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  • The Timeless Skill of Cursive Writing

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 3/1/2024

    The art of cursive writing may seem like a relic of the past to some people. However, the importance of cursive extends beyond penmanship. Cursive writing is taught at TCA in second grade.

    In today's digital age, where typing and texting dominate communication, the art of cursive writing may seem like a relic of the past to some people. However, the importance of children learning cursive extends far beyond mere penmanship. This timeless skill not only fosters a connection to history but also plays an important role in cognitive development, enhancing various aspects of a student's learning journey.

    Historical Continuity

    Cursive writing is a form of artistic expression that has stood the test of time. Learning this skill provides children with a unique connection to historical documents, enabling them to decipher handwritten letters and documents from the past. By mastering cursive, children gain the ability to read historical artifacts, fostering an appreciation for the evolution of language and communication.

    Personal Identity

    Cursive writing also carries a personal touch that distinguishes one's identity. A handwritten signature, for instance, is a hallmark of individuality. Encouraging children to learn cursive ensures they can craft their distinctive signatures, contributing to a sense of personal identity and pride in their abilities.

    Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination

    One of the undeniable benefits of cursive writing is its positive impact on fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The intricate loops and curves inherent in cursive letters demand precision and control. As children practice forming these elaborate shapes, they refine their fine motor skills, enhancing their dexterity.

    Cursive writing requires a smooth coordination between the hand and the eye. As children engage in the fluid movements required to connect cursive letters, they develop a heightened sense of spatial awareness and refine their hand-eye coordination. These foundational skills are crucial for future academic pursuits and everyday tasks.

    Enhanced Reading and Academic Proficiency

    Studies have shown a positive correlation between cursive writing and improved reading skills. The rhythmic flow of cursive letters aids in the development of letter recognition and retention. When children practice connecting letters in cursive, it reinforces their understanding of letter sequences, leading to increased reading fluency.

    Furthermore, the act of writing in cursive engages different parts of the brain compared to typing or printing. This unique cognitive engagement has been linked to improved information processing and retention. As children navigate the intricacies of cursive, they stimulate brain regions associated with language and memory, laying a robust foundation for academic success.

    Boosting Creativity and Self-Expression

    Beyond the confines of standardized testing and structured curricula, cursive writing provides an avenue for self-expression. It is, in some respects, an art form. Encouraging children to experiment with different styles of cursive enhances their creative abilities.

    Children can use cursive to bring their thoughts and ideas to life, creating a tangible representation of their unique voice. The freedom to infuse personal flair into their writing fosters a sense of ownership and pride in their work. This not only boosts confidence but also nurtures a lifelong appreciation for the art of written expression.

    Encouraging Patience and Perseverance

    Learning cursive is a journey that requires patience and perseverance. The intricacies of mastering each cursive letter and connecting them into words demand practice and dedication. In an era of instant gratification, instilling the value of persistence through cursive writing is a valuable life lesson.

    As children navigate the challenges of learning cursive, they develop resilience in the face of difficulties. Overcoming the initial hurdles of forming unfamiliar shapes instills a sense of accomplishment, reinforcing the idea that perseverance leads to mastery. These lessons extend beyond the realm of writing, shaping a mindset that embraces challenges with confidence.

    Embracing the Timeless Craft

    The importance of children learning cursive writing extends well beyond the confines of traditional penmanship. It is a gateway to historical continuity, a catalyst for cognitive development, and a canvas for self-expression. Encouraging children to embrace the timeless craft of cursive not only equips them with essential skills but also encourages a love for the art of writing that will accompany them throughout their academic careers and beyond.

    We’re always here to help our TCA parents. If you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 719-484-0091.

    Cursive Writing example

     

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  • A Symphony of Benefits: Music and Fine Arts Education for Your Child

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 2/1/2024

    A Symphony of Benefits: Music and Fine Arts Education for Your Child

    In the pursuit of nurturing well-rounded, exemplary citizens, the importance of music and fine arts education for students cannot be overstated. Let's explore the myriad ways in which these creative disciplines contribute to your child's holistic development.

