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The Early Childhood Leadership Academy (ECLA) is a signature initiative of Erikson Institute that provides knowledgeable leaders with dynamic and collective learning experiences to enhance their capacity to influence early childhood policy leading to positive outcomes for young children and their families. Erikson Institute, which houses the nation’s premier graduate school in child development, works to ensure that all children have equitable opportunities to reach their potential through education, research, service, and advocacy.


Early Childhood Board Training
This program is designed for leaders who are serving on boards of organizations with a focus on early childhood. Organizations are encouraged to send more than one board member to maximize the learning impact.

Participants will benefit from a rich learning experience that aims to deepen their understanding of child development research, field-specific terminology, programs, and challenges unique to the early childhood system. Our goal is to provide effective and informed support for organizations with missions to create improved outcomes for children and families across Illinois.

Board members will gain knowledge in how to:

  • Effectively troubleshoot fiscal challenges by becoming well-versed in how funding is used in organizations serving children and families faced with budget shortfalls
  • Develop cutting-edge strategies by incorporating trends and future directions in the field
  • Improve stewardship by framing external messaging that will increase interest in your organization

Program Design
Designed to meet the needs of board members with limited free time, this new program offers a combination of in-person and online modules.

Program components include:

  • Two In-Person Seminars will feature industry experts and practical content application.  The first and second sessions are scheduled three months apart to allow time for completing the online learning component and applying learning in subsequent board meetings.
  • Online modules will supplement learning and will be available between in-person seminars to allow for self-directed learning. Related content will include more in-depth interviews on relevant and timely topics with industry experts. Erikson’s Learning Management System will track participant progress.
  • Certificate of Completion from Erikson Institute will be awarded to participants who complete all program components. The certificate will underscore that participants have acquired fundamental knowledge of child development along with skills for championing on behalf of children and families as board members for their respective organizations

Program Schedule
The program consists of two full-day
sessions (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) held in downtown Chicagecla board training couple pic.pngo
at Erikson Institute (451 N. LaSalle St.). Online supplemental content will be available throughout the three-month period.  Specific dates will be announced in early 2018.

  • Session 1: Full-day seminar
  • Session 2: Full-day seminar (3 months later) with reflection and program wrap-up

Participant Cost
The $1,000 tuition for each participant includes:

  • Meals during in-person seminars
  • Parking fees for seminars
  • Access to online modules
  • Curriculum presented by field experts
  • 30 hours of blended instruction

Scholarships are available upon request and dependent on available resources.


Register here for ECLA’s Early Childhood Board Training Program.