Classical Distinctives

As a guide for the overall academic program and the basis for our school, we teach:

A. Classical Culture – It is an expectation that dignity and respect are displayed for and by students. Administration greets students at the gate with a handshake each morning and teachers replicate that greeting at their doors. When a visitor enters a classroom, the students stand to greet them as a group; students are expected to stand when speaking to an authority. Students are required to adhere to a strict dress code that is uniform in nature. The national pledge of allegiance is said each morning. There is a strong partnership with families enabling the students to maintain a rigorous and fast-paced learning pattern. Homework and hard work are daily expectations. The depth of learning is evident as teachers utilize the Socratic Method within the classroom. Fostering accelerated learning, mastery of content, and exceptional behavior aim to create habits of the mind and cultivate moral as well as academic excellence.

B. Virtue Education – The daily lessons inherently cultivate the virtues of temperance, prudence, justice and fortitude as a means of discovering a deeper truth. Virtue is the foundation for all knowledge prompting the learner to strive for wisdom. This is why our vision reads, “A Heritage of Virtue, Wisdom, and Knowledge.” The most important part of our school is the focus on a child’s character in partnership with their parents. Ongoing virtue surveys and teacher feedback provide accountability for this portion of the students’ education.

C. Humanities First – We focus on literature, history, grammar, reading, writing, and human reasoning as the foundation for all other subjects. For example, the art and music departments align their projects to the units of literature illustrating interconnectedness of content. Much of the educational material presented in the classroom is prioritized through the guise of history and literature. We also maintain a100% literacy rate for all students at the end of first grade demonstrating the emphasis on reading instruction. Concurrently we recognize that we must prepare our learners for the modern world; therefore, math and science are taught systematically K-12 in connection to the study of the humanities.

D. A Historical Lens – Engaging students in the great conversations of the past not only broadens their worldview, but develops informed and wise citizens. We structure all of our learning from K-8 through the four historical periods; namely, ancients, medieval, renaissance, and modernity. All literature curriculum is placed at the appropriate grade level based on this historical pattern. This chronological and cyclical view of history allows students to develop a timeline through which they are able to filter current events and political regimes and make judgments regarding possible outcomes and effects on the involved parties.

E. Latin – We teach Latin roots beginning in third grade and intensive studies through Latin 3 in High School. This expectation helps develop the vocabulary and understanding of the English language and grammar. Once students learn the grammar of the Latin language they are ready to use the language as a decoding tool for the rest of their lives.

F. Hierarchy of Learning – Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, or trivium, are the stages that naturally benefit the developmental periods of the learner. Grammar, kindergarten through sixth grade, is the stage in which students perform rote memorization and develop a baseline of facts and information. This stage is broken into 2 phases (pre-Polly and Polly), which move students from parroting to analyzing these memorized facts. In the logic stage, grades seven through nine, students begin to ask meaningful questions and formally debate. Lastly, students move into the rhetorical stage in grades nine/ten through twelve. When they reach this stage they have internalized their learning and can develop and discuss their personal point of view with evidence and support. All learning at Temecula Preparatory School is taught with respect to these stages.

The academic program incorporates the Classical Distintives through each grade, kindergarten through twelfth.  

Kindergarten is an extremely important grade level as it sets the foundation for the classical education. It is considered the introduction into the pre-poly phase of the grammar stage. In Kindergarten, students learn basic reading, arithmetic, and American historical facts to prepare them for 1st grade.

First grade is the 1st level of the historical rotation of classical education in the grammar stage. The first grade curriculum is centered around the ancient history of the world including Egypt, Rome, and Greece. There is a high concentration on learning the rules and basic facts of math, reading, history and phonics as well as the sciences.

Second grade is considered the end of the pre-poly phase in the grammar stage as students are prepared for more critical thinking and rigor in the 3rd grade. The second grade curriculum is centered around medieval times and students learn more about classic literature in Western Civilization, while continuing to learn basic foundational facts.

Third grade is considered a transitional grade between the pre-poly and poly phases of the grammar stage. Interestingly, third grade seems to be a transitional grade nationally, regardless of curriculum and is indicative of classical education’s recognition of the developmental stages students transition through between grades. In third grade, students begin the study of the Renaissance and early American time periods. It is the first time that students use novels as a foundation of the literacy program at TPS.  Students begin to learn Latin roots and prefixes and discontinue the study of phonics in preparation for the study of Latin in the 7th grade.  In the third grade students also begin the use of 1:1 technology in the classroom – meaning one computer for every student.

Fourth grade students complete the first cycle through history ending with Modernity (1860 – present). During this grade, students study modern classical literature and history, as they become fully immersed in the poly-parrot phase of grammar, they continue to lay the foundation of acquiring facts in all subject areas.

In fifth grade, students start the historical cycle over and return back to a study of the Ancients. In first grade they were given basic factual information, now, in the fifth grade they are taught to begin to think critically and build upon the foundation they learned in the previous years.