    Cultivating Cognitive Development Through Music

    Academic Performance: Numerous studies consistently affirm the positive correlation between music education and academic success. Engaging in the intricacies of musical composition sharpens critical thinking, problem-solving, and mathematical skills. Some studies have indicated that students who have several years of musical education are as much as a year ahead of their nonmusical peers by 12th grade.

    Memory Mastery: Learning to play an instrument is like a workout for the brain's memory centers. The repetition and memorization involved not only enhance information retention but also boost overall cognitive capacity. Studies have shown that children who undergo musical training have better verbal memory.

    Tune into Language Skills: The world of music involves decoding notes, rhythms, and lyrics. This intricate process cultivates a heightened sensitivity to language nuances, leading to improved reading and verbal communication skills. This includes learning a second language.

    Fine Arts: A Palette of Emotional Intelligence

    Expressive Freedom: Art, be it through painting, drawing, or sculpting, provides a canvas for emotional expression. In a world where emotions can be complex, fine arts offer a safe way for your child to communicate and process feelings.

    Confidence Unleashed: Engaging in visual arts encourages experimentation and risk-taking. As your child explores different artistic mediums, they learn to embrace their unique perspectives and build confidence in their abilities. This newfound self-assurance benefits them in almost every aspect of their developing lives.

    Cultural Mosaic: Visual arts expose students to diverse cultures and perspectives, fostering empathy and cultural awareness. This exposure to a rich variety of artistic traditions contributes to a broader understanding of the world. Your child becomes a global citizen, appreciating the beauty in diversity.

    A Symphony of Social Skills

    Collaboration: Both music and fine arts education often involve collaborative projects, ensemble performances, and group exhibitions. These experiences instill essential teamwork and collaboration skills, teaching your child the value of working towards a common goal. The stage becomes a training ground for life's collaborative endeavors.

    Communication: Whether playing in an orchestra, acting in a play, or participating in an art exhibition, students involved in the arts develop robust communication skills. They learn to express themselves effectively and listen attentively. They also learn to both provide and accept constructive feedback—a skill set that extends beyond creative pursuits into all aspects of life.

    Discipline and Tempo: Mastering an instrument or honing an artistic technique demands discipline and time management. Students immersed in music and fine arts education naturally develop these crucial life skills, laying the foundation for future academic and professional triumphs.

    Embrace the Artistic Journey

    As parents, actively supporting and embracing your child's involvement in music and fine arts education is a gift that keeps on giving. Beyond notes and brushstrokes, they are creating a future rich in cognitive advancements, emotional intelligence, and invaluable social skills. The benefits derived from these creative pursuits resonate not only in the classroom but throughout their entire lives.

    Let their artistic journey unfold. Encourage your student to dance to the rhythm of their creative heartbeat. In the world of music and fine arts, they are not merely students—they are the composers of their own development symphony.

    If you would like to know more about our values and approach to education, please explore our website or contact our offices at 719-484-0091. We look forward to meeting you.

     

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  • Supporting Your Child's Literacy Development: Tips for Reading at Home

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 1/19/2024

    Many elements make up your child's education. Among those elements, literacy holds a pivotal role. In your position as a parent, you are key in shaping your child's academic journey. Here are some practical tips and insights on how you can nurture your child’s love for reading at home. Instilling a passion for reading early on not only propels academic success but often starts a lifelong love affair with learning. The love of learning is part of our Titan’s Creed.

    Creating a Space for Reading

    Begin by crafting a reading-friendly area at home. It doesn’t have to be an entire room. It could be a cozy corner dedicated to reading. Ensure there are no electronic screens, just a diverse array of age-appropriate books. The goal is to make books not just accessible but irresistible.

    Weaving Reading into Routine

    We have talked about the importance of routine before. Consistency is a great way to build solid reading habits. Whether it's a pre-bedtime ritual, a breakfast book journey, or a post-school escape into a world of words, having a routine adds structure and excitement to reading time. And remember, your active participation can make a big difference.

    Diverse Books for a Diverse World

    Expand your child's literary horizon by introducing a variety of books that introduce different cultures, perspectives, and genres. Letting your child handpick stories that capture their imagination can transform a trip to the library into a thrilling adventure. Variety not only enriches the reading experience but also broadens your student’s understanding of the world. This understanding aids in development as exemplary citizens.

