Photo by Jim Young

The Early Childhood Leadership Academy (ECLA) is a signature initiative of Erikson Institute that provides knowledgeable leaders with dynamic, collective learning experiences to enhance their capacity to influence early childhood policy. Erikson Institute is the nation’s premier graduate school in child development, committed to ensuring that all children have equitable opportunities to reach their potential for the past 50 years.

McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows

The objective of the executive-level track is to provide highly influential leaders from multiple sectors with a credible, up-to-date, and research-based understanding of child development. Equipped with this information, leaders can make the most informed decisions about policy setting and resource allocation in their respective fields. The program offers:

  • Expert presentations on leading-edge research
  • Visits to key early childhood settings
  • Networking opportunities with cross-sector leaders
  • On-demand online content

Why nominate an Illinois leader?

Erikson wants to help further the interests of leaders like you or thmfef-one-pager-quoteose in your organization, as well as the public. Influential leaders join a collective of change-agents working together across systems and throughout Illinois to advance programs and policies that will positively contribute to the well-being of young children and families and the prosperity of our State.

What’s in it for Illinois Leaders?

Elected OfficialsPhoto by Jim Young
Understanding the research on education and child development will allow you to support policies and fund programs that promote equity and quality for all children and families in the communities you represent.

Heads of State Agencies
Acquiring critical knowledge in child development will help to ensure the effective use of limited public resources for the early childhood and family programs you manage.

Law EnforcementPhoto by Jim Young
Understanding the connection between brain development and behavior will empower you to more effectively de-escalate conflict and help ensure children are on a productive path, leading to increased public safety for children and families.

Superintendents and School Board Members
Knowledge about early brain development and how children learn before they enter kindergarten will help to support your goals to enhance student outcomes, better support educators, and achieve academic excellence with limited funds.

JudgesPhoto by Jim Young
Exposure to the current research on childhood trauma and brain development will provide you with a distinct perspective on recidivism and the complex conditions that define the lives of those you serve in the juvenile and family court systems.

Community Leaders
Child wellness is a measure of community health. Learning more about the importance of a strong foundation starting at birth contributes to healthier children, families, and communities.


Nominate leaders here for the McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows Program.