In the Primary School, students establish a foundation for dedicated service with a focus on empathy and building community. Students explore their roles as individuals, friends, and community members at Fay. They learn what a community is, how to treat others in a community, and how to serve their communities.
As Primary Schoolers learn that they can help to solve problems, and they use the design thinking process to design, build, test, and improve solutions to everyday problems
. They also learn that it is cool to be kind
, and they practice spreading kindness, from writing a thank you note to a veteran to publicly thanking our dining service team at lunch. In second grade, students take part in a day-long service trip at the nonprofit Cradles to Crayons, where they sort clothes and toys for disadvantaged children.
Lower School students are actively involved in service projects both on and off-campus. They conduct a holiday gift drive to benefit the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and a food drive to benefit Veterans Inc. They volunteer at Community Harvest Project’s farm in Grafton and at Fay's Farmers Market, and they serve as recycling helpers around Fay’s campus. With each project, students learn about the issues connected to their service efforts and reflect on their impact.
Lower Schoolers are encouraged to take ownership of their service, and they have frequent opportunities to determine how they want to help solve problems. For a recent fall day of service on campus, for example, Lower Schoolers decided that they would help beautify campus by working with the facilities team to plant mums. The Lower School’s Service Club, which meets after school, provides additional opportunities for students to give back to the community.
In Upper School, our students participate in service adventures that are life-changing opportunities to experience the world in a brand-new way.
While our service learning curriculum changes each year, previous examples of service learning projects have included the following:
- Seventh graders have spent a week each fall volunteering at local farms and other nonprofits. This year, students are spending the fall term learning about food waste and insecurity, volunteering at local nonprofits that are creating innovative distribution channels for fresh food, and participating in a design challenge focused on solutions to food accessibility.
- Eighth graders have traveled to New York City to serve at organic farms, schools, food banks, and soup kitchens through the Youth Service Opportunities Project.
- Ninth graders have traveled to the Dominican Republic, where they spent a week teaching English in a local school in collaboration with the nonprofit Outreach 360.
Students typically have numerous opportunities to participate in addition service projects throughout the school year. Within Fay’s own community, students serve as helpers in the Primary and Lower School in art and language classes and at P.E and lunch. They volunteer at the Fay School Farmers Market, and they can join the after-school community service club or the Green Squad (Fay’s recycling team). They also volunteer at local homeless shelters, Habitat for Humanity, Veterans, Inc., the Southborough Senior Center, and at numerous local community events.
Dedicated service is woven throughout the Upper School curriculum. In Craig Ferraro’s Pre-Algebra class, for example, students become “Statistical Servants
” by connecting their math studies to an aspect of poverty, such as veteran poverty, child hunger, or homelessness. Students explore, organize, and present data to describe the problem and then tie it to an actionable proposal that they present to a panel of judges.