Pawnee Learning Center, caring for Pawnee children since 2014!

Shari Beahringer is the Executive Director the of Pawnee Learning Center.  The Pawnee Learning Center is located right along Highway 104 on the edge of town next to Krekels.  The building is also just down the street from the Pawnee school as well. 

The Pawnee Learning Center location is in the former PFR, building, better known as the Pawnee Family Restaurant. Prior to that, at one time, Pizza Hut was in this building as well.  A lot of family memories have occurred here over the years! 

The Beginning

​“When they (PFR) closed, Reese Langheim bought the building,” Shari explained. This was in 2013, and soon the building became a daycare. When the current director left, Reese Langheim and his wife Sara became licensed so that the families with children at the daycare wouldn’t be without a licensed daycare provider.  Since then, the Pawnee Learning Center has been a mainstay providing licensed care to the Pawnee community for just shy of a decade.

The Staff

Shari, who has been the Director since May of 2018, said that the staff at Pawnee Learning Center have a lot of experience and love children making coming to work feel more like fun than a job.  Shari added, “I have been in childcare since 2005.”

While she didn’t grow up in Pawnee, she said “I have lived in Pawnee for the last 18 years, and my daughter graduated from Pawnee.”

Staff member Katie Pyle has been with the staff for the past seven years. Charlotte Gilbert has been with Pawnee Learning Center since 2018, and Shari added, “She has over 30 years of experience as well.”

Allison Walton joined the staff in June of 2021, Renee Rhodes also just stared in August of 2022, and Olivia Dennison, the part time Assistant Director joined in March of 2020.  “She just completed her bachelor’s degree and also works at the Pawnee School district,” Shari added.
Currently they are looking for a cook and part time assistant!


​The Pawnee Learning Center is licensed for 39 children, and they have received the coveted silver status accreditation awarded by ExceleRate Illinois.


At the Pawnee Learning Center, the take children ages 6 weeks – 12 years old.  “We are licensed for six infants and toddlers, 13, two- to four-year-old’s and 20 school age children, ages five-to-twelve-year’s old.”

“I always think we are a hometown childcare, with a hometown feel,” Shari said.  “We are very personal with parents and close knit with staff.”

One of the most important aspects is what the children learn, and how they learn.  “We believe in learning through play,” Shari explained “We work on social and emotional skills by playing together.”

She stressed the importance of social and emotional skills and said that they try to teach playing with adults and interacting, manners, and those skills that make a difference throughout life.

At the daycare they have interactive play inside and a wonderful playground outdoors as well.  In the last year or so they added recycled plastic as a cushion for those children playing to help keep them safe on in the play area.  The children are often seen on walks and the toddlers get a chance to enjoy nice weather days!

Inside the rooms are brightly decorated and there are pets to bring caring and interactive learning through feeding and watching the animals.

It is no surprise with being a silver status daycare that the Pawnee Learning Center has a waiting list for every age group.  “to “It breaks my heart that we are full and not able to help additional families at this time,” Shari said.

They do hope to expand there are plans, but Shari did not go into details currently. “We are fulfilling a need,” Shari added about the role that the daycare plays in the Village of Pawnee community.

The Pawnee Learning Center works in tandem with the Pawnee School.  “We have four buses that pick up and drop off here at the daycare,” Shari added.

The Pawnee Learning Center is open from 6:30 until 5:30 Monday – Friday. They have a facebook page at (3) Pawnee Learning Center | Facebook. Call 217-646-8217 for more information.