What Is the Grammar Stage?
In a classical education, the first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” — not because students spend five years learning parts of speech, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years — what we commonly think of as grades one through five — the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun. During this period, education involves not only self-expression and self-discovery, but also the learning of facts. Rules of phonics and spelling and grammar, poetry, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics — the list goes on. This information makes up the “grammar,” or the basic building blocks, in the first stage of education.
Around fifth and sixth grades, a child’s mind begins to think more analytically. Middle-school students are less interested in finding out facts than asking, “Why?” The second phase of the classical education, the “Logic Stage,” is a time when the child begins to pay attention to cause and effect, to the relationships between different fields of knowledge, and to the way facts fit together into a logical framework.
At MGA, our Grammar School encompasses Grammar-stage students as well as the early Logic-stage students. Level K is Kindergarten; Levels A through E are comparable, generally, to grades first through fifth. Because we do not place children by age, students are placed based on reading level, and maturity level, in consultation with parents.
The Structure of This Partnership
MGA provides structure and access to group-centered learning while allowing each family to maintain a home-centered education. The most important feature of the MGA approach is that we are a partnership. And as with any partnership, it will only work to its greatest benefit if we all fulfill our role in the partnership.
Our part, as your child’s Grammar School teachers, is to:
- Provide group and some individual instruction in class in the core areas of math, language arts, history, and science, as well as exposure to some other subjects that might be more difficult to provide in a home setting, including PE, art, and music.
- Provide structure and direction by assigning at-home work, which complements classroom activities and instruction.
- Suggest optional activities and ideas for you which will enrich your studies at home.
- Provide tools and instruction to help each child develop organizational skills as well as the skills and behaviors needed to function well in a group.
- Communicate with parents regularly, to provide a window into class activities and your child’s participation.
In this partnership the parents commit to:
- Check the website weekly for assignments and updates on class activities.
- Print the assignment sheet and any other needed resources provided on the website.
- Work with your child to complete any assignments, and check each assignment.
- Require and supervise your child making any necessary corrections.
- Ensure your child submits the assignment by the due date.
- Check off each assignment on the assignment sheet AFTER you have checked the work for accuracy and completion. If the assignment is too difficult or too easy for your child, you will make whatever modifications you deem necessary and record those modifications on the assignment sheet before it is turned in.
- Help your child develop independence and responsibility by reinforcing the organization methods and routines that we have put in place for each child (i.e. take home folders, homework procedures, materials, etc.)
- Be a window for us into your child by communicating regularly about work at home, any major life events affecting your child, etc.
For further information about Grammar School (K – 5th), contact the Grammar School Director: firstname.lastname@example.org