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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

Carrie Murray

Titles: Teacher, STEAM

Mrs. Carrie L. Murray has served the Union community since 2018 and the Lakota community since 1998.  She was part of the team that started the STEAM lab at Hopewell Elementary 

Carrie was a science teacher for most of her career and began incorporating design challenges and real-world applications into lessons during her last 10 years in that role.

In STEAM, students use the engineering design process and curricular concepts to solve design challenges through a variety of lessons. They experience coding, robotics, CAD programming, and 3D printing. Students also build and deconstruct everyday items to investigate how things work.

Alan Nordyke

Titles: Teacher, Music

Alan Nordyke has taught at Union Elementary since 2019.  Mr. Nordyke started his career at Lakota in 1990 after graduating from The Ohio State University with a major in music education for grades K-12. Prior to teaching elementary music, Mr. Nordyke served as band director at Liberty Junior School for 22 years and jazz band director at Lakota West, East, and East Freshman for 5 years.

During music class, students will enjoy singing, playing instruments (mallets, drums, woods, metals, shakers), rhythm practice, note name practice, activities using fun props (kick balls, class parachute, plastic plates, flashlights), and games (Poison Rhythm, Poison Melody, Beat Detective, Four Corners, Concentration, Trivia Wheel, Jeopardy).

Mr. Nordyke loves helping the students develop musical skills that will serve as a strong foundation for future musical learning at the junior high and high school level. In addition, he enjoys seeing students discover new music that they want to share at home through “Family Musical Moments” as well as the excitement from the students when a particular lesson becomes their favorite activity and they ask, “Can we do that again?”

Daniel Wallace

Titles: Teacher, Physical Education

Dan Wallace has been the Physical Education teacher at Union since 2019. Mr. Wallace has been a P.E. teacher since graduating from The Ohio State University in 2005. Besides teaching, Mr. Wallace is the head girls basketball coach at Lakota East High School. 

In P.E. class during grades 3-6, the focus is on skill development in a variety of sports, activities and games. There is a focus on the five components of fitness and how to incorporate fitness into our daily lives. Healthy living and healthy habits, along with the introduction to enjoyable physical activities, is the goal of our P.E. classroom.  

Mr. Wallace’s P.E. lessons are also designed around a passion for leadership development, teamwork, sportsmanship and character development. Learning to be socially responsible and a positive member of a team or group is a secondary focus each day.