    Reading Together, Growing Together

    You can make reading at home into more than a solitary activity. It can become an interactive journey. Dive into the story with your child, asking questions, dissecting plots, and delving into the characters. This not only boosts comprehension but also transforms reading into a shared, enjoyable experience. Share your thoughts and encourage your child to express theirs. You may be amazed at how insightful they can be.

    Be a Reading Role Model

    Children imitate those around them. Demonstrate your love for reading by incorporating it into your daily life. It doesn’t matter whether it's a novel, a magazine, or the morning newspaper, let your child witness your excitement for acquiring new knowledge. Modeling a positive reading attitude is a powerful influence.

    Celebrate Milestones, Big and Small

    Every reading achievement, no matter how small, deserves to be celebrated. From conquering a challenging book to mastering a set of new words, acknowledging these victories boosts your child's confidence and fuels their motivation. Consider a reading chart or a simple reward system to infuse fun into the learning process. This doesn’t just encourage the child to read, but it also teaches them about setting and achieving goals.

    Writing: The Other Side of Literacy

    Remember, literacy excellence isn't confined to reading alone. Encourage your child to explore the world of writing—be it through journaling, creating short stories, or even writing letters to friends and family. Writing activities provide a unique avenue for expression, strengthening language skills, and nurturing creativity. Writing skills also help students excel throughout their academic careers and beyond.

    Empowering the Reader Within

    We’re honored to be your partner in your student’s academic journey. Together, we can nurture a generation of confident and enthusiastic readers. If you need ideas or tips to encourage reading at home, our education professionals would be happy to help. Just reach out to us. Our office number is 719-484-0091 or email us at tcacontact@asd20.org.

    Reading at Home

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  • Creating a Positive Learning Environment at Home: Tips for Parents

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 12/20/2023

    Creating a Positive Learning Environment at Home: Tips for Parents

    A positive learning environment is important to a successful education. Whether you are a parent involved in our Cottage School Program or our full time program, when student’s get home, the environment you create for them can help to move their learning ahead. Believe it or not, creating that environment isn’t difficult. Here are a few ideas and tips that can help you assist your student.

    1. Create a Dedicated Learning Space

    Designate an area in your home specifically for learning. Whether it's a corner in the living room, a desk in the kitchen, or a small separate room, having a dedicated space helps signal that it's time to focus and learn. That helps your learning environment be more effective.

    2. Organize Supplies

    Keep all learning materials handy. Whether it is books or art supplies, having everything in one place saves time and minimizes distractions. A tidy space leads to a clear mind.

    3. Establish a Routine

    Establishing a routine can be a powerful learning tool. Children thrive on predictability and a set schedule can do wonders for their progress. To that end, set a daily schedule. Design one that suits your family and the needs of your children. Consistency is key, so try to have expected times for lessons, breaks, and activities.

    It is worth noting that while routines are important, make sure to mix it up. Incorporate different subjects and activities to keep things fresh and exciting.

    4. Encourage Independence

    Empower your children to take charge of their learning. This fosters a sense of responsibility and ownership. It can help to sometimes allow choices. When you can, offer a list of subjects or topics and let them choose.

    Always celebrate success. At the same time, encourage self-assessment. When they reach a milestone, celebrate it! This can build their confidence and strengthen their motivation. It can also make learning feel more fun.

    5. Be Patient and Flexible

    Homeschooling can sometimes be an unpredictable journey. Some days will be smooth sailing, while others might have a few bumps. It’s completely natural.

    Learning often involves making mistakes. Teach your children that it's okay to get things wrong; it's a natural part of the process. When they see you admit mistakes and take ownership of them, you are giving them a powerful lesson that helps them develop into exemplary citizens.

    Also, don’t be afraid to be flexible. Different children learn in different ways, and adapting to their needs is a big part of homeschooling. That adaptation not only helps them learn more effectively, but it also helps you grow your skills in aiding them.

    6. Foster Curiosity

    Encourage your children to be inquisitive. Curiosity is the spark that fuels lifelong learning. There are a few ways you can do this. One is to ask open-ended questions. These encourage critical thinking. "What do you think will happen if..." or "Why do you think this works that way..."

