Skip to Main Content

Inside Erikson | May 2023

May 2023 - Welcome to the May edition of the Inside Erikson newsletter!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…Commencement time! We are always so excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our students during this season, and this year is no different. Erikson Insitute’s 2023 Commencement will be held on May 9 at the Harris Theater of Music and Dance in Chicago’s Millenium Park. This year’s program will be like none other as we will be presenting honorary degrees to Erikson’s co-founder Barbara Taylor Bowman, and her daughter, Valerie Jarrett, for their contributions to the field of early childhood. Learn more about this year’s ceremony and join the live streamed event (or watch the recording after) by visiting Congratulations to the class of 2023!

Month at a Glance

Mental Health Awareness Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Jewish American Heritage Month

National Children’s Book Week — May 1-7

National Teacher’s Day — May 2

Cinco De Mayo — May 5

Teacher Appreciation Week — May 8 – 12

Erikson Institute’s 2023 Commencement — May 9

Mother’s Day — May 14

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia — May 17

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development — May 21

Memorial Day — May 29

Erikson Updates

Illinois Senate Early Childhood Committee hearing on affordable childcare in Springfield on April 18 and 19

The Policy and Leadership team The Policy and Leadership team

Erikson supports Early Childhood Advocacy Day in Springfield, IL

The Policy and Leadership team was in Springfield on April 18 and 19 for Early Childhood Advocacy Day and to attend the Illinois Senate Early Childhood Committee hearing on affordable childcare, access and accountability. As part of their work, the department is engaged in the We, the Village and Raising Illinois coalitions that organized Advocacy Day.

Left to Right: Sheila Haennicke, Andria Goss, Dr. Mariana Souto Manning, Erika Flores, Senator Dick Durbin, Maura Daly

Senator Durbin visits Center for Children and Families in Little Village

On April 6, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin toured Erikson’s Center for Children and Families/Centro de Niños y Famílias in the Little Village community and discussed early childhood mental health issues and programming with Erikson President Mariana Souto-Manning, Chief External Affairs Officer Maura Daly, Associate Vice President for Clinical and Community Services Andria Goss, and Site Director Erika Flores. Erikson was honored to host such a passionate advocate for children, families, and communities. Read more about his visit in our blog

Erikson signs Mayoral Transition Memo

Erikson Institute, along with several other early childhood education organizations, recently signed off on a Mayoral Transition memo from the Lightfoot administration to mayor-elect Brandon Johnson. The purpose of this Mayoral Transition Memo is to provide the Johnson administration with more immediate, actionable steps that can be taken to address our recommended priorities for early childhood education. Read the memo

Upcoming Erikson Events

Erikson Summer Learning Professional Development Workshops: The Power of Relationships in Child Development (in person) - June 27 - 29; El poder de las relaciones en Desarollo infantil (en persona) - 27-29 de junio ; MEME: Meaning-Making in Early Mathematics Education (in person) - July 11-14; Nurturing Math Thinking with Infants & Toddlers (virtual) - July 18, 20, 25 & 27

Summer Learning Series Seminars – Spread the Word!

This summer, Erikson Institute will offer many opportunities for early childhood professionals to hone your skills, growing your capacity to work effectively with young children and their families.

These virtual and in-person workshops are with experts are hosted by Erikson experts who will lead participants through an in-depth exploration of three different topics: The Power of Relationships (also offered in Spanish); MEME: Meaning-Making in Early Mathematics Education, and Nurturing Math Thinking with Infants, Toddler, and 2s.

Learn more here

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 Clinical Professor, Luisiana Melendez

Luisiana Melendez

Name: Lusiana Melendez

What year did you start working at Erikson?

I started working at Erikson as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the fall of 2007.

Of all the colleges and universities worldwide, why did you decide to teach at Erikson?

I am a graduate of Erikson’s teacher education program so I knew first-hand the importance of preparing practitioners whose work with children and families is grounded on child development knowledge that is always applied with consideration to context and culture.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career at Erikson?

Designing the original action research capstone for the MSECEO

What is your hidden (or secret) talent?

I am capable of considering multiple facets of situations and issues.

Erikson in the News

Erikson advisor/Illinois State Senator, Cristina Pacione-Zayas, was recently appointed as First Deputy Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson’s administration. She will be ending her official role with Erikson to start her new role with the mayor’s office. Read more here

Associate Director of Center for Children and Families, Sara Phou, Clinical Supervisor, Erika Flores and Project Coordinator, Michelle Saulnier, recently co-authored an article for Zero to Three titled “Diversity-Informed Reflective Consultation and Radical Healing: A New Paradigm for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Providers Serving Immigrant Families. Read the full article here

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.

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