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MV Community Services offers education workshops
Jeanine Fitzgerald, a certified human behavior consultant, will conduct a workshop tonight on "The Developing Brain" in the library conference room at the regional high school. Soup will be served at 5:30 pm, followed by the program at 6.
Jeanine Fitzgerald. Photo courtesy of Jeanine Fitzgerald
At a second workshop scheduled this Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 am to 1 pm, Ms. Fitzgerald's topic is "Nurturing Relationships," a look at nurturing styles and understanding how people with different temperaments react to one another, adult to adult and adult to child. A mismatch between parent and child or teacher and child oftentimes compounds behavior problems, Ms. Fitzgerald said in a phone interview last week.
"For 98 percent of the children I've worked with, that's the case," she explained. "There is a poorness of fit between the demands created by the environment and the adults the child is involved with."
Additional workshops on topics such as neuro-developmental systems, emotional competence, and social competence are scheduled in January through April.
"The Family Network/Family Center has been bringing Jeanine to the Island for about five years," Ms. Toole said. "The reason she keeps coming back and is popular on the Island, I think, is that her message resonates with parents, and people keep requesting to see her. It makes a difference, what she has to say really makes a difference."
Some experts are too philosophical and abstract when they talk about children and child-rearing practices, Ms. Toole pointed out, but not Ms. Fitzgerald. "She is humorous, and people identify with her," Ms. Toole said. "She makes them feel better about themselves."
In addition to the workshops, Ms. Fitzgerald will be addressing the subject of bullying with students at Edgartown School. The school's parent-teacher organization has invited Ms. Fitzgerald twice to speak on that subject, Ms. Toole said, and she coordinates Ms. Fitzgerald's visits to address the interests of other individual schools, as well. This year Ms. Toole had requests from the Charter School, as well as the Edgartown, West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Oak Bluffs schools.
Ms. Fitzgerald holds a degree in counseling psychology and two degrees in education as a physical education teacher and special education teacher. She also worked on a behavioral clinical team at a mental health center with children and families for seven years.
Ms. Fitzgerald started her program about 28 years ago, addressing parents in church and social groups. Her business, the Better Behavior Bureau, grew by word of mouth into what is now an international business. "My passion for this work comes from my own background as a child who experienced some of these challenges along the way," she said.
Ms. Fitzgerald sought alternatives to dealing with children with behavioral issues other than putting them in the back of the classroom or expelling them from school.
Ms. Fitzgerald and her husband, Todd, live in Hubbardston and are the parents of three grown children, a daughter and two sons. She travels all over the country giving her workshops, booking them six to 12 months in advance.
"I'm getting ready to expand my business to create three divisions, one based in technical assistance, consultation and training, one based in assessment, and a third to provide support network service for parents," Ms. Fitzgerald said.
Her first book, "The Dance of Interaction," published last October, offers a holistic view of behaviors, and how to understand and address them. Written for both parents and professionals, the book already is in its second printing, available for $16.95 plus shipping and handling through her web site, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Fitzgerald expects to finish writing her second book, "Educating the Heart," soon.