Pre-K–Grade 4
The Experience

All Boys? At This Age?

Boys behave differently, have different interests, and, often, have different approaches to learning than girls. While most people intuitively know this is true, schools have struggled to find a formula for nurturing boys’ learning and development in a co-educational environment.

For years, researchers have noted that girls are achieving greater success in the classroom and that boys are lagging behind in many academic and social areas. Recently, studies by noted psychologists such as Michael Thompson, Anthony Rao, and Judy Y. Chu have shown that, from as young as four years old, boys begin to stereotype themselves as learners and conform to gender roles they perceive--and often in a negative way. In co-ed schools, boys begin very early to define themselves as “not girls” and therefore shy away from experiences and opportunities that society’s gender roles define as “girl things”--including being successful in school.

Fessenden is a place where boys can start school on a balanced playing field, in an environment that creates opportunities for them to thrive. All things are possible. Those activities that are often the exclusive domain of girls in co-ed settings become attainable: language arts, music, drawing, performance, academic engagement, and success. Boys at Fessenden begin their educational journey believing that these endeavors are “boy things.”
Our teachers are focused entirely on the success of their boys. Lessons are planned with the interests of boys in mind--making rocks “talk” in science, performing a song about pirates in music class, reading a book about sharks in the library. Classrooms are active and dynamic. Boys move frequently, heading across the campus for Spanish, art, physical education, music, and library. Ample opportunities are built into each day for boys to run around and play, essential elements for both learning and socialization.

Our school is designed to bring out the best in boys. It is a place where boys learn that there are many routes to manhood, where traditional stereotypes can be dismantled and replaced by a more thoughtful approach to maturation. Boys are encouraged to explore their competitive spirits and learn that the strong bonds of friendship, teamwork, and social interaction are what matter most in life. Our focus on character, centered on the school’s core values of honesty, compassion, and respect, gives our boys the opportunity to develop and practice qualities that will help them become respected citizens of the school and of the world.
© 2015 The Fessenden School. All Rights Reserved.
The Fessenden School
250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 964-5350

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