Main Line Classical Academy is a multi-faith co-educational Lower and Upper School in Bryn Mawr, PA. We are built on commitment to the classical liberal arts curriculum, to a rigorous grounding in mathematical and scientific thought, and to the conviction that a mature adult, free both spiritually and intellectually, is the product of thorough, systematic study of the finest Western achievements in literature, poetry, mathematics, sciences, languages, history, oratory, and the arts.
We are small by design in order to provide the warm atmosphere and close personal attention that best foster learning and the development of character. Our curriculum and our teaching methods guide the student along a journey both joyful and demanding.
We believe that what students learn matters and is not merely incidental to the acquisition of a set of skills. Through their own expertise and passion, our teachers inspire our students to seek what is beautiful in all its dimensions. We undertake this wonderful endeavor in light-filled classrooms on a bucolic, three-acre campus that foster the warm, personal community most conducive to learning.
At the Main Line Classical Academy, we believe that children are never too young to learn great things. From kindergarten onward, our students explore the finest of literature and poetry in English, French, and, starting in fourth grade, in Latin; come to appreciate the depth and beauty of mathematics; and experience encounters with great historical heroes, scientific discoveries, religious disputes, and military enterprises. In the arts, our students acquire proficiency playing piano and/or violin; gain a solid understanding of musical theory; are introduced to the history of Western art and music; and acquire mastery of the fundamentals of drawing and painting.
Similarly, just as our Lower School curricular model follows a common high school format, our Upper School division adopts a seminar-style university format. Beginning in 7th grade, students shift to hour-long instructional periods, with a heavy load of reading required outside the classroom, including in the original French and Latin. By graduation, students will have mastered large swaths of the classical canon, emerging as well-rounded young scholars possessing the knowledge and dispositions to succeed not only in the next stage of their formal education, but also in the next stages of life. In this way, our students embark upon a voyage of the intellect across epochs and continents.
We cover so much ground because we know that our students are capable of it. We guide them on a journey both demanding and joyful, where intellectual rigor and academic thoroughness go hand-in-hand with creativity and the joy of learning. The first years of school coincide with a period in a child’s life when his mind is the most supple and receptive to learning: the younger the child, the more easily, happily, and lastingly does his memory master and retain poetry and prose, rules and theorems; the more eagerly and sensitively does he respond to encounters with inspiring historical and literary heroes; and the more fruitfully does he form intelligent, wholesome thoughts and impressions. Our methods of teaching and learning are geared towards ensuring that everything the children encounter in their studies remains fresh and vivid in their hearts and minds for years to come as they mature into intelligent, compassionate leaders in all branches of modern society. Immersed in the classical canon and appreciative of where, how, and why this canon originated, our students are empowered to step into the future not to adapt to its anticipated demands but to shape and determine its course.
Our curriculum is conceived as a series of interconnected adventures in space and time which open the student’s eyes to the artistic, linguistic, mathematical, political, geographical, and scientific roots of the twenty-first century world1. This curricular principle underlies our unique teaching model—a high school-format academic program on the elementary school level. Every academic subject is taught by a specialist, with up to eight different specialist teachers interacting with the class in the course of a day. The various subjects are thus led by teachers accomplished in their respective fields and possessing the presence and zeal to inspire their charges.
At the same time, our Principal and Grade Mentors are present throughout the day to provide the children with consistent, nurturing presence. Grade mentors play an important role in identifying and working with students who may need support in organisation, study habits as well as in helping children develop vital social skills by focusing on such concepts as team work, good sportsmanship, and classroom ethics.
The Upper School curriculum centers on six academic subjects: English, History, French, Latin, Math, and Science. Alongside these core courses, our unique elective program enables students to pursue a range of rigorous additional academic interests such as programming, art studio, art history, poetry workshop and Shakespeare performance, prestigious international math and science competitions, debate, classical readings, and Hebrew language.
1Hence the themes of compass and journey in our logo. The words Iter Deo Et Musis Sacrum (“A Journey Sacred to God and to the Muses”) are an adaptation of the 1669 inscription on the walls of the Tübingen Stift, a school boasting Kepler, Hegel, and Hölderlin among its alumni.