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Inside Erikson | April 2024

a monthly comm(unity) newsletter

Pictured from left to right: Vice President of Academic Affairs (Erikson Institute), Dr. Pamela Epley; Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Chief External Affairs Officer (Erikson Institute), Maura Daly.

April 2024  — Welcome to the April edition of the Inside Erikson newsletter!

April is a special month for the field of early childhood as we celebrate International Children’s Book Day (April 2), Autism Acceptance Month and NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child (April 6-12). As a thought leader in the field, Erikson was honored to host Illinois Senator Dick Durbin at our Center for Children and Families in Chicago’s Little Village community for a press conference focused on advocating for the needs of young children. Responding to a recently released study showing that two-thirds of young children in Chicago have been exposed to lead through their home drinking water, Senator Durbin’s press conference called on Medicaid managed care organizations to provide lead prevention supplies and services to Chicago households with Medicaid enrolled children. Read the press release here. Maura Daly, Chief External Affairs Officer for Erikson greeted Sen. Durbin and Dr. Pamela Epley, Erikson’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, spoke about her work on early childhood lead exposure and the value in preventing it before it impacts young children’s development and moving quickly to provide services when needed.

Erikson Updates

The Mary Hynes-Berry Math Picture Book Collection

Erikson’s Edward Neisser Library recently benefited from the generosity of emeritus faculty member, Mary Hynes-Berry

Erikson’s Edward Neisser Library recently benefited from the generosity of emeritus faculty member, Mary Hynes-Berry. Following her retirement in 2022 after decades of teaching at Erikson, Mary reviewed her vast collection of math picture books and donated hundreds to the institute.

The Mary Hynes-Berry Math Picture Book Collection can be viewed on a designated bookshelf island in the library. A portion of the books are displayed at a time; however, the whole collection is available for everyone to check out and use. “Every book in this collection has been used with young children, their teachers and caregivers to joyfully explore and discover that the Big Ideas of Math are all around us,” Mary says. “I am so pleased that this collection means that many others can make their own discoveries.”

Reggio & Dual/ Multilingual Education at Velma Thomas

Erikson faculty members Lilly Padia, Luisiana Melendez and Sandra Osorio

Erikson faculty members Lilly Padia, Luisiana Melendez and Sandra Osorio recently presented “A Qualitative Examination of a Public Preschool in the Midwest”, an update on their research (including focus groups and interviews with families, teachers, and administrators) at a dual language “Reggio Emilia inspired” early learning center over the past year. The presentation was attended by teachers, local families and Chicago Public Schools administrators. After the presentation, Lilly, Luisiana and Sandra also facilitated conversations with the teachers and staff around their findings and what it means for their practice with children and families moving forward.

Gold Star Alumni Series

Erikson Institute Gold Star Alum: Karina Slaughter | M.S. Child Development, 2010 | Chief Early Learning Officer, Chicago Commons

The Gold Star Alumni Series aims to celebrate the exceptional individuals who have not only excelled in their respective fields but have also made a significant impact on their communities. Learn more about our April feature, Karina Slaughter (MSCD ‘10 and 2018-2019 Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellowship alumna).

JEDI Speaker: Dr. Elaine Richardson

JEDI Speaker Series | Guest Speaker: Dr. Elaine Richardson | Thursday, April 18, 2024 | 4 - 5pm: Book Signing & Refreshments in the Erikson Commons | 5 to 6 pm: Lecture in Room 201/202 | Please use QR Code to Register | In this intimate talk, Dr. Richardson lifts up Black stories and Black language from her mouth, and the mouths of mothers, women, and girls. Drawing upon her community-based work, she demonstrates the value of an intersectional empowered literacy education as a necessary and important endeavor re-invigorated in this historical moment of bans on learning.

The Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Speaker Series presents one of the most notable scholars of our time, Dr. Elaine Richardson. Dr. Richardson will be at Erikson on April 18, 2024 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. where she will hold an exclusive book signing of her book “PHD to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life.” Dr. Richardson’s presentation will start at 5 p.m. in Room 201/202. If you plan to attend, please RSVP here by April 16.

Careers at Erikson

We’re hiring for a variety of roles that support our mission. Please check out new opportunities here and share widely with your networks.

Erikson in the News

Research Professor, Samantha Melvin, was recently featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, “Affordable, accessible child care remains out of reach for some Pittsburgh families.” Read the article

Former Associate Vice President of Policy, Cristina Pacione-Zayas, was recently promoted to Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. Read more about Cristina and her new role

About Erikson

Graduate Education

Recognized for our groundbreaking work in the field of early childhood, Erikson specializes in preparing child development, education, and social work leaders to improve the lives of young children, families, and their communities. For more information on our degree and certificate programs, visit our website or email our admissions team.

Clinical and Community Services

Erikson’s Center for Children and Families offers pediatric mental health services for children birth to age 8 and their families. Services can be provided in both English and Spanish, and are available to families regardless of their ability to pay.

Policy and Leadership

Erikson’s Policy and Leadership department engages leaders in government, business, and nonprofit sectors to inform effective policies that benefit children and families. They offer unique programming that equips decision-makers and influencers with the resources, skills, and deep knowledge about early childhood development that will support their efforts to make lasting change. Learn more about our Policy and Leadership

Give to Erikson

The first 1,800 days of life set the stage for a child’s long-term physical and emotional health, socioeconomic trajectory, life expectancy, happiness, and well-being. Can we count on you to make a gift to strengthen our ability to serve children and families, as well as our students, faculty, and staff, during this time? Your support for Erikson prepares the heroes in young children’s lives—teachers, social workers, civic leaders, parents and caregivers—to get them safely through this crisis so they can soar into promising futures. Please donate here

From left to right: Vice President of Academic Affairs (Erikson Institute), Dr. Pamela Epley; Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Chief External Affairs Officer (Erikson Institute), Maura Daly.

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