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Erickson Institute is a graduate school in Chicago, Illinois. It's named after Erik Erikson, a highly respected developmental psychologist. Students study child development. The founders of the school, which began in 1966, were Maria Piers, a child psychologist; Barbara Taylor Bowman, an educator, Lorraine Wallach, a social worker and Irving B. Harris, a businessman. The impetus for the school was the Head Start program designed to help children get an early jump on education. Erickson focuses on teachers and caregivers of young children – primarily children infancy to age eight. Erickson stressed that children are the products of the society around them.

Professionals are trained to analyze and treat children in behavior, learning and social and emotional development. They are taught to help parents manage the stress of raising children. Early math education is emphasized as is a devotion to helping nearby Chicago schools. Erickson Institute was originally named the Chicago School for Early Childhood Education. In 1967, with the help of Loyola University Chicago, Erickson began offering Master's degrees. Erickson also has online programs, applied research to target specific problems and community partnerships. It's estimated that faculty and alumni affect the lives of 4 million children each year.

Children who are at risk for educational problems are a high priority. Students are taught to look for many solutions to problems and to study them form many angles. There are 260 Masters students, 12 doctoral students and 60 students getting certificates who are all taught by 40 part-time and full-time faculty teachers. Students can get Master's Degrees in child development, early childhood education and child development combined with a master of social work (in conjunction with Loyola University Chicago) and, starting in 2014, a master of social work. A Doctorate in child development is also offered. Research targets after-school programs, substance-exposed infants, Early Head Start, Early Reading and other child education issues.

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