What Is Core Knowledge?


Monarch Classical School of the Arts believes in the liberal arts & sciences, because this is an education that liberates. It offers to free students from enslavement to bad habits by encouraging good ones. It offers to free students from their own limited experience of the world. It broadens their existence through an encounter with other times and places. It is also an education that introduces students to profound reflections on what it means to be free. 

The backbone of our K-8 curriculum is the Core Knowledge Sequence (CKS) (not to be confused with the Common Core). The CKS is the result of the pioneering work of education reformer E. D. Hirsch. Two basic ideas animate this sequence. The first is that literacy depends upon background knowledge. The more you know about a subject, the easier it is to learn more about that subject. The second is that a citizen republic requires individuals with sufficient common knowledge to communicate effectively. The Core Knowledge Sequence was designed to meet both needs. It offers a coherent, knowledge-rich curriculum beginning in Kindergarten. Each year, students gain a wealth of content knowledge in history, literature, science, art, and music. What is more, each year builds on the previous one to avoid gaps or redundancies. 

Along the way, students benefit from integration across the curriculum. For example, in 4th grade, students study the history of the Middle Ages in the fall semester. In the same semester, they also read literature set in the Middle Ages, and they study the art, architecture, and music of the Middle Ages.

By the time students complete 8th grade, they will have studied every major world civilization, ancient or modern, from around the world. They will have learned the stories, sayings, poems, art, and music that make up our common intellectual and cultural heritage. They will know our nation's history, and they will have the ability to read our founding documents with understanding. 

Click here to download the Core Knowledge Sequence (pdf).