    Another way is to follow your children’s interests. If your children are curious about a specific topic, dive deep into it. It's amazing how much learning can happen when it's something they're passionate about. As a bonus, you may end up learning some new things too.

    7. Be a Learning Role Model

    Your attitude towards learning sets the tone. Be the best example for your children. One way is to show enthusiasm. When you're excited about a topic, your children are more likely to be as well. Share your enthusiasm and curiosity. Another way is to make learning a family affair. Explore new topics together, whether it's a DIY project, cooking a new recipe, or picking up a musical instrument. For example, a woodworking project can not only teach life skills, but it also shows your students the practical applications of math, visualization, reading comprehension, and good old attention to detail.

    8. Stay Connected with the Outside World

    Homeschooling doesn't mean isolation. A good learning environment can be in more than one place. Keep your children connected with the world. There are easy ways to keep them connected. Your family could enroll in our Cottage School Program, or engage in extracurricular activities like sports or performing arts to facilitate social interaction and learning.

    You can also discuss current events with your students at an age-appropriate level. It's a great way to develop critical thinking skills and encourage them to approach issues with logic.

    Homeschooling or supporting your children academically can be an incredibly rewarding experience. We hope these tips from our professional educators help you in your journey as your children’s primary educator or if you are supporting their learning in one of our classrooms. We’re always here to help our TCA parents. If you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 719-484-0091.

    students reading

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  • Promoting Healthy Sleep Habits for School Success

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 11/1/2023

    Promoting Healthy Sleep Habits for School Success

    Healthy sleep habits play a significant role in your child's academic success and overall well-being. In this discussion, we'll delve into the importance of fostering healthy sleep habits and provide valuable tips on how to make it happen. Let's get started on the journey to ensure your student gets the rest they need for school success.

    The Importance of Healthy Sleep

    Before we dive into the practical tips, let's take a moment to review why healthy sleep habits are essential for your child's school success at TCA.

    • Enhanced Learning and Memory: Adequate sleep is like a mental recharge. During deep sleep, the brain consolidates information, making it easier for your child to remember what they've learned during the day. When well-rested, children can absorb new concepts more effectively, leading to better academic performance.
    • Improved Concentration and Attention: Sleep directly impacts your student's ability to focus and stay attentive in the classroom. Insufficient sleep can lead to distractibility and difficulty in retaining information.
    • Emotional Well-being: Quality sleep contributes to emotional resilience. Well-rested children are better equipped to manage stress and handle the challenges they encounter at school.
    • Physical Health: Healthy sleep habits are linked to better physical health. Poor sleep can weaken the immune system, making children more susceptible to illnesses, and potentially leading to missed school days.

    Now that we've established why healthy sleep is crucial, let's explore some practical strategies you can use to ensure your child gets the sleep they need.

    Creating a Sleep-Conducive Environment

    • Consistent Bedtime Routine: Establish a regular bedtime routine and stick to it. Consistency signals to your child's body that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep. This routine could include activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or gentle stretching exercises.
    • Limit Screen Time: The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt sleep patterns. It can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Encourage your child to turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. Consider creating a charging station outside of their bedroom to eliminate the temptation to use screens late at night.
    • Comfortable Sleep Environment: Ensure your child's sleep space is comfortable. A comfortable mattress, suitable pillows, and proper room temperature can make a significant difference in their sleep quality.
    • Dim the Lights: In the hour leading up to bedtime, dim the lights in your home. This helps signal to your student's body that it's time to sleep. If your child is afraid of the dark, consider a nightlight with a soft, warm glow.
    • Dark Rooms: A dark room can increase the production of melatonin, enhance your child’s circadian rhythm, and promote a deeper, higher-quality sleeping time.

    Managing Sleep Schedule

    • Set a Consistent Wake-up Time: Just as important as a consistent bedtime is a regular wake-up time. Waking up at the same time each day helps regulate your child's internal clock.
    • Limit Naps: While naps are beneficial for younger children, they can interfere with nighttime sleep for older kids. If your student still needs a nap, keep it short (20-30 minutes) and earlier in the day.

    Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

    • Limit Caffeine Intake: Caffeine, often found in sodas and energy drinks, can disrupt sleep. Limit your child's caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening.
    • Encourage Physical Activity: Regular exercise can improve sleep quality. Encourage your student to engage in physical activities during the day but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime.

