Erikson’s first poster symposium puts the spotlight on research and new knowledge
Creating and sharing new knowledge is important to Erikson Institute’s mission to improve the lives of young children and their families. At Erikson’s first Research Poster Symposium, more than two dozen projects were on display with faculty, staff, and students on hand to share insights and understandings.
“We often talk about the research Erikson is conducting, but that work is not always visible,” said Charles Chang, Erikson’s chief research and strategy officer, who helped organize the symposium. “This event helps create a broader awareness of the depth and breadth of the research done here and how it is making a difference.”
Organized by Erikson’s Herr Research Center for Children and Public Policy and the Doctoral Student Association, the symposium offered an opportunity for trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to learn about ongoing and published research that is contributing knowledge to the early childhood field.
“As someone who is interested in early childhood topics but not a professional in the field, I had a very intense learning experience and know more about Erikson’s projects than before I came,” said Elenne Song, an Erikson trustee.
A highlight of research on display included:
- An in-depth look at home visiting programs from across the country. Jon Korfmacher, director of Erikson’s Ph.D. in Child Development program, is leading a nationwide study of programs that offer support for families, and he presented research that shows the need for additional training to better engage families and improved communication between home visiting programs and medical providers, among other findings.
- A summary of Erikson’s Mindfulness in the Schools project, a four-year federally funded research project in which mindfulness strategies are introduced to students in low-performing Chicago Public Schools. Through the initiative, children in kindergarten through second grade learn techniques to help improve their social-emotional well-being and deal with stress brought on by trauma and other factors associated with at-risk communities, to help them be ready to learn.
- An examination of how digital media tools support children’s social-emotional development. Driven by the Technology in Early Childhood Center at Erikson, in collaboration with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning & Interactive Media at St. Vincent College, the ongoing research project looks at the types of media children engage with and how these tools can support healthy development.
- Results of a three-year, Erikson-led study in which early childhood educators participated in a professional development program created by Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative. At the end of the study, conducted at an Educare school serving low-income infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children, the quality of teachers’ instruction had improved and students demonstrated a greater level of math knowledge and skills.
For faculty and staff, the event also was a chance to learn additional information about their colleagues’ projects and open avenues for future collaboration.
“This is really the first time the Erikson community has gathered in one place to share information about our initiatives,” Dr. Korfmacher said. “People often think about Erikson in terms of the graduate education we provide and services we offer to the community, so I hope this event gets people thinking about Erikson as a research institute where new knowledge is established, as well.”