DuBOIS — Even during a pandemic, the teachers at the CenClear DuBois Preschool Center find ways to bring the magic of the season to their students. Despite classes being remote recently due to COVID-19, the teachers welcomed students to a global celebration.

Parents drove their children through the displays where teachers wished them a Merry Christmas in languages from around the world, and learned some facts about the country from the safety of their vehicles. At the end, Santa was there to greet them at the North Pole.

“We chose to do this instead of a virtual event, because we knew we could do it safely and we (staff and families) are already missing out on so much this year –we really wanted our families to have the opportunity to get out of the house for a fun and safe adventure, and it gave us the opportunity for some face to face interaction with our families as well,” teacher Kathi Barr said.

Barr said the idea to conduct a drive-thru global celebration was a group effort and a result of brainstorming by all staff at the beginning of the year to come up with ideas on how to make these required family events possible during the pandemic.

Parents/guardians give suggestions that are placed on a ballot; ballots are given to all program families and they vote, said Barr.

“The top choices are the events that we plan for,” said Barr. “We knew that virtual events were an option, but as nice as it is to have that technology, there’s no replacement for face-to-face contact.”

Barr noted that CenClear held an event in the fall for the families — the fall festival/harvest drive-through, where the families drove through and stopped at the tables and were given items such as a healthy trunk or treat.

“Most of the children came dressed in their Halloween costumes,” said Barr. “The families were very appreciative. Because it worked so well, we decided to do the same type of event for December.”

The staff at CenClear believe it is important to expose children to other cultures.

“As educators, teaching children about the cultures and customs of those around them is very important,” said Amy Wible, CenClear child development and disabilities coordinator. “Throughout their lives, children will meet people from a variety of backgrounds. By exposing children to many different experiences, we are teaching them to be kind, respectful and accepting of others.”

CenClear currently has openings (in-person and virtual) in the preschool program. Interested parents and/or guardians can visit CenClear online at www.cenclear.org to learn more.

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