    Monitor for Sleep Disorders

    • Keep an Eye on Sleep Quality: Pay attention to your child's sleep patterns and behaviors. If they consistently have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or exhibit symptoms like loud snoring or excessive daytime sleepiness, consider consulting your pediatrician. These could be signs of a sleep disorder that needs addressing.

    In conclusion, promoting healthy sleep habits is a crucial step in ensuring your child's success at school and overall well-being. By creating a sleep-conducive environment, managing sleep schedules, and promoting a healthy lifestyle, you can set your student on the path to academic excellence. Remember, consistency is key, and your guidance and support play a pivotal role in fostering these habits. You can find more information about healthy sleep habits from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)

    We hope you find these tips helpful in promoting healthy sleep habits for your child. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Together, we can ensure that your student is well-rested and ready to excel in their educational journey.

    Child Sleeping

     

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  • Embracing Focus: The Classical Academy's New Digital Health Policy

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 10/3/2023

    In the ever-evolving landscape of education, The Classical Academy takes pride in staying true to our founding values while embracing positive changes. This year, our updated cell phone policy reinforces our commitment to fostering an optimal learning environment for all our students.

    The Journey to Enhanced Focus

    Over the last decade, personal cell phones have been both a help and a challenge within our classrooms. While they have brought opportunities, they've also presented distractions that can impede the depth of learning and meaningful interactions. In light of this, the TCA Board, with valuable input from our school administration, has taken a countercultural stance. Starting this academic year, cell phones will not be permitted for use during school hours.

    A Philosophy that Shapes Change

    Our school's Core Values have always emphasized the mindful use of technology in education. Given the rising concerns highlighted by research regarding the impact of cell phones and social media on the learning process, we believe this policy change is a significant stride towards a more focused and enriched TCA experience.

    Positive Transformations Await

    The rationale behind this change is rooted in a deep understanding of the potential setbacks that excessive cell phone use can bring. While cell phones do provide benefits, we believe they are overshadowed by disruptions, reduced attention spans, and the impact on social and emotional well-being. Our new policy aims to address these concerns and offers numerous advantages:

    1. Diminished Distractions: By leaving cell phones secured and turned off during school hours, students can immerse themselves in their studies without the pull of digital distractions.
    2. Nurtured Relationships: Authentic connections thrive when students engage in face-to-face conversations, building meaningful relationships with peers and educators.
    3. Positive Mental Health: A break from constant screen exposure can contribute to healthier screen-time habits, reduce social media pressures, and support better mental well-being.
    4. Life Skills Cultivation: Learning to manage time and attention without relying on cell phones is a valuable life skill that prepares students for future success.

    Practical Implementation

    We understand that changes in our cell phone policy can raise questions. Starting from day one of the upcoming academic year, students are welcome to bring their cell phones to school. However, phones must be turned off and must be securely put away in lockers, backpacks, or bags during school hours. Students shall not access their phones from the start of classes until the student’s day is over (bell to bell). This policy ensures a focused and distraction-free classroom environment.

    The full version of this policy can be found in JICJ-TCA-B Board Policy Regarding Student Use of Cell Phones.

    Any consideration for medical exemptions should follow the processes outlined in JICJ-TCA-E Medical Exemption Form for Student Use of Cell Phones.

    Navigating Disciplinary Measures

    To ensure a smooth transition, we've designed a graduated response for infractions of the cell phone policy:

    1. 1st Offense: The student's phone will be held at the office, retrievable by the student at the end of the day.
    2. 2nd Offense: The phone will again be kept at the office, requiring parental retrieval at the day's end.
    3. 3rd Offense: Defiance will result in a one-day suspension.
    4. 4th Offense: Continued defiance will lead to a minimum three-day suspension.

    Your school's administrator/principal may apply additional consequences based on individual circumstances.

    Unity in Action

    This policy underscores our commitment to classical, scholarly, and values-oriented education. It creates a daily "digital respite" that encourages emotional well-being, strong relationships, and unity among our students. These elements are essential for a wholesome educational experience that extends beyond the classroom.

