Congratulations to Carol Woodall, our first Feature Teacher of the new school year! We are so thankful for your musical talents and how your share them with Parish Day School.
How did you decide to get into the field of Early Childhood Education?
Almost by accident! I have always played the piano and organ for church services since I was in high school, and therefore I had worked with those churches and their children during Vacation Bible School and for special performances. I graduated from JMU with a degree in music and when my family moved to the beach, 3 of my 4 children attended Parish Day School. Cathrine Dozier who was the director at the time, caught me in the hallway one afternoon as I was picking them up and asked if I would be interested in teaching the music classes here at PDS. Their previous music teacher was Carol Barber and she was moving. I had absolutely no idea what to do with a classroom of 3-year-olds and long, wooden rhythm sticks, but I learned very quickly! It has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life, as after 27 years I still LOVE to sing and dance and make music with these precious children!
Do you have a role model or hero that inspired you?
There are so many people over the years who have inspired and encouraged me that it is difficult to name just one! Probably my first role model was my mom, who was also a pre-school teacher. I can remember going into her classes as an elementary school-aged child and playing the piano for her children. We would do musical chairs and sing some of those OLD favorites! There are other teachers who through the years (and there are so many years!) have inspired me and challenged me – many here at PDS: Mrs. Dozier who gave me a chance to learn, make mistakes and grow; Marty LaGiglia, Jean Edwards – all who have been great directors to work with over the years; fellow teachers Sandy Monger, Pat Sinclair, Navine Fortune, Chris Crocker, Susie Fleenor (and many others!), who I have watched interact with their classes and therefore gained new perspectives on how to deal with the hundreds of children who have passed through my classroom doors! These days, I still love the music of Dr. Jean, Laurie Berkner and Nancy Kopman – who through technology have taught me new ways of teaching these little ones. We live in a wonderful time of opportunity where our world has expanded to include SO much music! Many years ago I had to search through the libraries to find new music – these days all I do is turn on my computer, phone or ask Alexa!
What do you bring to Parish Day School that makes you unique?
This question makes me smile! Anyone who knows me realizes that it must take a special person who can sing Twinkle, Twinkle hundreds of times over and still get enjoyment out of watching a child’s eyes light up because they know that song! I think I bring my own style of enthusiasm and joy to the classroom.
Working with young children is a bit different than working with older children and teens, and I feel that my job is to open a child’s mind to all kinds of music. I want them to leave my classroom thinking music is a positive thing in their lives – the fun of shaking a maraca as fast as they can, marching to an up-beat song, listening to a beautiful symphony and dancing with a scarf, giggling over a silly song as they learn some new words, or learning about a different instrument and the sounds that it makes. Perfection is not something that I push in the classroom – instead, I look for Enjoyment and Wonder and FUN!
What is your favorite thing about being part of the Parish Day School Team?
I love working with the Parish Day School team because of the wonderful staff AND the delightful children that make me smile e-v-e-r-y single day. The staff inspires and encourages me – they are always willing to lend a hand, a book, a dry erase marker! The children are my main joy though - there is nothing like hearing a young and excited voice down the hallway say, “There’s Mrs. Woodall! Do we have music today?” Makes my heart smile!
Do you have a favorite time of year at Parish Day School?
I think my favorite time of year is the fall – the excitement of new classes, and a fresh start in the classroom. I love getting the chance to build those foundations for the rest of the school year. I have usually spent the summer months learning some new music and reading up on new and creative ideas, so I am always excited to start implementing them!
Do you have a favorite quote or motto?
Love this one because it truly explains WHY I teach – music is one of the things that I think makes us human. It should be a part of our daily lives, and while it brings joy and fun and relaxation in-to our lives, I truly hope that music just encourages us to BE more – whatever that ‘more’ is!