Key features of Cross programs are emphases on problem-solving, communication, creativity, challenge, diversity of experience, collaboration, negotiation, and community approaches to discovery and accomplishment.
Cross Academy learning experiences are intended to be “peeks under the hood” and adventures in discovering “how things work.” People learn and make things in order to fulfil perceived needs. They learn and make things to provide the means of interaction with each other and with the environment that surrounds them. Arguably, every idea, every thing, exists to meet the needs of people.
People are social creatures. Ultimately, the things we use, make, do, and engage in become parts of our “reality” because there is social consensus that they are necessary, useful, and important; they become means of interaction that make our communities work. Community is therefore at the center of the human experience: communities live, believe, do, make, and act in ways that are accepted by a majority as necessary to the success and well-being of the community itself.
Why is this important? Well, simply put, everyone within a community is an integral part of the process of the negotiations that result in what the community perceives to be its reality. Of course, there are always fundamental rules involved that are, perhaps to a great extent, determined and defined by the physical environment. Those rules are the foundational sciences that communities create (discover?) that give definition to the spaces that surround them. Those “natural rules” are themselves essentially “stories that work.” They help communities create the means to survive within the physical spaces they occupy. Most importantly, those stories are created, shared, tested, agreed upon, and used by the individuals within communities. In this way, the ideas, needs, wants, and desires of each individual ultimately affects the reality within which the entire community rests.
Cross programs emphasize learning through doing. We want people to learn to appreciate the world around them by discovering how and why things work. However, from that understanding, we would like people to develop the awareness that they too can create, add to, and perhaps modify their own behaviors, those of their community, and, by extension, reality itself. Finding ways to improve reality, to whatever scope or degree, is, perhaps, fundamentally, where creativity lies.
As a result, Cross wants people to experience, do, explore, and discover as much as they possibly can. We want people to appreciate that a plane flies; and we want them to discover how that happens by understanding the principles that allow it to happen. We want people to understand how to interact with each other in positive and meaningful ways, and so we teach them to dance, to play soccer, to work together to build, launch, and enjoy the experiences that only rockets can provide. We want them to eat, but we want them to understand not only the importance of food, but also the processes involved in where that food comes from and how it comes from those places. We would like people to learn to communicate, to understand each other, to work together to accomplish goals that benefit themselves and everyone around them. We want people to appreciate their environments, and learn to improve their abilities to interact with themselves, within their communities, within the spaces they occupy together.