tools of Learning, Miss Sayers asked: Is not the great defect of our education today ... that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils subjects, we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning. To remedy this, Sayers proposed reinstating the classical form of education used in the Middle Ages.In the classical approach, children under age 18 are taught tools of learning collectively called the Trivium. The Trivium has three parts that correspond to a childs developmental stage: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. The lost tools of learning that make up the Trivium are language and thinking skills that can be used to approach any subject. The goal of the Trivium is to produce students who are capable of teaching themselves.GrammarElementary / Grades 1-4The first stage of the Trivium covers approximately ages 6-10, or that stage when children most readily receive and memorize information. The grammar stage focuses on reading, writing and spelling; the study of Latin (and at St. Nicholas Orthodox School, conversational Russian); and developing observation, listening and memorization skills. The goal of this stage is to master the elements of language and develop a general framework of knowledge.DialecticMiddle / Grades 5-8The dialectic stage begins at approximately ages 10-12 when children begin to demonstrate independent or abstract thought (usually becoming opinionated or argumentative). Instead of suppressing the childs tendency to argue, the teacher molds and shapes it by teaching logical discussion, debate, and how to draw correct conclusions, then support them with facts. The goal of this stage is to equip the child with language and thinking skills capable of detecting fallacies in an argument. Latin study is continued, with the addition of Greek (and written Russian, which uses a similar Cyrillic alphabet). The student reads essays, arguments and criticisms instead of literature as in the grammar stage. History leans toward interpreting events. Higher math, physics, and theology begin.