Mara has been the director at HOPE Academy for thirteen years. She was raised in Lexington, SC and graduated from USC with a degree in Elementary Education. Her husband spent nine years in the Air Force and they enjoyed living in Florida, Delaware, Oklahoma, Germany, and Virginia before coming home to South Carolina. Her husband now works full time at McEntire Air National Guard. Mara has worked in daycares, YMCA after school programs, and a christian mother's day out program before coming to HOPE Academy as a teacher. She taught the twos for a few months before taking over the four year old class. She took time off to have the last of her four children and came back as the director. Mara has three boys ages 20, 17, and 15 and her daughter is 13. Mara and her family are active members here at HOPE Baptist Church and she enjoys scrapbooking, walking, and reading in her spare time.
Infant Room (Tadpoles)
Raquel is the lead teacher in the Tadpole room. She has been with HOPE Academy for 9 years. Raquel has worked with our threes, toddlers, and infants while here at HOPE. Raquel is originally from Mexico and has a Bachelors degree in Pedagogy (curriculum development in teacher training). Raquel is married and has two daughters; both in High School. She enjoys playing with her cats, challenging Mara to walking competitions on Fitbit, and decorating for all the holidays.
Nikki Avery is an assistant in the Tadpole room and is new to HOPE. She has her ECD 101 and is working on her degree in Early Childhood Education at MTC.
Unique Erving in an assistant teacher in our Tadpole room. She has four years previous experience in daycare and has been here at HOPE for over 3 years. Unique starts work on her ECD 101 in August.
Geraldine is an afternoon assistant in the Tadpole room. She has been at HOPE Academy for almost 2 years. Geraldine is retired from the Department of Social Services and worships at Victory Belieivers Ministry. She completed her ECD 101 this year.
The Tadpole room is a very busy place. We have up to 10 babies ranging in age from 6 weeks to 10 months. Trying to keep all the babies fed and in dry diapers is a full time job! Somehow, we find time to play with the babies, snuggle with them, have a Bible lesson, and work with them to reach their next milestone in between naps! Before they leave our classroom they will be sitting up on their own, mobile, and starting to each table food. We use the Bright Baby Curriculum in this class.
Octavia is our lead in the Caterpillar room. She has been at HOPE for 1 year and is currently taking ECD 101 at Midlands Tech.
In the Caterpillar room we have children 10 to 17 months old. We encourage our babies to become more independent toddlers. We help them learn to communicate in ways other than crying. We use a great mix of High Reach Learning Curriculum for Toddlers and the Bright Baby curriculum for infants 9-12 months. We learn about Creation and Noah's Ark in the Transition room. We try to squeeze all this in between diaper changes, feedings, and nap time of course! By the time our new toddlers leave our classroom they will be drinking out of a sippie cup, walking well, eating table food, and down to one nap a day on a kinder mat.
Toddler Room (Ladybugs)
Latrice is the lead teacher in the Ladybugs. She has been with HOPE Academy for 2 years. Latrice has three grown children and attends Journey Church. She completed her ECD 101 this year.
Jessica is our afternoon assistant in the Ladybugs and is new to HOPE. She has two little boys of her own and worships at HOPE Baptist Church.
Our ladybug room (17-24 months) is crucial here at HOPE Academy. This is the time when our toddlers further their independence. Our toddlers are learning to use their words to communicate and practice controlling their own bodies. We introduce our toddlers to new concepts through our High Reach Learning Curriculum designed for children 12-24 months. Our toddlers learn through monthly themes such as buildings, textures & fabrics, and wings & things that fly. Each monthly unit features a new book, puppet, rhymes, songs, activities, and crafts. Our Bible lessons are from Group Publishing's Play and Worship series which teaches toddlers the way they learn best...by doing! It includes colorful, age appropriate lessons that get the little ones worshiping God and knowing Jesus through movement and fun. They will discover Bible truths through intentional play by utilizing toys they have in their classroom. We know our toddlers grow by leaps and bounds during this very important year and do our best to keep up with them!
