DETROIT -

The North American International Auto Show saw a much younger crowd on Wednesday.

More than 5,000 students from Michigan spent the day getting an inside look at the auto show.

Nearly 500 pre-K children participated in the PNC Foundation’s Grow Up Great early childhood education initiative, also supported by Detroit Public Schools, which featured a variety of activities and a parade through the auto show with strategic stops along the way designed to teach kids about the auto industry.

In a separate Education Day program sponsored by the U.S. Army and Ally Financial, students were treated to a presentation by motivational speaker Jeff Yalden before separating into age appropriate workshops that focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math. The students then toured the show to learn how technologies are applied in manufacturing the world’s best automobiles.

“If there was a theme at today’s auto show, it was ‘opportunity,’” said NAIAS Chairman Bob Shuman. “There is so much excitement and opportunity in today’s auto industry and it continues to attract creative thinkers, innovative thinkers, and a new wave of talent. We know that you can’t start too young to reach out and grab the interest of students. Today the auto industry made hundreds of positive impressions.”