The underlying philosophy of The Geneva School of Manhattan is the time-proven method of classical learning.
In basic terms, "classical" refers to the classical period of the Greek and Roman civilizations, from which we obtained ancient teaching in mythology, art, architecture, and languages. Classical education has produced the greatest thinkers, leaders, and scientists in the Western world from the time of the Greeks until the late nineteenth century, including America’s founding fathers. Classical training in literature, Latin, history, and rhetoric was the norm until the twentieth century, when a gradual shift to a progressive model eroded the stalwart foundation of classical learning.
In the last decade, classical learning has reemerged as educators have spoken out about the merits of the classical method. This method uses the trivium (meaning "three roads") as the dynamic means of training students to think in an orderly, reasonable, and godly manner about all of learning and all of life. Brilliantly befitting the natural stages of child development, the three-phase model aligns itself with these stages in the following ways:
Grammar phase: Students are taught the fundamentals of learning through memorization, rhyme, and song. The fundamental elements provide the framework for all future academic building blocks.
Logic or Dialectic phase: Students engage in critical thinking and learn the fine points of logical argument and reasoning.
Rhetoric phase: Students further develop their use of grammar and logic in order to articulate their opinions clearly and persuasively.
Classical education is the outgrowth of history but all educational methods are grounded in time and place; we are grounded in 21st century New York City. We seek to use this time tested method in order for our students to not only understand Jerusalem, Athens, Rome or London nor to merely hear words like goodness, truth, beauty, justice, liberty, equality but also to rightly understand and apply universal truth to their own lives in the classrooms, parks, museums, and subways they frequent in the city.
At The Geneva School of Manhattan, we place a special emphasis on our students’ ability to read great books for themselves and to evaluate, question, discuss, present, debate and—yes—teach based on their own ability and curiosity. This is initiated through The Great Books reading groups that start in Kindergarten and come to its full consummation when our Eighth Grade students defend their thesis papers at our annual Cicero’s Podium.
In keeping with the classical method, we integrate subjects of history, literature, language, mathematics, science, art, and music. With this integration of classical method and robust curriculum, our students become apt communicators and acquire a love of learning.
Finally, and most importantly, we are not only a classical school but also a Christian school. This means, very simply, that theology (the things of God and his Word) serve as “eye-glasses” to our students so that they look at their lessons, their classes, and their world with reasonable faith and a love for God and mankind.