A newly opened elementary school has looked to the distant past when developing its new curriculum.
Thousands of years old Gregorian chant is taught to children who enroll at Stella Maris Elementary School, which has taken in its first students.
Latin is also taught to enable students to engage with liturgical chant in its true form.
Richard Casey, Principal of Limerick School, said it was responding to parents’ calls for a classical education in the Catholic tradition.
He said: “Classical education has three stages of development: grammar, logic and rhetoric. Except for me, all the teachers are volunteers and we have a French guy who will come for the French lessons. In the United States and across Europe, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for Catholic classical education. We are the first elementary school with Gregorian chant and this will become part of our music subject.”
The school has moved into a building close to the town center on Windmill Street and relies on voluntary funds to support its operations. Mr Casey said: “We are independent of the state system and the Department of Education. I worked in a regular elementary school for 10 years.
“The lessons are committed to the Catholic faith and there is a growing desire from families who want this for their children. We have had great support from Catholic orders such as the Friars in Moyross and the Institute of Christ the King in the former Jesuit Church in the Crescent, and from lay Catholic groups.”
The first eight students to enroll include three for junior infants, one for senior infants, and four more between second through fifth grades.
He said: “Gregorian chant is supervised by a teacher who has volunteered to work with us.
“This liturgical unaccompanied vocal music dates back to the Middle Ages and I think we will be the only primary school to offer it to young people.
“It helps in the development of religious understanding, spirituality and music. There is also an opportunity to learn history and heritage with the overlap of Gregorian chant.”
Mr Casey said they will adopt the state school curriculum but will also offer Latin and French.
“We have been contacted by people in different parts of the district who have expressed their desire for their children to receive the education we offer: faith in God, the Church and its doctrine. Faith is central to our school life,” he said.
“We are starting small and we are sure that the number will increase.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/reading-writing-latin-and-gregorian-chant-on-timetable-at-new-primary-school-41999126.html Reading, writing… Latin and Gregorian chants on the timetable of the new primary school