In recent years an important initiative in Melbourne is promoting a new educational opportunity – namely, a school-based program of classical education, which could ultimately lead to the establishment of classical schools.
In 2019, a number of teachers from St Monica’s College in the suburb of Epping secured the support of the Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Comensoli, in exploring ways of establishing such a program in Catholic schools. Key figures in this initiative are Kon Bouzikos, Joe Capuana, and Jonathan Hili.
A sample curriculum in the liberal arts was developed in line with the Victorian educational guidelines. Among the elements of the classical tradition included are: the incorporation of several subject areas into one integrated discipline called “Classical Studies”; teaching from classical texts, especially primary sources, from Ancient Greece to the Modern period, such as Hesiod, Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, Aquinas, Thomas More and others; a greater emphasis on classical pedagogy with memorisation and recitation, logical argumentation, rhetoric and choral practice being explicitly taught; imbedding the inculcation of cardinal and theological virtues; and a Socratic seminar to complete every week.
Most recently, the teachers in Victoria, together with those in several States from various vocational backgrounds, have established a network of classical educators. They have an online presence with the Australian Classical Education Society (ACES), whose purpose is to connect like-minded Australians in the pursuit of classical education.
ACES is now properly registered. It can hold meetings, receive grants, donations and funding, with legal protections and tax-exempt status. It is interested in hearing from anyone who would like to join and promote this development in establishing schools and other centres of learning based on a classical education model.
It is particularly keen to hear from those who would be open to writing newsletter articles, lobbying, organising forums/guest speakers, or assisting with the development of the curriculum, as well as engaging in web production.
The ACES Facebook page already has over 200 followers, including classical institutions (like Campion College, St Augustine’s Perth, and St John of Kronstadt Academy). It has also brought together teachers, home-schooling parents, business people, and academics from throughout Australia, who are interested in promoting classical education.
Anyone wishing to become involved in ACES are welcome to visit its Facebook page (Australian Classical Education Network | Facebook) or contact the President, Kon Bouzikos.