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Erikson Daytime Building

Erikson’s Mission Statement

Erikson’s Mission Statement

Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development, was founded in 1966 in response to the War on Poverty and the need for highly qualified early childhood professionals to staff the newly created Head Start program. Three prominent child advocates—child psychologist Maria Piers, social worker Lorraine Wallach, and educator and activist Barbara Taylor Bowman—led this effort, assisted by businessman and philanthropist Irving B. Harris, who provided critical financial and intellectual support. The founders named the Institute for lay psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, who was among the first to propose that children are not simply biological organisms but also products of society’s expectations, prejudices, allowances, and prohibitions.

Erikson’s mission statement reflects our purpose and describes who we are.

Erikson Institute is a premier independent institution of higher education committed to ensuring that all children have equitable opportunities to realize their potential.

Recognized for our groundbreaking work in the field of early childhood, we uniquely prepare child development, education, and social work leaders to improve the lives of young children and their families. Our impact and influence is further amplified through our innovative academic programs, applied research, knowledge creation and distribution, direct service, and field-wide advocacy.

Because nothing matters more than a child’s early years, Erikson Institute educates, inspires, and provides leadership to serve the needs of children and families so that all can achieve optimal educational, social, emotional, and physical well-being.

Approved by the Board of Trustees, November 19, 2015

Erikson accomplishes its mission through three parallel activities:

  1. educating professionals to work effectively with children and families in diverse and complex settings;
  2. conducting applied research to inform policy and practice affecting children and families; and
  3. engaging with the community and field to strengthen supports and services for children and families based on developmentally informed early childhood science.