Our Curriculum

When academic literacy skills are taught, explicit instruction should be provided.  Once achievement in word study has been achieved, instruction is augmented to finely integrate grammar and syntax, creative and organizational composition skills, and vocabulary development, which points out the relevance to that which the student already knows. Roots, prefixes, suffixes, homophones and homographs, antonyms, synonyms and graphic organizers to provide for a high-expectation, skills-based, complete language arts method designed to accompany any the vocabulary-rich literature of the Core Knowledge curriculum. The curriculum aligns with U.S standards, but there are major differences in the delivery compared to standard American teaching methods. Traditionally about 30 math concepts can be covered in one year using a spiral approach that introduces concepts and revisits them with added complexity. This method does not expect mastery, leaving some students bored when a concept is revisited, and moving on before its fully grasped by other students. If a concept is not fully internalized, its understandably difficult for a student (or his teacher) to pick up exactly where his progress last stood. In contrast, Singapore Math covers 10-14 concepts a year, stays with each 2- 3 weeks, and expects mastery before introducing a new lesson. Singapore Math understands that there are multiple learning styles and ELL students will benefit from the programs clear and simple explanations of math concepts.  With fewer topics and more time to thoroughly learn those topics, the programs detailed instruction, questions, problem solving, and visual and hands-on aids (blocks, cards and bar charts) ensure that students master the material. BCCA uses the Core Knowledge Sequence, as its guiding curriculum in core academic areas K-8 while aligning with the NC Accountability Model. The Core Knowledge Sequence, partnered with Spalding, Singapore and FOSS meets or exceeds the guidelines set forth by the NC Accountability Model.

BCCA will look toward the past to provide an academic program of future success for its students through a classical curriculum. A classical curriculum approach was founded by the Greeks ~2500 years ago. The Greeks believed that each child had to be strong in body and mind in order to be a viable contributing citizen of their democracy. The basic approach of their education system, we have come to learn as it is practiced in contemporary times, is to provide instruction compatible with the development of the brain through childhood. The curriculum is divided into three phases, commonly called grammar, logic and rhetoric. In the grammar phase, the young mind is presented with “facts” such as the alphabet, numbers, cities and states in K-6. The logic phase introduces the notion of “how”. For example, a student learns about the human skeleton, the associated ligaments and how the body is able to accomplishment movement. In the final phase, the rhetoric component introduces the notion of “why”. Why did the human body develop as it did?

Grammar instruction is taught prescriptively incorporating the use of diagramming to create a visual picture of the rules of language. Students learn vocabulary by studying the knowledge of the origin and meaning of words emphasizing Latin and Greek roots. Latin provides insight into the meaning of over half of English words. Its complex grammar enables students to gain a critical knowledge of the English sentence structure. Latin offers a bridge to learning other languages. Additional characteristics defining literacy instruction are frequent and there is extensive use of dictionaries, along with the reading and memorization of selections from classical literature.

Each lesson across all subject areas begins with key content area vocabulary that introduces students to new words critical to their understanding of the lesson, while reviewing vocabulary learned in previous years. Coupled with instruction in Latin and Greek roots, students are able to apply background knowledge and root word knowledge to discover the meaning of words. Access to important and timeless works of literature is a key component of a classical education. One further component of literacy is wide reading of the “Great Books” of the Western Tradition in grades K-8. While students are be encouraged to read many types of literature independently, the study of these classic pieces is done in a forum where overarching questions of each work is be discussed in depth. Students, regardless of ability, learn and come to understand much about humanity by reading the writings of the greatest thinkers and writers of the Western tradition.

The trivium found in the classical curriculum applies in nearly every educational sphere because it accounts for the entire range of what education is supposed to do: The learner must acquire information, grasp it intellectually, and use it purposefully. To master any subject is to learn its language. The trivium integrates the theoretical and the practical, tying together facts, arguments, and real-world applications.

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