Young Twos (Bumblebees)
Jackie is the lead teacher in the Bumblebees classroom. She has been an early educator for 29 years and has been at HOPE Academy for 13 of those years. Jackie has been married over 35 years, has three grown children, and a grandbaby! Her husband retired from the Air Force and they made Columbia their home for the past 20 years but both are originally from Dominican Republic. Her family worships at HOPE Academy and Jackie enjoys reading and shopping in her spare time.
LaShawnda is our assistant in the Bumblebee classroom. She has been with HOPE Academy for over 8 years but has been working with children over 23 years. LaShawnda has completed the ECD 101 course at Midlands Tech. She has four children of her own and enjoys gardening and yard sales in her spare time.
Tia is the afternoon assistant in the Bumblebees. She has been at HOPE for almost 4 years and has her ECD 101.
Older Twos (Monkeys and Bears)
Teresa is the lead in the Bears. She has been at HOPE for almost 3 years and has her ECD 101.
Shayla is the lead in the Monkeys. She worked here back when we were still Parkway Academy. She took time off to take care of her family and is excited to be back for almost two years at HOPE. She takes her ECD 101 class starting in August.
Our twos classes are full of fun and excitement. Some of the goals in these classes are to enhance their social skills, help them develop their verbal skills, how to follow directions the first time, and of course, potty training. We use the High Reach Learning Curriculum that is designed for two year olds. The children work on developing background knowledge, developing social skills and self-regulation, developing their curiosity in the world around them, increasing their use of words and understanding of symbols, and developing healthy minds and bodies. The High Reach curriculum does all this thru monthly themes that incorporates a new book, puppet, rhymes, songs, activities, and crafts. Our twos use Group Publishing Hands on Bible Curriculum.
Threes (Owls and Birds)
Nicole B. is the teacher in the Birds class. She is originally from Trinidad and Tobago and has been in the States since 2002. Nicole has 6 years experience in daycare and has been at HOPE for two years. She worships at Right Direction Church. Nicole has one child.
The Three year old class is our student's introduction to the A Beka curriculum. A Beka is a structured, phonics based, Christian curriculum. This curriculum consists of three major parts: Bible study, phonics (which includes language development, poetry, and music), and numbers. By the end of the year these students should be able to recognize names and sounds for the entire alphabet. Three year olds should be able to count to 30 and recognize the numbers 0-15. The threes are considered academic classrooms with homework and binders just like the big kids they are becoming. Children are expected to follow simple directions and must be potty trained.
Fours (Butterflies and Lions)
Sandy is the lead teacher in the Butterflies class and has been at HOPE Academy teaching the fours for 13 years now. Sandy is originally from Germany, but has lived in the US for the past 26 years. Sandy has her ECD 101 and has 20 years of experience in childcare. She enjoys cooking, reading, and scrap-booking in her spare time and attends SeaCoast Church in Columbia. Sandy's class website www.mssandysroom.biz.ly
Yolanda is the afternoon teacher in the Butterflies class and has been at HOPE Academy for 9 years. Yolanda had her own certified daycare in Germany for 12 years. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA and has 32 years experience working with children. Yolanda has three adult children and 5 grandchildren. She has lived in Columbia the past 12 years and worships at HOPE Baptist Church. Yolanda enjoys reading in her spare time.
Tia is thessistant in the Lions. She has been at HOPE for almost 4 years and has her ECD 101.
Our Fours class is a more structured environment as the children build on their phonics knowledge with the A Beka curriculum. The Bible stories become more detailed and they memorize many scriptures including The Lord's Prayer and The 23rd Psalm. The fours not only learn how to write but also how to read this year. Number learning expands to recognition of numbers 1-20, counting to 100, and touches on addition and learning how to tell time. The children still have fun with center time where they can focus on fine motor development.
We have several floaters and substitute teachers that you might find in a classroom as well: Vashondria, Christina, and Elizabeth.