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Fairfield Country Day Looks to Next 75 Years

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Much has changed at Fairfield Country Day School in the past 75 years. The school has moved from the Fairfield Center area to Greenfield Hills. Laptops and SMART Boards are taking over for notebooks and blackboards. But as Headmaster John Munro explains, change has always been a part of the school’s philosophy.

“We are committed to taking some risks,” Munro says of his school’s curriculum. “We don’t want to be that school that watches what five schools do first and then decides what we want to do. We want to be on the front edge.”

Fairfield Country Day is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It now hosts 257 boys in prekindergarten through Grade 9 on its 25-acre campus on Bronson Road. Munro started his career as a teacher at the school in 1988. After a brief break to teach and lead at other schools, he took over as the school’s headmaster in 2010.

Munro is making his mark as headmaster. One of the most noticeable changes is that a younger group of charges joined his care. Fairfield Country Day put in the prekindergarten program this fall, adding a grade level to the school for the first time in its history.

Over the next few years, Munro says he expects more evolution at the school. He hopes Fairfield Country Day can be more diverse and can try new methods of teaching. He also plans to enforce not just “the three R’s,” but to also add more character-building education into his curriculum.

“I think we need to focus on some of those 21st-century skills that our boys are going to need to be successful not only at the high school level, but in college and beyond,” Munro says. “Skills like leadership, creativity, empathy, resourcefulness, tenacity and compassion.”

Of course, some things about the school won’t ever change. Public speaking is still a large part of the curriculum. Every student “will speak in front of 25 people a dozen times before they graduate,” Munro says. Kids from across grade levels still sit together at lunch with a teacher to build camaraderie across age groups.

And Munro says he has no plans to change one of the school’s defining features: its single-sex environment. Munro went to an all-boys school, and as he sees it, there are certain things educators can do in that system that cannot be done in a coeducational setting.

For example, he sees his boys as more interested in music and the performing arts than they might be with young girls around. Munro also points to studies that say teachers and students form a stronger bond in single-sex schools.

“I think that’s the core strength of our school — the meaningful relationships that our boys develop with their teachers, and vice-versa."

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