Classical Education

A classical education cultivates wisdom and virtue by nourishing the individual with truth, beauty, and goodness. Students at Parnassus Preparatory School pursue wisdom and virtue at every level and in each of the many disciplines offered to them. Parnassus Preparatory School’s academic focus is on developing thoughtful, literate, and expressive graduates through classical education, a time-tested model that is systematic and comprehensive. Our distinction is in the liberal arts classical curriculum.

LIBERAL, in liberal arts, comes from the Latin word “libertas” meaning “freedom.” The American Association for the Advancement of Science describes a liberal arts education as one that “produces persons who are open-minded; conscious of their opinions and judgments; reflective of their actions; and aware of their place in the social and natural worlds.” In short, those who are educated in the liberal arts model, are trained to think for themselves.

CLASSICAL education was first developed during the Middle Ages. The original goal was to provide a systematic, memorable framework to teach human knowledge. This education has produced some of the greatest thinkers, leaders, and scientists in the Western world from the time of the Greeks through the late 19th century and beyond.


A classical education is more than just a pattern of learning. First, it is language-focused, meaning learning is accomplished through written and spoken words versus images such as videos and television. In language-focused learning, the mind needs to work harder to “decode” a symbol (words) into concepts. Images, on the other hand, allow the mind to be passive and enjoy the translation from words into already completed concepts.

Mathematics and Science

The study of mathematics and science is core to the Parnassus classical curriculum. Our scholars study mathematics daily and learn about the sciences throughout their academic career at Parnassus. As a classical school, Parnassus guides the students through making connections among the branches of science, between science and history, and the rules of logic. The scientific method is implemented through investigation and experimentation. Students read biographies of scientists, bringing history, mathematics, and science closer together.

History – Academic Structure

All knowledge is interrelated for the classical learner, and subjects are not studied in isolation. For example, the reading of Homer’s The Odyssey allows the student to consider Greek history, the nature of heroism and courage, and the development of the epic model. However, making such interdisciplinary links is no small task given the thousands of years of accumulated information, knowledge, and fields of study. A classical education at Parnassus meets this challenge by teaching history as the back bone for learning, beginning with the ancients and progressing forward to the modern period in history, science, literature, art, and music.

Parnassus structures its academic program based on four periods in history. Our students study these four periods in a cycle of four years going deeper each time the history period is covered — first in the School of Grammar, followed by repeating it in the School of Logic, and finally again in the School of Rhetoric.


Years Covered: 5000 BC – 400 AD
Grades: 1G, 1L, 1R
Integrated Curriculum: Art, History, Geography, Literature

Medieval – Early Renaissance

Years Covered: 400 – 1600
Grades: 2G, 2L, 2R*
Integrated Curriculum: Art, History, Geography, Literature

Late Renaissance – Early Modern

Years Covered: 1600 – 1850
Grades: 3G, 3L, 2R*
Integrated Curriculum: Art, History, Geography, Literature


Years Covered: 1850 – present
Grades: 4G, 4L, 2R*
Integrated Curriculum: Art, History, Geography, Literature

*Note: 2R level students study the Medieval through Modern periods in one year, allowing 3Rs and 4Rs to take other challenging courses.



Come see for yourself what makes Parnassus unique and discover all the possibilities that are here for your children.

11201 – 96th Avenue North, Maple Grove, MN 55369 – Main Office Hours: 7:30am – 4:00pm – Main Number: 763.496.1416
Bus Company: 763.425.2542
Animus & Accendo Programs: 763.496.1416 ext. 319
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