By Seva May
Holly Wood knew what she wanted to be when she grew up when she was in the first grade. A teacher. To be exact, she wanted to be a first-grade teacher. In the second grade, she wanted to be a second-grade teacher. In third grade…and so on until she reached the grade when the rolling eyes, hormones, and smirks took over. Her parents were always a source of encouragement and support. They knew that she loved children and that her passion was working with little ones. And so, she began her journey to become an elementary school teacher. After earning her degree, she began her career in Bienville Parish but found her home at University Elementary where she taught for over 30 years.
While she was “retired” she taught preschool at Ellerbe Baptist Church for a year. Holly couldn’t stay away from the career she loved, so she joined the First Baptist Church School staff. She taught kindergarten for one year and four-year-olds the next year and was then asked to become the preschool coordinator. Her job description takes up three pages. It’s a big job that includes managing the curriculum and seeing that all teaching materials and supplies are made available to each class.
She plans and presents weekly chapel lessons to all preschool children. She helps plan and organize special preschool events such as STREAM night, Dr. Seuss Day, and Week of the Young Child, Preschool Fun. She works with Centenary College in their Service-Learning Community Partnership to set up schedules for Centenary students to observe in the preschool classroom. There are meetings to attend with faculty, staff, and parents. Newsletters to write and bulletin boards to update. The list of Holly’s duties seems endless, but she loves every minute of working with almost three-year-olds, three-year-olds, four and five-year-olds.
First Baptist Church School begins with Young Pre-K3 and goes through the eighth grade and covers language arts, science, math, social studies, Christian education, technology, enrichment, and after-school opportunities. The little ones begin learning socialization skills that include everything from being away from mom and dad for the first time to standing in a line.
“First Baptist Church School is one of the very few schools that offer a bridging class. They’re not in the public schools at all. We think that the beginning and the starting of education are the most important years in a child’s life.”
Referencing the quote from Bill Gates, Holly goes on to say that “the first five years make a big difference in how the next 80 are going to turn out.”