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Inside Erikson | September 2022

a monthly comm(unity) newsletter

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

This month we’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic/Latinx Americans who have inspired others to achieve success. Hispanic Heritage Month began as Hispanic Heritage week when President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law in 1968 and by 1988 the commemorative week was expanded to a month.

At Erikson, we are grateful to have faculty, staff, and students who identify as Hispanic/Latinx and who for strengthen the Institute in so many ways. One such way is our work with multi-language learners. Have you read the blog post featuring Professor Luisiana Melendez, on celebrating 20 years of Erikson’s Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) Certificate Program for Educators? If not, please click here.

Have a great month!

Erikson Updates

IFF Profile Feature

Congratulations to our President Mariana Souto-Manning for being featured by IFF on the intersection of equity and early childhood education. Read the full profile.

Project Connect

Congratulations to the Project Connect Team! This August, they held six online kickoff sessions with nearly 100 Kindergarten teachers from across Illinois. The team prepared welcome packets with materials to support number sense and phonemic awareness. Learn more about Project Connect.

Farewell to an Erikson partner

We were saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Heidelise Als, a researcher and clinician who studied the behavioral organization of newborns and preterm infants. She was an Erikson honorary degree recipient in 2012 and a beloved colleague of many, including our own Linda Gilkerson. Linda shared, “She transformed care for premature babies, bringing developmental care to neonatal care units worldwide. I had the pleasure of knowing and working closely with Heidi which changed my whole career.”

New Faculty Member Wins Prestigious Award

Sandra Osorio, Associate Professor, received the 2022 National Council of Teacher of English (NCTE) Advancement of People of Color Leadership (APCL) Award. This is one of NCTE’s most prestigious awards and is presented in recognition of her contributions as an outstanding person of Color in the field. It also recognizes how her leadership has impacted other scholars and communities within the field. Congratulations, Sandra!

Cross-Departmental Team of Experts Delivers Webinar

Erikson’s Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Lilly Padia, Penny Smith, and Crystasany R. Turner recently hosted a webinar on “The Decolonization of Research” with Georgia State University. This interactive session focused on the unequal power relationships and cultural clashes in large urban cities and included information on data equity and the practice of using marginalized communities as data plantations.

Linda Gilkerson recognized for Outstanding Leadership

Congratulations to Linda Gilkerson on being recognized by the Division of Education at the Council on Social Work Education for her outstanding leadership. Linda served as chair of the national taskforce to develop the CSWE Specialized Practice Curricular Guide for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Mumbi Mwaura, Director of Member Engagement and Professional Development for the council, says that “Dr. Gilkerson’s leadership was essential to developing the Guide and will be invaluable as we continue to develop the capacity of social work programs to address the needs of young children and families through the inclusion of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health in their curriculum.”

New Blog Series based on Gun Violence Webinar

On August 18, Andria Goss, Sara Anderson- Phou and Thay Guirguis of our Center for Children and Families, presented a webinar titled “Gun violence and children: practical ways to provide mental health support” which explored the repercussions of gun violence on children, and provided ways to support children’s mental health. The webinar was attended by 200+ parents, caregivers, teachers, and other supporters and as a follow up, Erikson launched a three-part blog series. You can check out the first and second installments in this series on our Press & News page.

2022 Annual Luncheon

Erikson’s Annual Luncheon raises funds for groundbreaking programs that empower early childhood professionals to help children achieve their full potential.  The event sparks thought-provoking dialogue that stimulates ideas and critical thinking to address the challenges we face in our society.

Our 2022 Spirit of Erikson Honoree is Cari Sacks, and Michelle Obama is our featured guest. Learn more about our luncheon.

Racial Equity in Education Convening

Erikson Institute has partnered with The Spencer Foundation to host national and international researchers to discuss creating more equitable systems of education and places for learning that will reimagine existing systems. This two-day convening from September 22-23, 2022, to be hosted at Erikson, will provide a forum for interdisciplinary conversation across multiple stakeholders centered on early childhood education and equity. Erikson staff and students can view a keynote webinar, “Effects of a Statewide Pre-Kindergarten Program on Children’s Achievement and Behavior through Sixth Grade,” by joining via Zoom at 1 p.m. CST on Thursday, September 22. Staff received a calendar invite with the link. Please contact us with any questions.

Trustee Spotlight

Erikson Institute has a wonderful group of life trustees and board members, and we are thrilled to share more about them and their commitment to the organization with you. We hope that you enjoy reading about these lovely individuals as much as we have enjoyed interviewing them.

Meet our September featured Trustee, Susan Wislow

Susan Wislow

Name: Susan Wislow

Erikson Trustee Since: 1996

Susan was born in Chicago one month after WWII ended. Her love of school began at an early age while attending Lafayette Elementary, now known as Chicago High School for the Arts in Humboldt Park. As a former teacher, Susan knew there was a need to educate future leaders and when she learned about Erikson, she wanted to get involved.

What motivates you to support Erikson?  

SW: What motivates me to support Erikson are the firsthand experiences I have had. In the 1960s, while in college, I assistant taught in Head Start programs.  At the time, the statistics for the Head Start kids were phenomenal, above 90 percent finished high school and the percentages were low in teen pregnancies and teen incarcerations. The teacher and I had no training in early childhood education or development, but we cared for them, and we watched our kindergarteners flourish. While I was teaching there weren’t resources and classes for us and I often think if we had been educated to teach the young ones, just think of the success.

What is your one hope or dream for Erikson? 

SW: My hope for Erikson strongly coincides with the mission statement; send out many more professionals to spread their scientific based research knowledge, encourage policy change, and enhance the lives of children and their families in Chicago, our country, and the world.

What is a fun fact (or two) about you that you’d like to share?  

SW: Our neighborhood school was Lafayette School in Chicago, and the kindergarten class had a very small enrollment. Some parents were asked if their four-year-old children would like to start school early but remain in kindergarten for three semesters–my parents happily sent me. Soon after the first year, the faculty thought I should be put in the 1st grade, but to do so they had to illegally change my birthday on school records. Thus, I was always months younger than everyone in my class, having skipped a nonexistent Kindergarten 3. I loved it with all my heart and decided to be a teacher and never wavered.

Erikson in the News

Sam Melvin, Assistant Research Professor, spoke with WBEZ Reporter Nereida Moreno on the importance of reaching children as early as possible from birth to preschool while their brains are still developing. Read the article.

Research Scientist, Juliet Bromer’s work on home based childcare was cited in an this article from the St. George News. The article discusses the challenges child care providers face in Cedar City, Utah. Read the article.

Debra Vines, Founder and CEO of THE ANSWER INC (Autism Awareness & Support Agency) and alum of Erikson’s Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows program is a CNN Hero! Her organization is being recognized for providing support, resources, education, recreation, and advocacy to improve and enrich the quality of life of those impacted by Autism and other developmental differences.

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.

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