KC Zoo Partners Help SMEC-EC Students Celebrate New Penguin Mascot

KC Zoo Partners Help SMEC-EC Students Celebrate New Penguin Mascot
Shawnee Mission School District

Shawnee Mission Early Childhood Education Center (SMEC-EC) students and staff are learning all about their newly announced school mascot: the penguin.

Helpers from the Kansas City Zoo recently stopped by to provide an in-school field trip and help everyone gain understanding about the bird. 

During the visit, the representatives from the zoo read a book about penguins, talked about penguin habitats and behaviors, and worked on a penguin-themed lesson related to density, discussing the concepts of sinking and floating.

Before the visit was over, each student had a chance to give a high-five to a visiting penguin mascot from the Kansas City Zoo.

Earlier this year, staff members expressed a desire to have an official mascot for the school. The suggestion with the most entries was the penguin. Teachers learned the mascot had been selected in a surprise announcement. As they learned the news,  Kansas City Zoo zookeepers held up a sign on the penguin cam stating “Welcome to the Family,” as staff members watched the digital stream.  

Soon after the lesson, students in Jane Gorman’s class embraced the new mascot by practicing fine motor skills and creating penguin art.

“Building and strengthening school climate is important,” Leigh Anne Neal, assistant superintendent for early childhood education and SMEC-EC principal said. “Adoption of a school mascot is a part of that process of building collective spirit and bringing everyone together to feel pride in their school.”