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How did Crossroads for Learning Begin?
Crossroads began very gradually and was intermittent and complicated in its progression.
2005: A small group of people (Sherry Kaufaman, Chicago Commons staff and Karen Haigh) first got together to discuss the idea of an organization in at the first NAREA summer Conference in Minnesota. Our name was to be CARIE (Chicago Area Reggio Inspired Educators). We developed a mission statement, some goals and began to save small amount of funds for the future endeavors.
2008: After a group of Chicago Area educators went on the Five State Study Tour in 2008, part of the group got together to see if we could possibly re-form and revive this CARIE organization or network to support those in the Chicago area interested in pursuing Reggio ideals and practices within their own context.
2009: The next phase was meeting with a task force to get new ideas for reviving the network. Some task force members were Blakely Bunde, Cathy Lawton, Mary Mubrue (did not meet w/ the group but offered to help) Jesus Oviedo/Janice Woods, Bev Gulley, Amy O’Conner, Kathy Hardy, and Karen Haigh). The name was changed to The Chicago Reggio Collaborative: A Network of Chicago area Reggio Inspired Educators.
The mission and goals were reviewed and revised. The Wonder of Learning Exhibit was coming to Chicago and most of their energies began to be spent on that.
2010: The Wonder of Learning Exhibit came to Chicago and there were many, many people and organizations supporting the exhibit’s coming to Chicago but the main entities were Chicago Commons, Columbia College Chicago and the City of Chicago’s Family Support Services. It was decided that we would create a temporary support organization called Crossroads with the intent of “intersecting and exchanging ideas related to Reggio”.
2011: Colleen Odegaard, Elmhurst Academy from Elmhurst Academy had expressed an interest in developing some kind of network.
2012: Three of us (Juana Reyes, Jesus Oviedo and Karen Haigh) went to The Reconvening of the Five State Study Tour (2008) at the Ghost Ranch. While many shared ideas and what was going on in each state, the three of us also met to strategize how to rebuild and revisit our past attempts at building an organization.
Goals Developed for the Chicago area as a result of the 3 of us working at the Ghost Ranch
* Work on a book about children’s ideas and experiences with the City of Chicago
* Create some kind of organization or entity to support educators who want to adopt and adapt Reggio ideas and practices
Create ways for educators to connect with each other.
Create ways to continue to work with other various schools & organizations in the area. The last April Study Tour had such a great mixture of educators who all wanted to connect with each other.
* Continue to plan ways for educators to see other exemplary programs and/or attend conferences or seminars
* Finding funds to support professional learning opportunities inlcuding funding for staff to attend meetings, conferences and worshops and funding to purchase materials and supplies for classrooms and documentation.
A group of us who constistute the majority of the board of directors and advisory board members met monthly from the late fall of 2012 until now to create this newly established not-for-profit organization with its mission, values, goals, areas of focus, a budget and bylaws!!!
Velma Thomas Early Childhood Center