You go to school at the age of twelve or thirteen; and for the next four or five years you are not engaged so much in acquiring knowledge as in making mental efforts under criticism. A certain amount of knowledge you can indeed with average faculties acquire so as to retain; nor need you regret the hours that you spent on much that is forgotten, for the shadow of lost knowledge at least protects you from many illusions. But you go to a great school , not for knowledge so much as for arts and habits; the habit of attention, for the art of expression, for the art of assuming at a moment’s notice a new intellectual posture, for the art of entering quickly into another person’s thoughts, for the habit of submitting to censure and refutation, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms, for the habit of regarding minute points of accuracy, for the habit of working out what is possible in a given time, for taste, for discrimination, for mental courage and mental soberness. Above all, you go to a great school for self-knowledge.The Middle School of St. Anselm’s Abbey School is dedicated to advancing the 1,500-year-old Benedictine tradition of preparing boys to embark on a broad classical education in the liberal arts. At the same time, the Middle School strives to plant the seeds of the classical and Christian understanding of Western civilization’s constant intellectual and cultural striving towards that which is true, good, and beautiful. In partnership with parents, we joyfully labor to form young men who are supple of mind, facile in expression, and steadfast of character; and who, as adults confident in God’s ever-abiding love and abundant grace, will dedicate their lives to loving service of God, family, and neighbor.
William Johnston Cory, 19th c. Eton Schoolmaster
Our Middle School program is tripartite, with equal emphasis on each part. It is preparatory. It is formative. It is developmental.
That is to say, it is skill-driven. We teach the academic skills and personal habits which best prepare young boys for success in our Upper School. Subject content is, in some ways, secondary in importance; it is simply the context through which we help our students develop tools for learning that will serve them well throughout their lives.
We see the spiritual, or inner, life of a student as something which must be, by overt means, “formed”. The better part of this formation is grounded in the teaching and practice of the age-old classical virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude, along with the universal Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love.