NORTH CANTON  It was all aboard for the kids at the North Canton City Schools Early Childhood Center on Dec. 20 as they all eagerly participated in the annual Polar Express Day. The 117 kids ages three to five were dressed in their favorite pajamas and were excited to experience all of the great stops along their adventurous day.

"The Polar Express" is a children's book written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. It was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1985 and is considered to be holiday classic. The story is about a young boy who hears a train whistle. He sees a train waiting for him outside his bedroom window. He meets a conductor who explains the train is called the Polar Express and is on its way to the North Pole. The boy boards the train, which is filled with chocolate and candy as well as many other children in their pajamas.

The conductor at the Early Childhood Center was principal Michael Coppa. The train had five stops throughout the building including a stop where the movie about the Polar Express was playing, a stop where everybody was singing songs, a craft room stop, a playroom and a room with Santa Claus waiting to hear all of the Christmas wishes.

"The Center has been holding the Polar Express Day for many years for the kids," Coppa said. "The PTO gathers all of the decorations and helps us get the building decorated. We hold the event so that the kids can see Santa and it enhances the kids’ experience here at the Center. It’s a great way to have fun with the kids before the holidays," he added.

Coppa said they hold a carnival in the spring as another way to have fun with the kids.

"When you see the smiles on the kids’ faces, all of the hard work that goes into both the Polar Express Day and the Spring Carnival is all worth it," he said.