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Our early childhood and elementary learners in grades K-6 participate in year-round daily specials. This daily rotation provides different learning experiences beyond core academics in the areas of art, music, physical education, technology, STEAM, and social/emotional learning.

Student in art class working on a self portrait


The early childhood and elementary art education program provides each student with a weekly hands-on experience in producing art, enhanced by the integration of art history, art criticism and aesthetic critiques. Art education classes at this level will encourage critical and creative problem-solving skills, as well as empathy for historical and contemporary works of art. 

Girl standing outside with sign that reads "Life is tough, but so are you."

Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is part of the specials rotation for all early childhood and elementary students. Through this program, Lakota students acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals. They also learn to feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. 

Student in wheelchair sitting at piano reading color-coded music and playing


The focus of the early childhood and elementary music education program is to introduce each child to the joy of music and  begin to develop a variety of music-related skills. Through singing, playing, listening and reading, each student will experience the various elements of music. 

Two smiling boys standing behind a table with a pyramid of cups

STEAM / WonderLab

For students in grades 3-6, Lakota's STEAM special combines Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. STEAM emphasizes innovation, design and aesthetics and engages students in interactive, hands-on learning. STEAM also connects learning across subjects through problem-solving and exploration to prepare students for success beyond the classroom.

For students in grades K-2, WonderLab is a precursor to the STEAM special and inspires wonder and curiosity. Students in WonderLab will explore materials and media that will prepare them for their future learning in Lakota's STEAM labs. 

man in suit leading gym class full of students

Physical Education

The mission of Lakota's physical education program is to instill a love of regular physical activity in students and motivate them to take responsibility for their lifelong health. As students participate in a wide range of games and activities, they develop their motor skills and a sense of fair play. In addition to teaching about healthy fitness levels, teachers provide instruction in personal hygiene and nutrition.

male teacher sitting at table with student working on a computer


Technology in early childhood and elementary education is vital in preparing students for the digital future. We teach 21st-century skills that are necessary to be successful in today’s world. The course teaches our students how to be digital citizens while navigating online content, curriculum resources and media. 

Meet Our Specials Teachers

Linda Abbott

Teacher, Music

Linda Abbott started at Shawnee in 2018 and Wyandot in 2019, having taught choir, drama and general music in Lakota since 2003. She was an Educator of Excellence in 2011. Linda is a pianist and director for theater and church. She loves to foster the love of music with her students through singing, dancing and playing instruments. Students will explore sound, rhythm and movement and be introduced to rhythm reading, classroom instruments and creative movement.

Tracy Henderson

Teacher, Physical Education

Tracy Henderson, who has taught physical education for two decades, has been teaching at Shawnee since 2011 and Wyandot since 2019. She also taught ESL (English as a Second Language) for seven years. Tracy graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health and Sports Studies. Tracy is certified K-12 in Physical Education, Health and ESL education. Tracy also earned her Master’s degree in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Administration. Tracy conducts a physical education program that progresses from simple to complex skills, with a concentration in enhancing one’s self esteem. Through a wide variety of state standards, students are introduced to a multitude of skills and activities that they can carry with them in the future to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Tara McDonell

Teacher, WonderLab

Tara McDonell is our WonderLab educator. Tara has been serving the Shawnee community since 2015 and the Wyandot community since 2019. WonderLab lessons are designed to encourage students to develop their creative and innovative skills in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Students are introduced to building and architecture, nature, robotics and coding, sewing and textiles, wind, force and motion, light and sound, and tools. Tara has always enjoyed teaching STEAM, even when she taught in the general education classroom. Tara most enjoys getting to see the students’ excitement for learning through a different lens.

Patricia Piron

Teacher, Technology

Patricia Piron has been teaching technology at the early childhood level since Lakota added it as a special. She loves teaching young children how to use technology safely and responsibly. She enjoys seeing how excited they are to learn how to create and grow their skills using technology. 

Andrea Shanklin

Teacher, Social Emotional Learning

Andrea Shanklin has taught in Lakota since 2001. She started her career teaching music at Cherokee Elementary to K-6 students and then taught fifth grade at the same building for the next 20 years. Andrea has taught every subject, but has always had a love and passion in teaching the everyday social skills that students need to be successful adults. The SEL special has allowed her to focus on just that. Students read lots of fun books that relate to life lessons and Andrea incorporates fun activities that get the kids up and active, while emphasizing skills like self-control, being flexible, giving personal space, the size of problems and controlling one’s reactions, strategies to calm down, etc. What Andrea loves most about this job is working with the “littles,” and hearing story after story about how they used what they learned in SEL at home or in their classroom. Andrea really believes these lessons make such a positive difference in their everyday lives, and she is excited to continue teaching them.

Macie Smith

Teacher, Art

Macie Smith is the art teacher at both Shawnee and Wyandot ECS. She has been teaching at Lakota since 2019. Macie graduated from Mount Saint Joseph University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education. In classes K-2, students focus on following the Ohio State Standards in Art Education with each lesson. Students use different materials to learn new skills and strengthen fine motor skills. Macie loves getting to teach students and seeing their love of art grow.