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Education From the Early Church Fathers

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During the first centuries, all education related to the interests of the church. The monasteries were the sole centers of learning until the crusades brought new life to education. Schools and universities were then established. Eventually the Teutonic peoples (Germans, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians) began to play a bigger part in education. The Catechumen schools for adults–and later for children–first taught people about their new faith; they later added reading and writing. Previous to this, instruction was given by tutors or parents in homes, or in pagan schools. Reading, writing, Scripture and Psalms were taught first at Odessa’s Christian Common School at the close of the second century.

Clement of Alexandria (150-220)

o Faith is the cornerstone of knowledge.

o Mosaic law and heathen philosophy both prepared the way for

Christianity, which is the fulfillment of law and philosophy.

o He sought to harmonize philosophy and religion.

Origen (186-253)

o Never teach pupils anything that you do not yourself practice.

o The end of education is to grow into the likeness of God.

o Pupils must be taught to investigate for themselves.

o The teacher must seek to correct bad habits, as well as give instruction.

Basil the Great (329-379)

Basil urged the use of classic literature. He also said that:

o Punishment should be an exercise in self-command to help to correct the fault-if a child has been quarrelsome, give him solitude and fasting.

o The Bible should be the chief textbook.

o Good habits and right precepts should be taught while children are young.

Chrysostom (347-407)

Educated in pagan schools, Chrysostom, an eloquent educator, kept true to the faith of his devout Christian mother. He believed:

o The teacher should lower himself to the capacity of the pupils in order to elevate them.

o The teacher must not do for the pupils what they can do for themselves.

o Teachers and parents must be the example of Christ. This is the foundation.

o Mothers are the natural educators of children.

o Religious instruction is an essential factor of school work.

Source by Lorraine Curry

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