    We believe parental support at home will make this policy change more effective as well.

    A Path to Growth

    We acknowledge that introducing this cell phone policy is a significant change for our community. To facilitate this transition, formal appeals will be paused for the first six months after implementation, allowing us to make prudent adjustments and gather feedback. As always, we welcome community concerns or disputes at our Board of Directors meetings during Audience Comment sessions.

    In closing, we extend our gratitude for your ongoing support and partnership. The Classical Academy is dedicated to nurturing a learning environment that uplifts our students, promotes growth, and fosters a genuine love for knowledge. As we embark on this journey together, we remain committed to providing a vibrant, distraction-free space where every student can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

    Digital Health

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  • The Gift of Time: Understanding the Rationale Behind Age Requirements in Early Education

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 9/15/2023

    When should my child begin kindergarten or first grade? This is a question all parents ask when they start to consider enrolling their children in school. What seems like a simple question can have a somewhat nuanced answer. The Classical Academy has very specific age requirements for kindergarten and first-grade enrollment. These requirements differ a bit from the school district, so sometimes parents ask why. Here is a little about why TCA calls this practice, “the Gift of Time”.

    Age Requirements for Kindergarten and 1st Grade.

    The school district allows students to register for kindergarten if they turn 5 on or before October 1st. However, the Classic Academy has a different requirement that was put into place after thoughtful consideration of academic studies and years of classroom experience.

    To enroll at TCA, students must turn 5 years of age on or before June 1st of the intended enrollment year in order to start kindergarten. This means if a student’s birthday is June 12, that child will start kindergarten in the enrollment year that child turns 6.

    Similarly, a child must be 6 years of age on or before June 1 of the start of the school year to enroll in 1st grade.

    These deadlines and age requirements are applicable to both the Traditional and the Cottage School Programs. TCA does not make exceptions to this requirement.

    Why Give the Gift of Time

    This was not a decision we made lightly. After careful analysis and consideration of past performance, TCA has found that younger kindergarteners, specifically those who start before or barely turning 5, tend to face more challenges throughout their academic journey. So, in order to ensure the best possible educational outcome for all students, we have established the specific age requirements for enrollment in kindergarten and 1st grade.

    The Rationale for the Gift of Time

    Enrollment in Kindergarten is a significant milestone in a young person's life, and it is essential to consider each child's individual readiness for this important step. Research shows that children, especially boys, are often not developmentally prepared for the academic and social demands of a classroom setting until closer to age 6.

    At TCA, our kindergarten program is academically rigorous, encompassing real reading, math activities, history, science, music, art, and the beginning of writing and grammar activities. In fact, our kindergarten curriculum is comparable to what is typically taught in a first-grade classroom in other schools. Providing students with an additional year before starting formal academics facilitates a smoother transition from play to more structured learning.

    The ease of transition is beneficial. Students are more confident and develop a better sense of security. This benefits them as they are introduced into the classroom community.

    Moreover, studies from Stanford University have highlighted the benefits of delaying kindergarten for a year. Children who wait show lower levels of inattention and hyperactivity, leading to improved mental health that persists into later childhood, even up to age 11.

    It is also worth noting that being younger than their peers can have an impact on how students are perceived as they progress through school. Physically, socially, and academically, they may continue to lag behind their classmates.

    It is Important

    TCA firmly believes that these age requirements will contribute to something we all want for your student: a positive and successful educational journey. By ensuring that students are developmentally ready for the challenges ahead, we can foster a supportive environment that promotes growth and achievement.

    If you would like more information about our academic programs, please visit our website. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the age requirements or our school programs, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to support you and your child every step of the way.

    .Early Education

     

     

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  • The Cottage School Program at The Classical Academy

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 8/15/2023

    TCA’s Cottage School Program (CSP) was developed to help parents who are committed to providing their children with the best possible education. This unique program is a partnership between homeschooling parents and The Classical Academy, to create a fuller educational experience. It is a part-time program designed to augment the education being given at home, not replace it. Parents remain the primary educators and their participation is critical to the success of the program.

