Archive for Sunday, April 29, 2012

Children’s excitement, passion are longtime teacher’s muse

Kathy Martin, a longtime teacher at Giving Tree Preschool, works with children on a craft exercise.

Kathy Martin, a longtime teacher at Giving Tree Preschool, works with children on a craft exercise.

April 29, 2012


A tot has fallen down on the soft ground at the Giving Tree Preschool’s playground, and his teacher goes to check on him. She asks some questions, gives a hug and declares him suitable for more play.

Only in Lawrence: Kathy Martin

Visit Kathy Martin's pre-school class at Giving Tree Preschool and learn a song about chewing gum. Enlarge video

Such is daily life for Kathy Martin, director and head teacher at the Giving Tree Preschool.

Martin has taught at Giving Tree for 34 years and has been its director for the past 19. She started teaching at Giving Tree at the same time that her son, Grant, started preschool there. An early-childhood education major, Martin has always found children to be her muse.

“Children have such excitement and passion — just coming in, they are excited to visit, to learn, to play. We just have such a great rapport with them and they do with us,” she says.

The preschool is under the umbrella of First Christian Church. A colorful floor is dedicated to the preschool’s four classrooms, where the kids all do requisite preschool activities: learn, play and eat snacks. Martin teaches all three of the sessions at Giving Tree, with help from one assistant teacher for each session. Parents are also invited to participate.

“I feel like I’ve been blessed with the best families — who in turn have given us the privilege of continuing the positive foundation set in home by parents,” she says.

Parents, who are likewise appreciative of Martin’s love for their children, submitted numerous Only In Lawrence nominations for Martin.

Kori Walburn says, “She has given (my daughter) a wonderful beginning educationally. Her time, talent and knowledge are irreplaceable.”

Martin’s span at the school is such that she is now teaching the second generation — kids whose parents were also her students. She’s also had two marriages, including that of her son, come out of her classroom. And one grandchild has been through her classroom, with another currently enrolled.

Asked how long she’ll continue to teach, she demurs from giving an exact answer, saying, “The joy of teaching is here for me, in the program. I love it.”


Laura Smysor 6 years ago

She is a wonderful person! So full of life!

oneflewover 6 years ago

Taught me how to speak Spanish, 1-10. You wouldn't believe how that helped later in school learning the rest of that language. Place is cleaner than a hospital. Many of Lawrence's best started out here.

mamsir 6 years ago

We are so grateful to have had Kathy as our child's preschool teacher. what a wonderful, loving, safe environment she provides for the children that attend The Giving Tree. Our child absolutely loved "Miss Kathy". Thank you, Kathy, for what your provide our community's children- we are lucky to have you!

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