What is Classical Education?
The most fundamental characteristic of an OSNAS education is that every class is taught from a biblical standpoint. Since God is the creator of all things, it would be foolish to leave Him out. As Proverbs 1:9 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” OSNAS is not solely interested in starting class off with prayer and adding a Bible class to a day. Rather, we are committed to helping students see God’s order, complexity and beauty in every aspect of life.
Classical schools recognize that all learning is connected. Rather than present the various subjects as if they were isolated entities, we attempt to integrate them as much as possible so that students have a more holistic view of the world. For instance, a student may read a book in one class (Literature) while paying attention to the surrounding events of the book in another class (History). This book will have a certain worldview that may or may not be Christian (Theology / Philosophy). The students will be trained to think cogently and critically about the message (Logic) and then present their own ideas in a winsome and effective manner (Rhetoric). In this way, students receive reinforcement in their learning and are better able to appreciate how ideas and events are connected.
As a classical school, we are pleased to offer students the benefits that come from a study of Latin. We teach Latin from Kindergarten all the way to eighth grade. Statistically speaking, students who study Latin score higher on standardized tests than those who do not. Latin gives students a better understanding of English vocabulary since 50% of the English language derives from Latin. It also helps them better understand grammar, facilitates the learning of other languages, develops perseverance, and teaches students to pay attention to detail.
Grades K-4 have traditional periods lasting around 40 minutes while grades 5-12 have a block schedule. In a block schedule, core classes (Bible, English, Math, History, Science and Foreign Language) meet on alternating days for a duration of 80 minutes. This provides students with a relaxed learning environment that is more conducive to the classical emphasis on deep thought and discussion. We want to go beyond the surface level so that students have the opportunity to appreciate and master their fields of study. This is a difficult task when students are rushed and stressed. In addition, the block schedule allows teachers to present a lesson in a variety of ways. This helps students with different learning styles to grasp important concepts.
The Fine Arts
As a classical school that acknowledges and appreciates the beauty of God’s creation, OSNAS provides students with opportunities to grow in art, drama and music. OSNAS has an accomplished art teacher whose work is on display in several European galleries. The students’ artwork is often placed on display throughout the hallways of the school. Students also have the opportunity to develop musically. Our choir director is the music director and conductor for Frankie Avalon. Under his leadership, students rose to a level that enabled them to perform at world-renowned Carnegie Hall. With respect to instruments, students receive instruction once a week from music teachers from Paul Effman Music. They are then able to showcase their talents at our annual Christmas and Spring Concerts. As for Drama, the school typically puts on one major production (often through Academy of Arts Ministries) along with several smaller skits or productions that are presented during Daily Prayer services.
OSNAS has a robust S.T.E.M. program (Science-Technology-Engineerin
Sport Training Class
Most parents who have a child interested in athletics have to pay for training sessions in addition to what may or may not be offered at school. At OSNAS, we are happy to offer students the opportunity to grow athletically apart from what takes place in P.E. classes or on after-school teams. This option is made available to students in grades 7-12.
At OSNAS, we understand that parents are the most important and influential factor in a child’s development. Because of this, we encourage parental involvement. Parents are informed on a regular basis through internet resources, conferences and open communication. This helps parents prepare their child for upcoming homework, exams and activities. Parents are also invited to take part in the PTC (Parent Teacher Connection) that plans student and family activities such as LEGO Night, Summer Swim in December, Child/Parent Valentine’s Day Dance, and more.
Field Trips and Extracurriculars
Alongside the learning that happens inside the classroom, students have the opportunity to go on field trips that provide them with memorable learning moments. Field trips to local and even out-of-state venues are offered each year (e.g. planetarium, Sight and Sound Theatre, Long Island beaches and farms, Suffolk County Legislature, The Metropolitan Museum, etc.) As for extracurriculars, students have the opportunity to take part in the annual Christmas and Spring Concerts. In addition, students in younger grades are invited to participate in the Our Savior Junior Basketball Training free of charge. Participants learn skills, develop teamwork, and play games that parents are able to attend. For more extracurriculars, see the OSNAS Clubs section.
Each elementary grade learns Math, English and History from their main teacher. For other subjects like Bible and STEM, students learn with a neighboring grade to give them a fresh dynamic and environment. The approach to learning Math is common sense (not Common Core). We use Singapore Math which has a proven track record of teaching students in an effective and straightforward way. As for Reading, our school places a strong emphasis on phonics. Phonics gives students a solid foundation for reading and decoding unfamiliar words which will help them later on. Most of our kindergarteners are reading books by the end of the year. Later on, students are taught the art of handwriting and cursive–a practice that has gone extinct in many other schools. All elementary students have “specials” each day. For these classes, students get to travel to different rooms to learn from specialized teachers in subjects like art, choir, computer and P.E. Each year, students have more opportunities to learn new things (see curriculum scope and sequence). In the 5th grade, students transition to a fully departmentalized schedule in which they travel to a new room for each subject. This helps younger students mature at a faster rate by teaching them responsibility, organization and adaptability.