Massey Ferguson Dealer Gives Kids A Day With Tractors
Tractor rides and hands-on learning are an annual tradition for one Missouri school.
By Sabra Morris
An important truth has endured through generations: Kids love tractors. That’s a big reason why, each year in March, an excited group of about 100 3- to 5-year-olds from the Special Learning Center in Jefferson City, Mo., get to experience them firsthand.
That’s when the kids head to Massey Ferguson® dealer Lauf Equipment for a high-power field trip. Under plenty of adult supervision, the youngsters get to sit up high, honk the horn and even put their hands on the steering wheel.
The Special Learning Center, a nonprofit United Way member agency, serves just fewer than 600 children with occupational, physical, speech and developmental challenges each year through outreach in homes, childcare centers, and local and outlying school districts. Of that number, about 100 students attend special education classes at the center’s facility.
It’s the center’s Crayon Kids group—a childcare program that brings children with challenges and those without together for integrated learning—that has made its annual visit to Lauf for the past 10 years. Dealership co-owner Tom Lauf says the day is just as fun and rewarding for his staff as it is for the students. “One thing we didn’t expect was how much our [staff] would enjoy the experience,” he says.
“We’re grateful to anyone in our community that helps us to build awareness for our kids and helps children to understand and learn,” says Debbie Hamler, the center’s director, who adds the hands-on approach is what keeps the center coming back year after year. “We’re always reading stories that have vehicles in them, but there’s nothing like [children] really experiencing things for themselves.”