JOPLIN, Mo. — “Big Wheel Day” saw it’s 34th and last year Friday morning at the First United Methodist Preschool.

Big Wheel Day is held every year in the spring. This year, 27 preschoolers put their wheels in motion riding around the parking lot. That’s where they got to participate in many activities.

“We had a McDonalds where they actually drive through and get a little pretend Happy Meal. We have a watering hole, we have, a duck pond. If their bike breaks down, we have a fix-it shop. We have some really great artists here, they’ve made some beautiful chalk drawings,” said Ruth Greer, Preschool Director.

“We get to go in the car wash,” said Alice, Preschool Student.

The Joplin Police and Fire Departments were there, giving the kids a chance to see the inside of a fire truck or patrol car and engaging with the students – but not without making sure they have their driver’s license first.

“When they first come in, each student they need a driver’s license and a car tag, and then they get some coupons to go to each of the stations, so it’s really a big deal,” said Greer.

The police and fire departments have always made it to Big Wheel Day and say it’s important for kids to meet them.

“They don’t know anything about cops, firemen, they don’t know, they just see it on TV. And to actually be able to talk to somebody, you know, hopefully we’re looked up to and then they realize, oh, I can go talk to that person, and they’ll spend time with me and that it’s not that big of a deal, you know, and not be scared to approach and talk,” said Gt. Roy Teed, Jasper County Sheriff Deputy.

“We like being involved in the community. We like showing our faces, because in the event of an emergency, we want them to trust us and know us, so, we don’t want them to be scared of us or anything like that. So, if they see us in this setting, then they know that we’re not there to hurt them or anything like that,” said Dustin Burns, Fire Department Driver Engineer.

Graduation for these preschoolers will be May 19th and that will also be the last day for the preschool as it will no longer be a part of the church. The preschool says they have enjoyed having two generations of students over the past 3-plus decades.

“It has, uh, truly been amazing. We look forward to see where God wants us to minister. We will not be together. This is, like I said, this is it for the First United Methodist Preschool. Each of my coworkers here, we’re just anxious to see where God is leading us. And wherever He leads us, we will continue to, praise Him and keep telling people about Him and how much He loves them,” said Greer.