Director Spotlight – Holly Barber-Gatlin
The LUX School would like to introduce our Executive Director of Operations, Holly Barber-Gatlin.
Holly Barber-Gatlin comes highly recommended to our school. She holds numerous accreditations in early education, child development, childhood health consulting, AMS (Montessori) Administration, and others. The LUX School called on Holly to create a childcare center that combines Montessori philosophies, purposeful indoor and outdoor learning environments, and curriculum focused on growing individual strengths. “The LUX School is the combination of all of my training and experience over the last 15 years,” Holly shares. “We knew that childcare centers could be better, be more child-centric versus a babysitting gig. So we got together and figured out how to make those ideas reality.”
The LUX School has been over two years in the making. Shortly after breaking ground on the new building, COVID-19 hit. “We already had safety precautions and germ mediation plans in place. But we knew we needed more, and now was the time to do it,” Holly said. Holly led the board in re-evaluating the whole building, implementing additional handwashing stations, wider sidewalks, evaluating ratios, new COVID-19 policies and other safety precautions to prepare for the new normal.
Holly’s training as a Child Care Health Consultant has been invaluable. “A lot of schools don’t have a healthcare consultant on staff,” Holly states. “The knowledge I have about best practices and health protocols are built into our staff training and staff updates, so everyone on campus can be prepared.” The LUX School’s COVID-19 policies are built from recommendations by the CDC, local health departments, Texas childcare licensing, and infectious disease specialists.
Policies on paper aren’t the only thing Holly’s building. “We’ve added to our lesson plans fun ways to normalize these new skills with the children, make them less strange and intrusive in their daily interactions at LUX.” Holly goes on to share examples of kids using “airplane arms” for social distancing 6 feet apart when lined up, challenging kids to wash stamps off their hands between activities (to promote thorough hand-washing skills), and even scavenger hunts with flashlights (donning their appropriate “ninja” face masks).
Making the social changes fun and integrated into a young child’s life is a priority for Holly. “I have three kids of my own. I know first-hand how scared or confused a child can be in the face of any change. A huge change like what we are facing now calls for better planning, not just more planning. Getting kids comfortable with the changes means they will adapt, and hopefully will continue the new behaviors even when they aren’t at school.”
Amid all this newness, Holly is still excited. “The building is almost complete, the amazing natural playground is being installed, enrollment is open and we are counting down the days. I can’t wait for kids to start enjoying this awesome campus.”
The LUX School offers childcare for ages 6 weeks to 4th grade. For more information on enrollment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.