Inside Erikson | September 2020 Newsletter

September, 2020 – The start of Fall term is always a lively and affirming time at Erikson, but even more so this year, as our nation continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the civil unrest linked to America’s enduring legacy of racism. Chicago has been an epicenter for both of these crises, and it’s a true testament to the courage and character of the Erikson community that even in these unprecedented times, we are coming together to create change and continuing our work to ensure a more equitable society for children and families.

Last week, our hardworking Enrollment Management team welcomed over 140 new degree program students to the Erikson family during our virtual student orientation. Although this year’s event was a little different, our admissions team was excited to show off their Erikson pride from home (pictured above). These new students represent the next generation of early childhood leaders, and we can’t wait to see how their studies at Erikson transform our world.

Keep reading to learn more about Erikson news, upcoming events, media mentions, and more!

Erikson Updates

ccf classroom

Center for Children and Families Diagnostic Services

Erikson’s Center for Children and Families offers neurodevelopmental diagnostic evaluations for children 3-8 years old identified with possible developmental and social-emotional challenges. These multi-faceted evaluations are conducted by a team of experts over multiple sessions, resulting in a report that can be used for service planning. Several elements of the evaluation can be offered virtually if needed. For more information, please call the program coordinator of the assessment team, Yvette Gonzalez, Ph.D. at 312-893-7238.


Early Intervention Lead Study

Legal Council for Health Justice and Erikson have partnered over the past two years to study the impact of Early Intervention services for lead-poisoned children. In August 2020, the Department of Human Services added lead poisoning, as defined by the Department of Public Health, to its list of conditions that automatically qualify children to receive services through Illinois’ Early Intervention Program, effective July 20, 2020. This groundbreaking change directly addresses the known impact of lead poisoning and provides support to children who have experienced lead poisoning across the state. Congratulations to Dr. Pam Epley, principle investigator, and Dr. Samina Hadi-Tabassum, co-principle investigator, who directed the research.

child with blocks

New KIDS Data

According to new data from the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS), the number of Illinois kindergartners hitting readiness requirements has increased slightly statewide, but more than two-thirds of students are still not meeting those goals. Erikson, along with advocacy groups including Advance Illinois and the McCormick Foundation, issued a joint statement addressing these disparities. Read more about the KIDS data from WTTW.

Early Math Book Award

Members of Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative Dr. Mary Hynes-Berry and Dr. Laura Grandau won a 2020 Excel Award from the Association of Media and Publishing for their book Where’s the Math? Books, Games, and Routines to Spark Children’s Thinking. Learn more about their book here.


Erikson Alums Making A Difference

Stephanie McShane ’20, MS in Early Childhood Education with a STEM concentration, was the recipient of a Pelino Family Scholarship during her time at Erikson. These scholarships, provided by early childhood advocate Mrs. Marjorie Pelino and her family, were created to prepare the next generation of leaders in early childhood education. “The Pelino scholarship allowed me to take risks, believe in my abilities, and find ways to make my aspirations a reality,” says Stephanie. Here, she is seen having a socially distant visit with one of her junior kindergarten students in April.

October 2020 Events

Conversation with Jane Elliott

On October 7 from 6-8pm CDT, join Lifting Up Early Childhood for a conversation, panel discussion, and Q&A with anti-racism activist Jane Elliott. The event will be moderated by Erikson’s Associate Vice President of Policy, Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas.

Erikson in the News

samina and child with mask

WTTW Check Please segment featuring Dr. Samina Hadi- Tabassum

Erikson’s very own Dr. Samina Hadi-Tabassum (Clinical Associate Professor and Director of our Child Life & Online MSECE programs) was a guest on WTTW’s Check, Please! sharing her love for Roka Akor restaurant. It doesn’t hurt that this delicious eatery is only a few steps from Erikson’s front door!

Dr. Alexis Lauricella quoted in Chalkbeat article

Erikson Assistant Professor and Director of Erikson’s TEC Center Dr. Alexis Lauricella offered her perspective in this Chalkbeat article about the upcoming challenges the Fall school year has in store.

Dr. Angela Searcy weighs in on emotional connection for KQED

Erikson Adjunct Professor Angela Searcy, EdD was quoted in this article from KQED about ways educators can connect emotionally with young students while social distancing protocols are in place. “You want to encourage children to be physically distant but not emotionally distant.”

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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, click here or email our admissions team.

Clinical and Community Services

As we adapt to these unexpected and challenging times due to COVID-19, Erikson’s Center for Children and Families is offering virtual mental health services to parents, caregivers, and children, as well as crisis counseling and consultation to support first responders and early childcare providers and teachers. Services can be provided in both English and Spanish, and are available to families regardless of their ability to pay.

We have also re-opened our River North clinic for services that require in-person assessments, including Early Intervention Medical and Neurodevelopmental Diagnostic Evaluations.

Our Fussy Baby Network, which helps families struggling with their infants’ crying, sleeping, or feeding, has also pivoted to provide more of its services, like home visits, in a virtual environment.

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

Every gift made to Erikson supports work that has limitless influence, translating directly to innovative programs that empower early childhood professionals, provide services, and shape policies and practices — all helping children and families achieve their full potential. Make a gift to Erikson today.

More Ways To Connect

Learn more about Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative and TEC Center.