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Inside Erikson | February 2022 Newsletter

February 2022 — Welcome to the February edition of the Inside Erikson newsletter!

It’s February already, and we’re halfway through the winter! We recently welcomed students back to begin the Spring 2022 semester. The students were happy to greet one another, safely, and eager to start or continue their work focused on children and early education.

As we enter Black History Month, let’s celebrate the Black voices that have broken the glass ceiling, as well as those who have influenced and inspired us at home or in our communities. We are surrounded by role models–from teachers to students, staff, and of course, our own Barbara Taylor Bowman.

At Erikson, we continue our commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution and look to leadership to steer us towards a more equitable and socially just institution.

Updates from the President

You will often hear me speak of having a “North Star” — a vision for making the early childhood field more equitable through restorative justice—and I mention that in my latest Mission Moment where I discuss Erikson’s plans for the year ahead.

We were once again reminded of the great inequities across Chicago’s communities as we learned of the murder of 8-year-old Melissa Ortega, a resident of Little Village and a student at Zapata Academy. Erikson released a statement emphasizing that now more than ever, it’s important to highlight the critical work we are doing at our CCF clinics and especially our clinic in Little Village located just steps from where Melissa was shot and killed. We are working with local leaders to help heal a community that is hurting.

Let us not become desensitized when we learn of another child killed due to gun violence. We must continue to ask ourselves how we can individually and collectively support young children, their families, teachers, and communities.

There is work to be done, and I look forward to having Erikson represented in new places and in new ways to work together towards restorative justice for young children and their families

Erikson Updates

Erikson Institute Entry

Refer a Student

Along with our hardworking Enrollment team, we can all be ambassadors for Erikson!

Students, alumni, faculty and staff can win prizes for referring family, friends or colleagues who complete an application. Learn more about our “Refer a Student” program here.

Tell anyone you know who may be considering graduate education in early childhood to check out our upcoming information events here.

Decolonizing Data and Language

The Policy and Leadership team held a 90-minute interactive workshop that explains how deficit language dehumanizes and deflects from the structural racism and flaws built into our systems and offers ways to effectively use data to illuminate systemic barriers and reveal root causes. The workshop was hosted by Penny Smith, Director of Erikson’s Early Childhood Leadership Academy and Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Erikson’s Senior Policy Advisor. If you missed this workshop keep an eye out for information on the next session in May!

Upcoming Erikson Events

Podcast Launch!

Erikson’s podcast “1,800 Days: the story of early childhood in the U.S.” will be launching this month! Come with us and explore the field of early childhood the early-years, present, and what the future looks like.

Visit to listen to the trailer and stay tuned for the first episode this month!

Trustee Spotlight

This month we are kicking off, “Meet and greet a Trustee” where every month we feature a Board of Trustee and Lifelong Trustee! Erikson Institute has a wonderful group of life trustees and board members, and we are thrilled to share with our community more about them and their commitment to the organization. We hope that you enjoy reading about these lovely individuals, as much as we have enjoyed interviewing them.

First on our list and our February feature, Life Trustee, Virginia Bobins.
Life trustee Virginia Bobins, left, with Maura Daly, Erikson's Chief External Affairs Officer
Name: Virginia Bobins

Erikson Trustee Since: 05/1996

What motivates you to support Erikson?

VB: I’ve seen what Erikson has done for decades to improve the lives of children and families.  I believe we were the first in the Midwest to truly be doing this.  I’m also motivated by what Erikson did for me personally.  I was so fortunate to have Fran Stott as my mentor, and the development and support I received while getting my degree taught me to be more independent and assertive as a woman.  It made me a different person—more of a “today’s woman.”

What is your one hope or dream for Erikson?

VB: My dream is for Erikson to be able to make a difference for all children, most especially children of color.  I’ve seen this as core to Erikson’s role, and it’s even more important in light of the pandemic.  That’s one of the reasons that I’m thrilled to be supporting Erikson’s teacher of color cohort that will convene in 2023.

Fun Fact:

I adore my girlfriends.  I have been through some really challenging times, and I would not have survived without them.  I also love to travel, and France is my favorite place to visit.  No matter where I go, I’m always excited to land back in Chicago.  We’re so lucky to live here—in the United States and this beautiful city.

Erikson in the News

President Mariana Souto-Manning, spoke with Latino Voices on WTTW-11 about concerns over children’s mental health throughout the pandemic and the challenges children and parents are facing. Watch here if you missed the segment.

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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

As we adapt to these unexpected and challenging times due to COVID-19, Erikson’s Center for Children and Families is offering virtual mental health services to parents, caregivers, and children, as well as crisis counseling and consultation to support first responders and early childcare providers and teachers. Services can be provided in both English and Spanish, and are available to families regardless of their ability to pay.

We have also re-opened our River North clinic for services that require in-person assessments, including Early Intervention Medical and Neurodevelopmental Diagnostic Evaluations.

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 1,100 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.

More ways to connect

Learn more about Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative and TEC Center.

Join the Erikson family with monthly news + events updates shared by academics, community members, and families.

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