Christine Martin is passionate about children’s positive growth and development and commits her life and livelihood to upholding that mission. Days spent with children are her happiest ones.
“Learning about young children, how they learn, how they think, what is most fun for them and exploring the world through their eyes has brought me years of great joy,” Martin said.
Many parents know Martin as the founder, owner and administrative director of Sunshine Preschool, a nationally accredited program situated on Briarcliff Drive that provides healthy beginnings for thousands of youngsters.
Martin received her B.A. in child study from St. Joseph’s College in Hartford and a Master of Science degree in early childhood education from Wheelock College in Boston.
Believing in accountability and committed to high-quality standards, Martin set herself apart at age 24 by developing a nationally accredited preschool program, and she has been on the cutting edge of childhood education ever since.
“Always do better and do your best,” Martin said. “I want to provide the best experience for my children at Sunshine, and it continues to offer the best in programming.”
At Sunshine, teachers interact intentionally with children to purposefully challenge, build and extend their learning through hands-on activities and discovery, developing skills vital to a successful transition to kindergarten.
Martin now shares a wealth of knowledge in her book “You’ve Got This! Keys to Effective Parenting for the Early Years,” offering simple tools to help parents and children feel calm, secure and confident.
This parenting guide — touted as a “must read for parents” — focuses on the importance of providing a warm, safe, accepting environment where the child may grow and develop a positive self-image as an individual, foster self-confidence, develop awareness of others and encourage positive peer relationships.
“This is a culmination of my 41 years’ experience in the classroom, as a business owner, teacher trainer, national speaker and lecturer,” Martin said. “It’s a message for all parents.”
Martin tapped into topics she’d heard about over the years.
“Parents often want a quick answer,” she said. “In ‘You’ve Got This!’ I tried to relate to parents and how they feel in this busy world and show them how they can successfully connect to their child.”
Martin offers credible research, real-life examples and common-sense tips to help parents make that connection. She also advocates choosing the right teachers and caregivers for a child’s social and academic success.
“I didn’t want to complicate it,” Martin said. “Parents get a snapshot, and if they like what they read, they’ll research more.”
Martin currently lives in Florida and works as an early education consultant. She is still involved with the school, speaks on child development topics at colleges and national education conventions, and teaches at her grandson’s school. She serves on the board of directors of the Chicago-based International Children’s Media Center, an organization dedicated to changing the way children view, use and engage with media.
“Screen time is one of today’s most pressing issues,” Martin noted.
In “The Upside of Digital Devices” chapter, she quotes Nicole Dreiske, executive director of the International Children’s Media Center, discussing how family screen time can make a child more screen smart, literate and empathetic. According to Dreiske, “We need to break the old mold of ‘media policing’ and create new ways of interacting with our children around screens that will support rather than erode family dynamics.”
Dreiske’s “Screen Smart” approach builds on strengths parents already have to help children develop healthy screen habits. One key is to connect the stories we read in books to the stories children see on screens, during a shared viewing experience.
Martin concludes her book with a quote from her son, Jamie: “The only thing a parent should promise the child is that when ‘life happens’ they won’t be alone. They are cared for and loved and are prepared for these situations through faith, family and friends.”