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Leading adventures for the littlest explorers

Anyone looking for Megan Martina knows to check the play area in her infant classroom: she’s likely on the floor with her students, right in the thick of the activity.
Anyone looking for Megan Martina knows to check the play area in her infant classroom: she’s likely on the floor with her students, right in the thick of the activity.

If the babies in Megan Martina’s classroom at the Greensburg KinderCare in Penn., could talk, they’d say that Wet and Messy is their very favorite part of the curriculum. Pumpkin seeds, mashed potatoes, cornmeal, water, sand: these babies touch, smell, and play with new textures in Martina’s class every week. (One can usually find Martina down on the floor too, exploring right alongside them.)

“Infants can be a tough classroom, but it’s what you make of it and Megan makes it fun,” said Center Director Denise Stoner. “Wet and Messy is her favorite day of the week, but every single day she’s down on the floor with the infants – playing, asking questions, creating new activities.”

An infant teacher for four years, and now a 2015 Knowledge Universe Early Childhood Educator Award winner, Martina loves these tiniest learners the best – because of the bright-eyed joy they express when they reach a new milestone, because of the way they curl up in her arms for a snuggle. She also loves their parents.

“They are friends and family to me,” Martina said. “I love talking about what their babies have done that day or milestones they’re reaching.”

“Parents love Megan,” said Stoner. “Megan makes them feel like they’re leaving their child in the most trusted environment they can be in. She’s part of their family just as they’re part of hers. No request goes unanswered. No concern goes without a response. She cares about these children and that shows in everything she does.”

The incredible pace at which infants learns inspires Martina to create new activities every day. She strives to teach them new things, things they might not learn at home, but most importantly, she has fun. Her greatest satisfaction is seeing the babies do something new, especially when they’ve been trying to accomplish it for a while.

“The look on their face – they know they’ve done something good and the look on their face is just priceless,” she said.

This year Martina will reach her own milestone: she already holds a bachelor’s degree in social work, but she’s earning her Child Development Associate credential.

The very best teachers learn from their students and for Martina the greatest things she’s learned from a child is how to be happy, how to love, how to learn.

Learn more about what makes Martina one of the best teachers Knowledge Universe has in the video below.