FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What is a classical Christian education?
A classical and Christian education is an intellectually and spiritually formative education that sparks a love of learning, establishes a solid foundation and good habits of mind and soul, provides students with the tools of learning and presents them with rich content and great ideas. Classical Christian education seeks to nourish the souls of our students on truth, goodness and beauty so that they might learn to love that which is good and worth loving and also to learn to use their gifts and freedoms wisely in service of God and neighbor.
The classical method was born in ancient Greece and Rome, was used throughout the western world by the 16th century, and remained the norm until at least 1850 and in many places through the early 20th century. This is a proven methodology that has stood the test of time. Students benefit from this proven method of education which teaches students to become independent thinkers, effective communicators and lifelong learners while being guided by a thoroughly biblical world and life view.
This model uses the time tested methods that provide students with the best tools for their learning abilities at any given age of maturity. We have been intentional in designing our curriculum to correspond with the natural stages of learning. For example, our lower stage capitalizes on the child’s natural ability to parrot. In these elementary grades, students are taught memory facts through repeating songs, rhymes, and chants. During middle school, children often become prone to question and argue. Classical education leverages this tendency by teaching students how to argue based on the rules of informal and formal logic. In High School, students’ interest shift from external to internal concerns; from concrete subjects to abstract subjects. Teenagers become concerned with how others perceive them and with abstract concepts like “justice,” “fairness” and what it means to be human. This stage fits well into the “rhetorical” phase, where students are taught to convey their thoughts so they are well received and understood by others. This is also a perfect time to read the primary sources of the West with an eye to the theological, philosophical, and moral issues.
While this is an old model of education it is again being made new by a resurgence in popularity after decades of educational experimentation and decline. This model of education produces writers, thinkers, mathematicians, scientists, artist and political leaders.
What subjects make up Aquidneck Island Christian Academy’s curriculum?
Aquidneck Island Christian Academy uses a variety of curriculum resources, all of which are academically challenging and supportive of our classical and Christian goals. We teach all of the basic academics as outlined in the Rhode Island Standards and more. What we teach we teach from a classical and Christian perspective. We have solid instruction in phonics/reading, math science, composition and literature. We have a rigorous course of study in every academic. We teach Latin beginning in third grade and continuing through the tenth. We also instruct our students in two years of Logic training and two years of Rhetoric. We are committed to the classical curriculum as outlined by the Association of Classical Christian Schools of which we are members.
Isn’t Classical education only for gifted students?
No, our students come to us from all different demographics and abilities. We do not accept only gifted children, but children across the intellectual spectrum. Some of our students excel above the challenge while others work hard to maintain an average grade point average, but all of our students benefit greatly from the classical model. Each student in the classical model has the possibility to do their very best as the model is suited for them developmentally and gives them the proper tools to learn with excellence.
In reality, the classical method challenges students and is uniquely able to leverage their natural abilities during different stages of childhood. The classical model is rich and rigorous enough to challenge the brightest students while also able to take ordinary students and deliver extraordinary results by use of the proven methods. This model almost allows us to customize our children’s education by ability rather than age, allowing students more easily to enter AICA in later grades.
Are students coming from a traditional model of education integrated quickly into the classical methodology?
Yes, while there is an initial adjustment period, students can be successfully integrated at any grade, especially in the grammar and dialectic stages (K-8). Those students who transfer in the latter grades that expect to do well will typically have disciplined study habits and be academically strong.
How rigorous is the AICA program?
We believe in setting standards that will stretch students to reach their full potential intellectually and spiritually. We regret that it is too often the case the “Christian School” and “academic rigor” do not live under the same roof. However, at Aquidneck Island Christian Academy, we are committed to an instructional program that promotes both academic excellence and spiritual depth. We will always strive to become more and more excellent in our pursuits of education.
Latin at Aquidneck Island Christian Academy begins in the Third Grade. We believe the benefits of studying an inflective language such as Greek or Latin are transformative as a developmental instrument. Latin trains the mind for orderly thinking as well as expression and concentration. Latin lays a firm foundation for understanding English grammar and vocabulary. Nearly 80% of all English words are derived from Latin. Students of classical languages perform better on standardized tests and are better equipped to learn other more modern languages. The study of Latin positions a student to be more aware and have a better understanding of western culture and civilization.
How large are your classes?
Philosophically we do not believe in large classes with one teacher to serve all. Our maximum student to teacher ratio would be 18-1. Although the Kindergarten class ratio would be 14-1.
Is Aquidneck Island associated with a local church?
No. When Aquidneck Island Christian Academy was conceived licensing was sought through the state of RI. We follow the Rhode Island Dept. of Education licensing requirements while serving the evangelical churches in our local and surrounding communities. We require that at least one parent of a student, applying for admission to AICA, have a “born again” relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior. A signed Statement of Faith is required for consideration and entrance into the school community.
Is Aquidneck Island Christian Academy accredited?
Aquidneck Island Christian Academy is licensed by the State of Rhode Island Dept. of Education and fulfills all the necessary requirements to do so. AICA belongs to the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) located in Moscow, Idaho and will be seeking school accreditation through the association.
Is there an age requirement for Kindergarten?
The state of Rhode Island mandates the age requirement for Kindergarten to be five (5) years old by September 1st. Although we do have some level of judgment on this issue as an independent school, we also agree with the state at this point. We desire all our children do their very best in their school career and are therefore cautious in an exception to this guideline. While a child may seem advance intellectually, there are maturity issues that cannot be ignored and must be considered.
Do AICA students wear a uniform?
Yes, all students wear uniforms that include both standard and dress components. Extensive research confirms the overwhelming benefit of adopting a uniform policy for all students as a means to improving student discipline and performance while minimizing distractions in the classroom.
Does Aquidneck Island Christian Academy offer financial aid?
AICA has been very intentional about growing a family-income based tuition scholarship program that is available to families with a demonstrated need on an availability basis. This assistance will be formulated on real income, is customized to take into consideration the high expense of living in Rhode Island and is calculated by an independent third party Confidential Financial Analysis (CFA).
What are the costs for sending my child to AICA?
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