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Local pre-school teacher makes house calls

Distance learning was too distant for Miss Melissa. So, she put her classroom on wheels

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — Five-year-old Iris Drone has always been up for anything but then the panemic changed everything.

"We picked her up from school one day and she wasn't able to go back, "explained her mom Jennifer Drone.

That was true for most kids, who began remote learning.  With the key word being, remote.

That is until, Miss Melissa on Wheels.

Melissa Luster , a pre-school teacher at University City Children's Center now makes house calls.

She still gets emotional talking about how the pandemic changed her job.

"I just miss the kids in the classroom," she told us through tears. "Having relationships with them."

So if the kids couldn't be in the classroom, she decided she'd bring the classroom to them.  Several days a week, she loads books, games and educational toys on to a cart and she's ready to roll.

"Parents need breaks and someone did it for me and so I'm doing it for parents," Luster said.

"She gets to know every kid so well and genuinely treats them like her own," says Jennifer.

Melissa says she's wanted to be a teacher all her life believing you can change the world, one child at time.

"They're developing their identity at this time. You have to give them fostering moments where they can have that time to understand the world around them," Luster explains.

For Iris, who has known Miss Melissa all her life, these sessions give a whole new meaning to home work.

"She just lights up when she sees Melissa's face," says Jennifer , smiling.

The best teachers give their lessons not from a book but from their heart.  

"I let them know I'm here for them," Luster tells us.

"It's such a gracious, generous thing for the kids, for all of us," adds Jennifer.

Covid may have disrupted the classroom but in University City, Miss Melissa is making sure, the wheels are still in motion.