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Inside Erikson | February 2023

a monthly comm(unity) newsletter

February 2023 – Welcome to the February edition of the Inside Erikson newsletter!

It’s Black History Month! This month brings about many celebrations such as civil rights leader and activist, Rosa Parks’ 110th birthday (2/4), as well as the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (2/21) which helped to provide job security for many Americans. Erikson also celebrates our admissions team as they work to usher in a new class of Erikson students, faculty members as they continue to publish new books expanding research in the field, and our policy and leadership team as they kick off another round of their Decolonizing Data and Language workshop.

However, as we start a new month filled with celebration, love and pride, we acknowledge the tragic and traumatic violence our nation faced last month with mass shootings in California and the death of Tyre Nichols. These occurrences remind us that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to secure an equitable and just future for all. We encourage everyone to take time this month to reflect on our histories which have brought us to this point, as well as what kind of things we can do to impact the present and change the future.

Month at a Glance

  • Black History Month
  • Ethnic Equality Month
  • Decolonizing Data and Language Workshop – February 10
  • Valentine’s Day – February 14
  • “Pedagogy of Play” Professional Development Workshop – February 16
  • Presidents Day – February 20

Erikson Updates

New book co-authored by Erikson faculty member

Black and Brown Education in America: Integration in Schools, Neighborhoods, and Communities

Director of Erikson’s Child Development program, Samina Hadi-Tabassum recently coauthored a book with Persis Driver titled “Black and Brown Education in America: Integration in Schools, Neighborhoods and Communities”. This book is a decade long ethnographic study of Maywood, Illinois, and the impact of its recent demographic shift from a historically Black middle-class suburb outside of Chicago with roots in the Black Panther Party to, now, a community with a growing Latinx population. It explores the intersection of race, culture, and language—and the ensuing Black-Brown identity politics—as well as the role of community organizations such as interracial faith-based churches and embattled school boards. Against a backdrop of racial tensions and heightened violence, the book also addresses transformative, liminal spaces where coalition building, and collaboration bring the Black and Latinx communities together around common causes and unified goals. The book will be released on February 9. Purchase here

Admissions Team Update

We continue to beat the drum about Brand Ambassadorship, beginning with Admissions. Admissions is often the first department students contact on their Erikson journey. Responsible for building relationships with prospective students, leading outreach and information sessions, and guiding students through the application process, the Admissions team works to ensure that Erikson students have the tools and knowledge they need to pursue the right program for their passions and careers.

Here are some highlights from the team:

  • We’ve enrolled 10 new students for Spring
  • November – December we held an email campaign that promoted our three info sessions for Community-based organizations, employers and influencers to get referrals from across a curated list of contacts in industry and across IA, policy, marcom and community partners.
  • We are actively recruiting students for the MSECE triple licensure program and will be hosting information sessions in March.
  • We will be hosting info sessions in February and April for all summer term programs.

Remember, everyone can be a brand ambassador! Encourage anyone in your circle—family, friends, colleagues in other organizations—to learn more about Erikson’s academic programs and services by visiting

If you have questions, please contact Amy Mikel, Executive Director of Marketing & Admissions.

Racial Justice in Early Math Fellowship for Teachers

The RJEM Teaching Fellowship is a one-year professional development, mentoring and research opportunity intended to support kindergarten teachers from across the United States. Through individual mentoring sessions and group seminars, Fellows will develop a robust understanding of racial justice in early math, implement racial justice-centered teaching practices in their classrooms, participate in a network of mentorship and peer support, and contribute to a growing understanding of how early math teaching can further the cause of racial justice. Each Fellow will be awarded a stipend of $7,000 for their participation. Applications are now open and will close February 26.

Maija May, Erikson’s First Librarian

The Erikson community mourns Maija May, Erikson’s first librarian and later archivist, who we recently learned passed away in 2021. Maija worked at Erikson from 1975 – 2008. Erikson co-founder Barbara Taylor Bowman says, “May was direct, funny, an avid defender of those who lacked status and was acerbic about pomposity. She was a person for all seasons: incredibly well educated (formal and informal), she could find the answer to any question. She spoke a number of languages and was an incisive critic of European and Hyde Park cultures. Nevertheless, there was nothing that needed doing that she was reluctant to do from dusting shelves, distributing mail to emptying waste baskets. She was well-loved by staff and faculty who knew her well.” Learn more about her life and legacy

Register today for the upcoming Decolonizing Data and Language workshop

Part 1: Decolonizing Data & Language: Advance Racial Equity & Systemic Solutions (Virtual Workshop)
February 10, 2023 
10 am - 12 pm
Erikson Institute

Erikson’s Policy and Leadership team is kicking off another series of Decolonizing Data and Language workshops! Join our professional development workshop on February 10 or March 3 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and learn how data and language can illuminate systemic change. In this introduction to Decolonizing Data and Language, participants will explore the dangers of labels and “othering”, deficit language terms and more.

This two-hour virtual workshop, led by Penny Smith, Director of Learning and Impact, and Atena Danner, Associate Director of Learning and Facilitation, is for you if:

  • You want to stop the psychological process of demonizing communities of people for systemic failures
  • You want to advocate for changes to policies, systems, and funding at the local, county, and state level
  • You want to identify gaps and barriers in services and processes
  • You want to better align resources and tailor support to address root causes

Learn more and register

The Pedagogy of Play: Professional Development Opportunity

On February 16, 4:30-6 p.m., Erikson Institute will host Dr. Ben Mardell, principal investigator and project director of the Pedagogy of Play, and Dr. Mara Krechevsky, senior researcher at Project Zero, for an in-person presentation to examine the relationship between play and learning for young children. Register here for this free, in-person professional development opportunity that will be held at Erikson Institute.

Faculty Spotlight

Erikson Institute’s reputation in the early childhood field has been strengthened by the contributions of our world-renowned faculty. Learn more about this dynamic group and what makes them stand out.

Meet Doctoral Program Director, Amanda Moreno.

Amanda Moreno

Name: Amanda Moreno

Faculty Member since: 2013 – coming up on my 10- year anniversary this summer!

Of all the colleges and universities worldwide, why did you decide to teach at Erikson?
It was an easy decision for me because Erikson was known to me as an undergrad as the rock star place for child development. I always knew that if I ever became faculty, it would have to be a very special place.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career at Erikson?
Now you’re going to ask an impossible question like this! There is no single moment, but Erikson has always been supportive of me and my work, and I have had numerous rewarding experiences with students. My absolute favorite thing is when a student tells me that I helped them to understand something really difficult, that they didn’t have confidence about before, but they do now. That’s pretty much why I’m here!

What is your hidden (or secret) talent?
Well, it’s not really so secret because I say it every time I am asked this sort of ice-breaker question, but I am a singer, and have been an a cappella head since high school. I directed the a cappella gospel choir in high school, did the all-women’s a cappella group in college, and have been in a local group in Chicago ever since I moved here 10 years ago. Also, I used to make wedding cakes, and now I make soap bars from scratch.

Erikson in the News

Associate Director of Erikson’s Center for Children and Families, Sara Phou, was recently featured as an expert in the Chicago Parent Magazine article titled “Processing Your Child’s Depression Diagnosis.” Read the article

Research from a study our Technology in Early Childhood Center (TEC Center) completed in 2016, was referenced in an international publication, Belfast Telegraph. Read the full article

Austin Fit Magazine included research from Erikson’s Technology in Early Childhood Center (TEC Center) in their latest article titled “How to Teach Kids to Have a Healthy Relationship with Technology”.

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

More Ways to Connect

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

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