The primary years at Holy Family Cathedral School begin with Montessori-inspired education. Maria Montessori’s methods emphasize the importance of order, the place of discovery in the process of learning, the dignity of the child and the world of created things, and whatever in reality is really real—wood and stone, and above all authentic praise for genuine accomplishment. All of these methods are in service to an intuitive and implicit initial catechesis, complemented in religious instruction by Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Our preschool curriculum, inspired by Maria Montessori and founded in The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, provides a systematic and orderly framework for learning in the earliest years. By means of experiential learning, children at Holy Family Cathedral School discover freedom in truth by means of an inductive process of learning about the simple truths of the world around them. Rocks are hard. Water is wet. Fragile things break. Enduring things endure.
Plato has written that “No enforced study abides in the soul,” so classical education in the primary years aims above all to allow children ample leisure to discover truths by inductive and experiential processes. Inductive learning naturally depends upon engagement with the really real, and the most real thing of all is the reality of being, so this path of education ultimately leads to the one Real Thing, and that is God.
St. Thomas Aquinas has famously written that “the first things perceived by the intellect are being and essence” (see On Being and Essence). Thomas was of course writing about infants and especially newborns: seeing their mother for the first time, they know that she is (being) and that she is unlike anything else, that what she is is mom (essence). The preschool curriculum at Holy Family Cathedral School begins with this crucial insight and builds upon it in preparation for the child’s initial study of grammar and arithmetic, their “first steps” along the seven “ways” of the liberal arts.