    Classical Education Principles

    At the heart of The Classical Academy's Cottage School Program lies the time-tested principles of classical education. The curriculum emphasizes the trivium, which consists of three stages: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The grammar stage focuses on building a foundation of knowledge, the logic stage fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and the rhetoric stage hones students' abilities in effective communication. This comprehensive approach cultivates well-rounded individuals who are capable of analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and eloquent expression.

    Who is the Cottage School Program for?

    CSP is for home-schooling families that have children in kindergarten through 6th grade. The program is designed to supplement the instruction being given in the home. The goal is to assist parents in developing exemplary citizens equipped with analytical thinking skills, virtuous character, and a passion for learning. We use the same core values and mission as we do in all our classrooms to help parents expand the educational opportunities for their children. To be clear, it is our desire to uphold family instruction, core values, and educational direction developed at home.

    What Does the Cottage School Program Teach?

    CSP is a Language Arts-emphasis program focused on Core Knowledge curriculum (not Common Core), Character Education, and Specials – Physical Education, Art, and Music. The program does not teach reading, math, history, or science. Parental involvement and support are a critical part of the program. TCA provides your child’s language arts curriculum and in-class instruction, and parents continue that instruction at home during the week. Students in grades K-2 can anticipate 1-2 hours of CSP work to be completed at home each week; grades 3-6 average 2-3 hours of work each week.

    Kindergarten- 2nd Grade.

    Our instruction for students in this age range is based on the Spalding Method. This instruction provides a foundation for phonemic awareness and literature appreciation. At the same time, we provide essential instruction in writing and grammar. While we don’t explicitly teach reading in these classes, it supports the reading program that you are using at home. Our staff can provide you with recommendations for reading programs if you need them.

    3rd to 6th Grade.

    Strong writing skills are essential for success. That is the reason that students in this age range, are taught with curriculum from the Institute of Excellence in Writing. This writing program methodically guides students to improve their writing while melding pertinent grammar and vocabulary skills in each lesson. Their Classic Education is augmented with an array of literature lessons from various grade-level selections incorporated along with Greek/Latin Roots for enrichment.

    Nurturing Community Environment

    The Cottage School Program provides a nurturing community environment that supports students' holistic development. The school fosters strong relationships among students, parents, and teachers, creating a close-knit community where everyone is valued and respected. CSP students participate in grade-level field trips and all-school Field Day. In addition, families are encouraged to attend extracurricular activities such as our annual music concerts, the Family Talent Show, the Art Show, and our end-of-year CSP gathering. Our art and music enrichment programs are also available to CSP students in 3rd through 6th grades. We encourage our home school families to experience our community and network with each other. This helps parents stay engaged and fosters a sense of belonging in students through the development of social skills and empathy.

    Schedules

    Kindergarten-aged students attend two half-days per week, either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday mornings (8:15 -11:30 am).

    Students in 1st through 6th grade attend one full day per week (8:15 am – 3:30 pm)

    1st, 3rd, and 5th graders have the option to attend on either Wednesdays or Thursdays.

    2nd, 4th, and 6th graders have the option to attend on either Mondays or Tuesdays.

    We Honor Parents

    Choosing to educate children at home is one of the most rewarding and challenging endeavors a family will ever experience. We aim to lift some of the burdens of teaching and fill some voids many homeschool parents have expressed that caused them to quit. TCA accomplishes this by providing a safe academic environment and providing you with academic support. We have many veteran home school parents and staff “on call” to assist you. We would love to partner with you to help your children find success in their Language Arts studies. You can find out more about the Cottage School Program on our website. Contact the Registrar’s office for further assistance regarding enrollment. They would love to help continue your child’s educational journey.

    CSP reading

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  • Why We Do Half-Day Kindergarten

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 7/21/2023

    While some schools may offer full-day kindergarten programs, TCA only offers half-day kindergarten sessions for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, half-day kindergarten allows for a smoother transition from home to school for both children and parents. Young children may find it challenging to adjust to a full day of school, especially if they have never been in a structured classroom environment before. With half-day sessions, children are able to gradually acclimate to the classroom setting, and parents can better manage their child's schedule without needing to make childcare arrangements for a full day.

    In addition, half-day kindergarten allows for a more focused learning experience. With a shorter school day, teachers can maximize instructional time and ensure that children are engaged and learning at a pace that is appropriate for their age. This also allows for more individualized attention and support for each child.

