Inside Erikson | September 2021 Newsletter

Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D. as a childSeptember, 2021 – Welcome to the September issue of the Inside Erikson newsletter!

Our new President, Mariana Souto-Manning, officially started her role on September 1, but she made time to attend both our online and on-campus new student orientations late last month, where she addressed our students and immersed herself in conversations with them.

We are delighted to start this month’s newsletter with a special message from Mariana:

September is a special month! My presidency at Erikson commenced, and it is my birth month (September 7 is the day).

In preparation of writing this message, I looked at this photo of me as a young child and reflected on my own journey as a first-generation Afro-Brazilian immigrant.

As someone who started her U.S. higher education journey at a community college and whose visa status was adjusted after entering the US, I can affirm that I am only here because of educators, counselors, social workers, and community members who honored, cultivated, and sustained my strengths instead of defining me by
(expected) deficits. They invited me to recognize that I did not have limited language but, I am multilingual. I am one of many examples of the promise and possibility of moving from focusing on risks to focusing on promises, possibilities, and potentialities.

Focusing on potential in light of the devastation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (and intersectional systems of inequity—racism, economic disproportionality, climate injustice) may seem antithetical. Yet, I see these factors pressing on the urgency of working in the pursuit of justice, ensuring equity, and cultivating belonging.

As a social phenomenon, COVID-19 demands that we act. But—how? By rethinking and (re)considering what we might bring with us into a post-pandemic future and what we might leave behind (Roy, 2020). This means orienting us toward a North Star logic. When we don’t know what to do or how to deal with our fear and the unexpected, a North Star logic helps us focus on and enact potentialities.

Because I know that there is more expertise across the Erikson community than in any one person, I invite you—a valuable member of the Erikson community—to recognize the potential of the pandemic for exposing and interrupting systemic inequities.

As President of Erikson Institute, my hope is to cultivate a community in which we can and will work to reimagine child development, social work, clinical services, child life, teacher education, policy, and educational research. I hope that we each can take heed of Alice Walker’s words: “Keep in mind always the present you are constructing. It should be the future you want.”

Let us recognize that together, we can imagine and build futures aligned with the pursuit of justice in the present we are constructing … toward the future we want, and our children, families, and communities deserve.

In the pursuit of justice,

Keep reading for our latest updates, announcements, events, and other news, and thank you for being a committed member of the Erikson community.

Erikson Updates

Update on Erikson in-person and on-campus activities

Summer ended on a bustling note at Erikson, as we pivoted to accommodate a vaccine mandate, based on data, feedback from the Erikson community, and our mission to support the wellbeing of children, who are still so vulnerable to the virus. Any student or employee coming to campus who does not have an approved medical or religious exception, will need to have their first dose of COVID vaccine by October 1, and be fully vaccinated by November 1.

Due to a global computer chip shortage, audio visual upgrades to classrooms and conference rooms have been delayed, causing on-campus courses to be held virtually until October 1.

Risk and Reach Report 2021 a Good Resource for Teachers, Students

If you haven’t already checked out Illinois’ second Risk and Reach Report, released by our Policy and Leadership department in July, take a fresh look from the point of view of a student or teacher. Do you know someone who would find the county-level data on the well-being of children birth to 5 in communities useful in their work or courses? You can download the Risk and Reach Report here. Please share the link widely!

Erikson and Project Rainbow press conference
Erikson Partners with Cook County on Digital Education for Young Children

Erikson was honored to be included in the development of Project Rainbow, a new digital education series for young children. Our Policy and Leadership department made the connection through an ECLA fellow, and along with faculty, helped Cook County staff develop their initial concept. The Policy team also introduced County staff to early childhood teachers, and reviewed the project brief to ensure the language used was equitable and strengths-based. Because of our contributions, Erikson was invited to speak at a press conference launching Project Rainbow on August 11.


Presentation on Developmental Differences Aimed to Help Parents, Caregivers

Anatomy of a Meltdown,” a webinar that Senior Instructor Jennifer Rosinia, Ph.D., recorded for the Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN) Developmental Differences Fair, explains the difference between developmentally appropriate behavior and atypical behavior and what parents can do.

Erikson in the News

Our Technology in Childhood Center’s study was cited in this article about cell phones for young children.

Erikson’s Early Teaching and Learning Academy was mentioned in this news article about the Summer Step Up Program in Massachusetts. The Academy provided remote learning labs around both early math and SEL to PreK and K teachers and early childhood education providers in the program.

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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, visit our website 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.

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 1,100 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.