Founded in 1966 by child advocates Barbara Taylor Bowman, Maria Piers, Lorraine Wallach and Irving B. Harris, the Erikson Institute was named for psychoanalyst and developmental psychologist Erik Erikson. The school's original purpose was help educators understand the role of family and cultural elements in a child's growth and provide extensive training for early childhood teachers as part of the national Head Start program.
Students living in university housing or an off campus apartment have access to the school's programs in child development, early childhood education, mental health and social work. Erikson also boasts small class sizes and individualized attention due to its tiny student body and faculty. Among the school's research programs are geared towards infant mental health, early math education, social-emotional studies for foster children, substance-exposed infants, after-school programs and culturally diverse students. Erikson recently opened the Herr Research Center for Children and Social Policy and the Center for Children and Families in 2005 and 2009 respectively.
Student living and university living at the Erikson Institute places students within one of the largest public education centers in the Midwest, allowing for multiple opportunities for real world experience and research in Chicago's school system. Students are also within reach of the city's cultural, commercial, educational and recreational landmarks like Willis Tower, Navy Pier, the Field Museum, the Loop, Grant Park and Wrigley Field.
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