    Parents at The Classical Academy also have the option to choose between morning or afternoon kindergarten sessions, depending on their schedules and preferences. This flexibility allows families to better manage their own schedules while still ensuring that their child is receiving a quality education.

    Whether you choose the am or pm class times, our schedule has your child in class Monday through Thursday.  This leaves Fridays off. That day is sometimes utilized as a test or tutoring day for children needing some extra help with their work.  Otherwise, it allows for more family and play time.

    There is still homework in kindergarten, but it is no more than 30 minutes. This helps to reinforce the skills learned in the classroom and prepare children for future academic success while not overloading them.

    We also place a strong emphasis on specials which include art, music, and physical education. TCA’s music education begins in kindergarten. We believe it is important to give children the opportunity to develop a love of music from an early age. Some studies have shown that early music education also has other benefits such as improved language capabilities, better study habits, improved memory and increased hand-eye coordination.  Children will cultivate this love for music in our program and will eventually use those skills for band or choir in junior high and high school.

    As you can see, our decision to offer half-day kindergarten here at TCA has been carefully made. A smoother transition to school, a more focused learning experience, flexibility for families, reinforcement of classroom skills, and a strong emphasis on the arts are all reasons we believe this is the correct choice for our students and your family.  We believe that this approach best serves the needs of our students and prepares them for a successful academic journey and prepares them to become exemplary citizens.

    These are a few of our reasons, but if you would like to discuss our rationale for half-day kindergarten further or have questions about other aspects of our kindergarten program, please visit our website or call us at 719-484-0091. We will be happy to help you.

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  • Our Core Values

    Posted by Tisha Harris on 6/2/2023

    The Classical Academy (TCA) located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a charter school that is committed to providing its students with a high-quality education that is grounded in a set of core values. These core values are at the heart of TCA's mission and are reflected in everything the school does. Let's take a closer look at these values and what they mean for students, teachers, and parents at TCA.

    Origin

    Documenting our core values was a process. It started with a subcommittee of our board of directors. Over the next two years, the conversation included input from the founding board members, past and present board members, and all of TCA’s administration leadership.

    Once it was complete, the board of directors approved it and enjoyed the support of the school administration. It now serves as our compass to keep TCA on its course, both now and in the future.

    Dignity and Respect

    One of our core pillars is our belief that all humans deserve dignity and respect. This starts with how we treat our children. We also demonstrate a culture of respectful, civil interactions between adults in all situations and, by modeling that, teach our students to do the same.

    Unalienable Rights

    The Declaration of Independence listed unalienable rights and we build on that. Our children are taught to value freedom and recognize that the sacrifices made by our veterans are something to be honored. We also cultivate a culture of service and placing others first. We develop virtuous character and teach the importance of the Constitution in our lives. In addition, we teach personal economic liberty and the virtue of a free enterprise system.

    Exemplary Citizens

    At the root of it all, our system is set up to help children grow into exemplary citizens. To achieve that, we start with the idea that education addresses mind, body, and spirit.

    We see cultivating virtuous character including excellence with honor, moral courage, compassion, and relational grace as important steps in the development of our children. We believe our education efforts should uplift the student through the pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness across disciplines. And we help our students understand the relationship between the domains of science, philosophy, and religion, as well as their limitations.

    We also place value on an education that encourages creativity, complex analytical thinking, and discernment while exploring the marketplace of ideas.  We place an emphasis on the study of Western traditions and its ideals of democracy, equality before the law, property rights, political rights, and religious freedom. Additionally, we recognize and value the achievements and contributions of many peoples, cultures, and nations.

    Parents First

    Our staff is aware of the responsibility and trust being placed in them by our parents and views it as an honor. As part of this, we respect the domain of the home in areas such as sex education and religious upbringing. In turn, we value parents that respect the staff and model respect for their authority in the school domain so their children can learn by that example. Our practices are counter-cultural when culture encourages indulgence. We expect a higher standard of civility and decency from our children, staff, and parents.

    These are a few of the Core Values that guide what we do here at The Classical Academy. If you would like to see more about them, please explore our website or contact our offices at 719-484-0091. We look forward to meeting you.

    Remembering our Roots

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