If you’ve recently discovered the Fitzgerald Community School, you might be wondering what the benefits are. Fitz (as the school is affectionately nicknamed) is a unique private school, though its roots are firmly in some well-established education models. With input from enrolled families and the founders, here is a list of the benefits of a Fitz education.
- A Nature-Based Education. Today’s children face many obstacles. Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Mental health issues are on the rise. Behavior problems, lack of focus, and short attention spans are also more common. Thankfully, many studies have shown that adequate outdoor time leads to healthier, happier, smarter kids. Incorporating outdoor time into the school day is one of the most effective ways to do this. Fitzgerald Community School borders a nature reserve, which provides plenty of space for learning through play. At Fitz, time in nature is not just an add-on. Nature is built into the curriculum, allowing for hands-on learning. Fitz kids learn age-appropriate risk taking in the outdoors, leading to self-confidence and discipline. Students experience appreciation for nature, preparing them to be good stewards of the Earth.
- A Well-Rounded Education. Science and technology are a major focus in today’s schools. Additional emphasis on test scores has resulted in a decline in other subjects such as art and music. A balanced, varied curriculum has many benefits for students. It helps children discover passions, relax, develop creativity and build self-esteem. The Fitz curriculum includes art, music, yoga, and foreign languages in addition to the sciences. A strong emphasis on community engagement rounds out the curriculum. Through field trips and community projects, students learn skills that will enhance their personal and professional lives.
- A Fully-Accredited Private School. Fitz is based in the competitive Algonquin school district in Northborough, MA. As an accredited school, Fitz follows local and state education standards. This provides an excellent basis for transitioning to higher education. Graduates have transitioned to private, technical and public schools with ease. The unique way children learn at Fitz helps to establish a lifelong love of learning.
- A Personalized Education. Fitz has low student teacher ratios (8:1). This allows teachers to work individually with students, provide personalized feedback, and focus on individual growth. Every student receives an individual learning style assessment. Students form study habits and self-awareness that keep them engaged in their education. This empowers students with confidence in their ability to learn.
- Evidence-Based Schooling. Many schools are burdened with bureaucracy, beholden to vendor contracts, and pressured by an excess of standardized testing. As an independent school, Fitz is committed to evidence-based education. This means creating a learning environment based on principles that are shown to have the best outcomes. It ensures that Fitz is an effective, efficient school. Activities that add stress and pressure with no benefit are simply not included. For example, research has shown that homework in elementary school provides no benefit to the learner. Instead of assigning work to do at home, elementary learners are encouraged to bond with family, rest and restore, or participate in extracurricular activities after school. All aspects of the Fitz learning experience – from the thoughtfully curated classrooms, to daily outdoor time, to the focus on health and well-being – are based on what is best for the development of children.
- Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia influenced. These education models provide a strong and globally recognized alternative to traditional education. Their influence provides a framework for the Fitzgerald Community School. Harmonious learning environments and natural, simple objects for play stimulate creativity. Mixed age-group learning allows children to grow at their own pace. Learning through play keeps children engaged in their own development. Community engagement prepares students for becoming pillars of their community. Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia all focus on helping children reach their full potential in a joyful way. An education that preserves childhood is the basis of the Fitz model.
- A Supportive Community. The Fitz family calendar is filled with opportunities to connect and create community. Events such as parents night out, family movie night, and smoothie socials happen several times a year. Parenting and childhood development lectures are provided free of charge for enrolled families. Fitz also offers before and after school care, and summer and holiday camps to fill the needs of families.
- Project-Based Learning. Fitz students learn application of knowledge through experiential, project based learning. It has often been said that the jobs children will do in the future do not yet exist today. The high rate of change in our world makes the future hard to predict. Developing critical thinking and problem solving skills is good preparation for an unpredictable future. Project-based learning has been shown to develop character traits such as perseverance and confidence. It also encourages in-depth understanding. At Fitz, some learners have even turned projects into small businesses! Learners are encouraged to connect with and serve their communities. In 2021, a group of Fitz learners created a community refrigerator program to provide families in need with fresh foods. It still serves the community today.
- Mental Health Is A Priority. Rates of mental health issues in children have been on the rise for over a decade. Some pediatricians say this increase is now a national emergency. Founder Jeanine Fitzgerald’s insights as a Human and Childhood Behavior Specialist have shaped the Fitzgerald Community School. Evidence-based policies, adequate outdoor time, a varied curriculum, and meaningful activity provide an environment that is conducive to well-being.
- Family Harmony and Balance. This is perhaps the most loved benefit of a Fitz education. Many families have observed that life is more harmonious after joining Fitz. A small, streamlined school with low learner-coach ratios means personalized attention for children and families. Educational requirements are fulfilled during the day. Learning through play, adequate outdoor time, and a focus on childhood well-being can lessen after-school “slumps”. Fitz students are encouraged to pursue sports or hobbies, bond with family, or simply restore after school.
Has this list piqued your interest? Contact us today to schedule a tour or learn more about Fitz.
Jeanine Fitzgerald is a speaker, consultant, and master trainer. She draws upon over 35 years of professional experience as a licensed teacher and mental health professional. Jeanine has worked with thousands of children, professionals and parents across the country. She has also taught at the college level and presented on the campuses of Harvard, MIT, Bryant University and more. She is recognized on the federal level as an approved trainer in the fields of education, disabilities and mental health. As a certified Human Behavior Consultant and Specialist, Jeanine specializes in research-based strategies in educational leadership, relationship-building, motivation, preventing the factors that compromise the fulfillment of a child’s maximum potential and implementing positive interventions in “real life” settings. She understands the daily struggles and frustrations of educators and parents, and honors the “hero within” each individual she has the privilege to work alongside.
Jeanine is a published author, and has appeared on public television in four states, including her home state of Massachusetts.
Jeanine’s most cherished contribution to the field of education is her flagship school, the Fitzgerald Community School. Her greatest joy is the creation of education centers where children can flourish, establish a lifelong love of learning, and achieve their highest potential.
Fitzgerald Community School is a nature-based education center located in Northborough, Massachusetts. Fitz provides accredited education for preschool through grade 6. Fitz serves families from all over central Massachusetts, including Westborough, Grafton, Sutton, Northborough, Marlborough, and Shrewsbury.