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Inside Erikson | October 2022

a monthly comm(unity) newsletter

October 2022 - Welcome to the October edition of the Inside Erikson newsletter!

As the days grow shorter and leaves fall faster, Erikson is looking inward to affirm our strategic priorities as described in our FY2022-2025 Strategic Plan, “Justice. Quality. Impact.” The plan is our roadmap, guiding our actions as we drive toward our vision of a world where children birth to eight and their families reach their fullest potential, and where children, families, and communities experience equity, justice, inclusion, and belonging.

Erikson will be closed next Monday, October 10th in observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors the history, contributions, and culture of Native peoples throughout the US. The holiday recognizes the legacy and impact of colonialism on Native communities, and it also celebrates the cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples. Five Ideas for Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2022

Wishing you a sweet month with more treats than tricks!

Erikson Updates

Erikson Alumna Publishes New Children’s Book

Kyla Saphir, MS ECE '12

Kyla Saphir, MS ECE ’12, recently wrote and published her first children’s book, On Brighter Days. The inspiration for the book came from Kyla’s personal experience with secondary infertility. As the youngest of five siblings, Kyla wanted her own daughter to also grow up with siblings but was unable to make that happen. When she looked for books to read with her daughter about their experience, she found the shelves empty. So, as we would expect an Erikson grad to do, she wrote one herself!

Learn more, or order your own copy of On Brighter Days

New Faculty Member Published

Congratulations to Postdoctoral Researcher, Meghan Gowin on publishing her first solo chapter. The chapter titled “When and Where I Enter: A Reflective Essay on the Photographic History of Three Generations of Black Women Educators” can be found in “BIPOC Alliances: Building Communities and Curricula”. You can purchase your copy today by visiting the Info Age website.

Council for Exceptional Children/ ISEI International Conference

Congratulations to Dr. Linda Gilkerson, Dr. Pamela Epley, and Jill Barbre, Erikson doctoral student on presenting about Erikson’s federal Office of Special Education (OSEP) project at the Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children/ ISEI International Conference in Chicago on Sept 29.

The voices of students were heard through the evaluation of the grant to train social work students in trauma-focused early intervention. Key takeaways from the research include:

  • Interpersonal skills are “best learned interpersonally”
  • Value of ongoing “practicing practice” through many role plays in a “judgment-free zone”
  • Learning over time is key
  • Trauma-focused training helped students secure jobs and feel ready for the work ahead

Relationships and reflection continue to be at the heart of an Erikson education and at the heart of trauma-focused practice. These student quotes from the project confirm that:

“I think …in something as difficult and triggering as trauma, there has to be space for a lot of self-reflection that can’t be forced or sped up. So, taking the time to do it over a couple semesters, I think really helped give the time that it deserved to it.”

“I think that having all of the training on trauma was one of the reasons that I got my job. It really prepared me for the field and for working with children in a way that a lot of other students have not been prepared to do.”

Erikson’s Research Team Present Powerful Session on Lead Poisoning

Samina Hadi-Tabassum presenting the PowerPoint

On September 29, Erikson faculty and researchers, Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Leanne Beaudoin-Ryan, Michelle Saulnier and Pamela Epley presented a session, “Lead Poisoning, Early Intervention and Child Development” at the International Society on Early Intervention. Lead poisoning is one of the most prevalent environmental health hazards that has been linked to developmental delay, ADHD, reading and writing deficits, math deficits, and impaired executive functioning. The team’s research focuses on a new state policy initiative that qualifies children ages 0-3 with elevated lead levels for Early Intervention.

Media Literacy Week 2022

U.S Media Literacy Week is October 24-28 and our TEC Center has been working to encourage everyone to get involved. Our Media Literacy in Early Childhood Report is available to help early childhood professionals utilize media literacy, child development, and early education knowledge to develop educational materials and advocate for support for media literacy education in early childhood.

For more information on our current professional development for youth library staff and how you can access the resources available within our TEC Center, email Jenna Herdzina.

Erikson & Beyond: Alumni Panel Discussion

On October 4 the Dean of Students, Ashley Curry, held a hybrid (online and in-person) event for current students to hear from alumni on the various career paths available after graduating from Erikson. Alumni Atena Danner, Marsha Shiegeyo Hawley, and Alexa James shared their personal journeys and how their experience at Erikson prepared them for the early childhood workforce. The event opened with a welcome from Erikson President Mariana Souto-Manning and students were able to ask the panel questions. A recording of the event will be available on our student intranet soon.

Upcoming Erikson Events

Policy & Leadership’s Decolonizing Data and Language Workshop is back!

Decolonizing Data & Language Workshop: Advance Racial Equity & Systemic Solutions | October 19th | Erikson Institute | Register Now

Did you miss our last Decolonizing Data and Language workshop? Join us on October 19th to learn how data and language can illuminate systemic change. this introduction to Decolonizing Data and Language, participants explore the dangers of labels and “othering”, deficit language terms and more. Register by October 17 to join Director of Impact and Learning Penny Smith and Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas in this dynamic workshop on advocacy without the labels.

Learn more and register

Faculty Spotlight

Erikson Insititute’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.

First on our list is the Director of Child Development, Dr. Samina Hadi-Tabassum.

Dr. Samina Hadi-Tabassum

Name: Samina Hadi-Tabassum

Faculty Member Since: 2017

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

I was at a crossroads in my career when I applied to the faculty position at Erikson. I had been at a teaching university for over a decade and wanted to transition to a university that focused on both research and teaching. Erikson has a wonderful reputation for being a rigorous and scholarly institution with brilliant faculty. I had also known about the Early Math Project through my work in the Chicago Public Schools and saw its impact in classrooms. On the day of my interview, I was impressed by the diverse faculty and their love of debate and dialogue. I am glad that I was offered a position!

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

When I started at Erikson almost five years ago, I did not know much about the child life program and the online MSECE program. I threw myself into the leadership role, learned about the different roles and responsibilities among faculty and staff, listened and learned from others, and helped expand both programs in terms of enrollment and design. In terms of rewarding moments, each student who starts their journey at Erikson has an arc and I enjoy seeing students at graduation when they have achieved success and gained confidence in themselves.

What is your hidden (or secret) talent?

Sometimes students Google my name before starting class with me and learn that I have published poetry and prose. Two years ago, one of my short stories titled “Sajid” was recognized as a distinguished story by The Best American Short Stories publication, and I was listed on the same page as Salman Rushdie and Steven King. I am currently finishing a manuscript of short stories depicting the lives of South Asian immigrants in Chicago. I also have a You Tube channel in which I translate Urdu and Hindi poetry into English.

Erikson in the News shared the virtual panel between Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Erikson Institute President Mariana Souto-Manning. The Facebook Live discussion was held to raise awareness of Racial Equity Week and highlighted Dr. Souto-Manning’s research on the lives, values, and experiences of intersectionally minoritized people of Color.

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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