Skip to main content
Classical Christian Movement

What the Greatest Grammar Book Teaches Us about Grammar School

By June 24, 2021January 10th, 2023No Comments

← Back to Resources

While grammar schools are a strength in the classical Christian education movement, they probably have not received as much help or assessment from the classical tradition as have upper schools. How do we discern what is classical and what is not when considering what we teach in Pre-K through 6th grade? This workshop proposes a method often used by upper schools: “ad fontes” (go back to the great sources). Arguably the greatest—because longest lasting—text for elementary education is the fourth-century A.D. schoolbook by Donatus, the Art of Grammar. Classical Christian grammar schools would do well to measure their reading and writing scope and sequence by this text. If we evaluate ourselves this way, we will gain wonderful inroads to improving our curriculum and might even find ourselves challenged to refocus our curricular goals in grammar school. This workshop takes up the task by explaining the content and structure of Donatus’ work in a way accessible to those who haven’t learned Latin. Then, we will think through how the Art of Grammar comports (or doesn’t) with the way we classical Christian schools teach English phonics, grammar, and basic writing skills. Donatus’ student, Jerome, the great Bible translator, wrote this advice on education: “Those things ought not be despised as if small without which great things cannot come to be.” Let us love these “little things” and given them our careful attention!

Andrew Selby

Andrew Selby serves as Assistant Headmaster at Whitefield Academy in Kansas City, MO. He has been in classical education for over a decade. He and his lovely wife enjoy reading books together when they are not caring for their five children, four of whom are old enough to attend Whitefield. He has a PhD in early Christian theology from Baylor University, an MA in Historical Theology from University of Toronto, and a BA in Humanities from Biola University (Torrey Honors College).


Summer Conference 2024 - National Harbor, Maryland

Join us for a gathering of classical Christian educators from around the world as we consider what it means to build school communities and welcome the outside through biblical hospitality.

As a member, you receive access to all of the most recent summer conference content, including 80+ workshops, plenary speakers, etc., plus access to the full library of past content.

Conference Sessions

Ensure increased visibility for your school by having it listed on the Find a School Map, connecting you with potential students and families seeking a classical Christian learning environment.

Map Feature

Unlock a wealth of exclusive resources, such as research studies and articles, providing valuable insights and knowledge for your school's continuous improvement.


Enable your school to easily post job openings and attract qualified candidates with the Career Center, simplifying the hiring process.

Career Center

Enjoy exclusive discounts on all SCL events and services, empowering you to access valuable resources and opportunities for your school's growth at a more affordable cost.

Exclusive Discounts

Get access to exclusive cohorts and workshops!

Cohorts and Workshops

SCL conducts school-wide surveys to provide relevant information to the classical Christian community as well as access to in-depth research with partner organizations like the Barna Group.


A connected community of classical Christian thought leaders, including heads of school, board members, marketing and admissions directors, development and fundraising directors, academic deans, grammar and upper school heads, and teachers from all grade levels are here to support and encourage one another.


Member-exclusive Coaching Call sessions. 15-20 online sessions each year from key-thought leaders on topics ranging from legal and operational issues to pedagogical and philosophical discussions. Think of it as a mini-conference each month!

Coaching Calls

Gain new insight, knowledge, and skills around best practices in a short, intensive format with workshops or a year-long mentorship experience with cohorts. Designed for administrators, teachers, parents, leaders, and department heads – anyone seeking to learn and grow in their role.

Conference & Workshops

Our network of seasoned professionals is available to navigate your questions and brainstorm solutions with you. Let us know how you want to direct your time and we will pair you with the senior leader that best suits your school’s unique needs.