Our History

In 1969, a public school teacher brought her vision of a program that embraced children of all abilities and backgrounds to a reality.

Today, Learning Together is recognized as a leader in inclusion education by Wake County Public Schools and other programs. Our program focuses on expanding equitable access and resources to underserved communities across North Carolina. Our program continues to inspire lifelong learning for people of all abilities and backgrounds and empowers our partners and families to recognize and work against racism, ableism, and the injustices experienced in education, employment, and everyday life. 

It's important to understand where we’ve been to unlock our vision of an equitable and inclusive future:

2016-Present

2023

October 2023

NC House Bill 259 passed to increase reimbursement rates for Developmental Day Centers across the state. The landmark change was driven by the NC Association of Developmental Day Center Directors (NCADD), with Learning Together’s Jan Baker as the NCADD President.

2023

2023

August 2023

Learning Together invested over $150,000 in renovations and adaptive learning materials to build the “Classroom of the Future” with the support of community partners and stakeholders.

2023

2023

June 2023

Learning Together’s Family Advocacy program was created to help families meet their basic needs. New partnerships were established to empower families with the skills and resources needed to advocate for their children and themselves. The program was created to engage and learn from the adults in a child’s life and support practitioners in building knowledge and skills to engage families as partners.

2023

2022

August 2022

Learning Together relocated its main campus to Edenton Street United Methodist Church (ESUMC), opening six new classrooms and allowing families to maintain uninterrupted services for the 2022-2023 school year.

2022

2022

June 2022

A gas leak occurred in the Crosby-Garfield building on Lenoir Street, resulting in an explosion and fire that rendered Learning Together’s main campus unsafe for occupancy.

2022

2022

May 2022

Learning Together announced an expansion of services with the intent to open three new classrooms at ESUMC in addition to services provided on Lenoir Street.

2022

2022

April 2022

Learning Together was awarded a three-year grant from the John Rex Endowment to progress our Racial Equity Capacity and partners with Working to Extend Anti-Racism Education (WeAre) in Durham.

2022

2021

2021

Learning Together hired Kyle Reese as the organization’s third Executive Director.

2021

2019

2019

Learning Together systematically began addressing staff pay inequities, resulting in a 30% salary increase for teachers over the next five years, along with expanded benefits and professional development.

2019

2019

2019

GSK IMPACT Award received in recognition of Learning Together’s exceptional achievements, overall excellence, and best practices in contributing to a healthier Triangle Region. This award honors ten local nonprofit organizations annually through a highly competitive application process.

2019

2016

2016

Kathy Peterson was hired as Learning Together’s second Executive Director.

2016

Middle Years

2015

2015

Nell Barnes retired.

2015

2012

2012

Inaugural Rock Paper Scissor Showdown fundraiser held.

2012

2011

2011

Cleo Barnes, Teacher Assistant, received the Direct Care Professional of the Year award from the Arc of Wake County.

2011

2010

2010

Partnership established with Telamon Head Start to operate blended inclusive classrooms in Raleigh, Cary, and Knightdale.

2010

2006

2006

Rosa Velez, a Koala classroom Teacher, received an Outstanding Child Care Teacher Award at the Tylenol & Terry Lynn Lokoff Child Care Foundation National Awards Ceremony. This award recognizes and celebrates the achievements of outstanding early care and education teachers, bringing attention to the critical role these teachers play in the lives of young children.

Executive Director Nell Barnes received the Dorothy B. Graham Child Care Leadership Award. The Dorothy B. Graham Early Childhood Leadership Award was created in 1998 to recognize and honor individuals who have made a difference in the lives of young children in Wake, Durham, or Orange counties.

2006

2005

2005

Learning Together celebrated its 30th anniversary, launching Tees for Tots, an annual golf tournament fundraiser held at The Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club.

2005

2002

2002

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) granted accreditation to Learning Together. This is a voluntary accreditation system that sets professional standards for early childhood education programs and helps families identify high-quality programs.

2002

2001

2001

Learning Together was among the first in North Carolina to be awarded the Five Star Child Care License and continues to maintain the high standards it requires. We are also certified as a Developmental Day Center by the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education – standards for that exceed those required by the Five Star Child Care License.

2001

2000

2000

Learning Together launched a Child Mental Health Initiative to provide comprehensive services to young children demonstrating serious social, emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health concerns.

2000

1997

1997

Learning Together selected as one of the first sites for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s Be Active Kids Program and served as the site for the national announcement.

1997

1993

1993

Learning Together honored as the site for NC Governor James B. Hunt’s announcement of the state Smart Start initiative.

1993

Early Years

1990

1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in Congress and signed into law by President George Bush, protecting the rights of people with disabilities, including an appropriate and equitable education.

1990

1988

1988

Learning Together relocated to the Crosby-Garfield Building at 568 E. Lenoir Street in southeast Raleigh.

1988

1985

1985

Nell Barnes becomes the first paid Executive Director of Learning Together.

1985

1982

1982

NC Division of Child Development and Early Education officially named Learning Together the State Demonstration Model for Mainstreaming.

1982

1981

1981

Learning Together moved into the Broughton Building on the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus.

1981

1975

1975

The Junior League of Raleigh and a State incentive grant provided start-up funds for Learning Together, Inc. to become incorporated as a private, federally-recognized nonprofit organization. The newly incorporated Learning Together moved to Forest Hills Baptist Church due to the growing requests for services.

1975

1969

1969

Julia Williams brought her vision for a program that embraced children of all abilities to reality in Raleigh at Fairmont United Methodist Church as a half-day preschool program that included children with developmental delays. Julia creatively integrated her experiences as a public school teacher in the rural South and as a Methodist missionary and Director of a School in South America for ten years to develop what would become Learning Together. From its beginnings, Learning Together pioneered the “mainstreaming” of children, which later became law under the ADA. Julia took the concept a step further, focusing on full inclusion guided by an educational philosophy of “Interdependency” and positive self-esteem of children as the foundation for all learning.

1969

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