In 1979, Rev. Zimmerman and Marty Piotrowsky attended some of the conferences that the Kansas District LCMS was holding to promote Christian early childhood education and the spark began to flicker brighter for Christian education. After visiting with leaders at Faith Emporia, and particularly with Lois Vogel of Our Savior Lutheran in Kansas City, it was decided to poll the families with young children at Faith to see if they would be interested in sending their little ones to a preschool at church. An ad was also placed in the Ottawa Herald. The vast majority of the parents (and many grandparents too) were in favor of the opportunity of more in depth Christian education for their youngsters. There was not much response from the community at that point. Preschool was a novel idea at the time. Community response came later.
In the October council meeting, it was decided to approach the voters to see if they would approve starting a preschool at Faith. After much discussion, they gave their permission but made it clear that, beyond supplying the classroom space, the preschool should not expect financial support. Their approval and a place to meet was all it took and the search for a teacher began. With plans to open the doors in early January, 1980, the committee turned to Marty Piotrowsky and asked her to consider the job of teacher/director. The Piotrowsky’s youngest child was not a year old at the time and Marty really hadn’t planned to go back to work just then, but seeing the need accepted the position.
A few new materials were ordered and gently used toys and books were graciously donated by members. The first day of class was Monday, January 14, 1980. We had a small but hopeful beginning with just six students. They included: Sherri Daniels Burton, Ginger Knight Davis, Lori Johnson Folson, Eric Piotrowsky, Robert Reed, and Melissa Yeager Rictor. The flame was beginning to grow.
The school grew and now has eighty students in four classes. Stephanie Circle is currently the Director of the Preschool. She began her tenure in 1998.
The Lord has been good to us over the years and has blessed the efforts of Faith Lutheran. Many little ones have heard the message of Jesus and His great love for us. Until we reach heaven, we may never know just how much we meant to these children as they grew up. To God be the Glory for the things He has done!
In 1992 the congregation saw the need for a Director of Education. Pete Lang was called to serve in this capacity and worked with our Sunday School Superintendents and mid-week Bible classes to develop a strong ethic of Bible study in our children. After Pete left for the Seminary the lay leaders continued the development of this program in to the LOGOS program we have today. Pete also worked to develop a program to meet the needs of our high school students.