Sixth grade prepares students for the Logic Stage, which begins in seventh grade. Students learn about Medieval times in both history and literature, continuing the historical cycle.  Students are taught to apply critical thinking to the learning process.  This is also the first year that students can participate in our athletic program, which is a helpful transition from the Lower School to the Upper School. Sixth grade is the last grade in which student classes are self-contained which is unique to our program and appreciated by many parents.  The culmination of sixth grade is the Beneficium Ceremony, which is a celebration that serves as a bridge between the grammar stage and the logic stage of classical education.

Seventh grade begins the Logic Stage and the development of critical thinking skills centered around the Renaissance time period. Students move from Latin roots incorporated in their grammar, to a full Latin course. Students also have the opportunity to choose one elective as they begin rotating between classrooms and teachers.  The hallmark of this stage is the development of logic skills, both within the curriculum and outside of the classroom.  

Eighth grade completes the historical rotation for the second time in our students’ career ending with a critical study of Modernity (1860-current). The eighth grade cotillion gives students the opportunity to put virtue into practice by implementing the rules of civility in a practical manner.  At the end of the eighth grade year, students will transition to the high school program.

The high school program continues the classical tradition of following the historical timeline as a basis for the curricular program.

 

Ninth grade students start the last historical rotation with the Ancients.  The ninth grade year marks the end of the Logic Stage as students prepare to enter rhetoric.  Students are taught how to analyze and synthesize information and defend their arguments based on fact.  Ninth grade students will be selected to enter the TPS House system in order to continue their development of virtue and community.  

 

During the tenth grade year, students fully enter the Rhetoric Stage.  For the first time, they are able to analyze and synthesize information on their own.  Students will learn how to defend  and provide evidence to support their arguments.  Tenth grade students study Medieval Times through Modernity.  

 

Eleventh grade students study American History, using original source documents, along with the incorporation of American literature.  Students are able to display, on their own, characteristics of rhetoric for the first time as they begin to prepare to complete their classical education during their senior year.  

 

The senior class completes the classical program at TPS.  Modernity is studied in literature, as well as through the study of Government and Economics.  All seniors take Moral Philosophy, a class that culminates their study of human virtue in the classical tradition.  At the end of the senior year, students are able to analyze, synthesize and defend their arguments using the skills of rhetoric.  The senior Commencement marks the culmination of our educational program. 

Visual Arts

The study of the arts is important to Temecula Preparatory School’s classical educational approach for two reasons.

Above all else it is important to understand that the study of the arts is foundational to the study of history. The arts, visual or otherwise, do not occur in a vacuum or without context. They are a product of man’s conflict, pleasure, enjoyment of life, philosophy, government, and culture. Those creating art do so within the influences of the society and ethos around them. For this reason, the ideas that are infused in art are the reason that their study and practice are important.

The second reason for the study of the arts is that all of the arts are connected through the various philosophical movements in history. In other words, the arts are driven by man’s philosophy. What this means is that art does not only convey philosophical facts, but it is also used to convey philosophical theory.

We have a strong visual arts program. For grades K-6, students participate in the development of art projects inspired by well known artists throughout history.

In grades 7-8 we begin the elective art process with a basic art pencil and paint program designed to teach students foundational art concepts.
In grades 9-12 we continue the visual arts program with Art 1, Art 2, 3-D Art, photography, and AP Art History.

We place such a high premium on the visual arts that we hold our own annual Art Festival; coordinated by the art teachers and PATS that allows all of our students and parents to view and enjoy the art produced by our students. This has been a great success and is in an integral part of the TPS culture.

California Standards

Temecula Preparatory School’s (TPS) K-12 classical instructional model provides a rigorous curriculum which also has a strong focus on the four cardinal virtues. In addition to exceeding all of the California State Standards, TPS has developed their own standards which truly cultivate the human experience.

Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind called the trivium. The trivium covers 3 stages of human development and learning; Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. The TPS Lower School focuses on the Grammar Stage. The purpose of the Grammar stage is to provide students with a strong educational foundation by utilizing rote memorization, phonics based reading, grammar, recitations, and rigorous mathematics; all practiced with the purpose and intent of leading students to absorption. The Upper School is focused on the next two stages. The Logic Stage, which is taught in the middle school years focuses on stimulating and teaching students to develop a logical inquisitiveness regarding information learned. The final stage taught during the high school years is the Rhetoric stage. During the Rhetoric Stage students are taught how to think and apply the knowledge learned in order to understand information in a meaningful way and produce original thought and ideas.

The curriculum is based on the historical timeline from Ancient times through Modernity. The timelines are taught in each developmental stage building knowledge and understanding for each student in a meaningful way that is focused, again, on the cultivation of the human experience.

All of Temecula Preparatory School’s curriculum meets or exceeds the California State Standards otherwise known as the Common Core State Standards. In addition to that, TPS teachers annually update their units to reflect any changes mandated at the state level. As a public school in the state of California, all of requirements are kept pursuant to state standards, the education code and law as it pertains to charter schools. Students matriculate through a rigorous college preparatory program.