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About the Illinois Early Childhood Senior Leaders Program

The Illinois Early Childhood Senior Leaders Program, offered through Erikson Institute, allows up to 15 individuals per year to gain tremendous professional development opportunities, establish an additional important network of peers, and build their professional confidence in the area of early childhood policy – all assets that can carry them to new heights in their careers.

Participants will leave the program with a broad understanding of the complex policy issues and processes that impact the various components of the early childhood field, as well as an enhanced ability to make evidence-based contributions to policy and practice. Senior Leaders will increase their capacity to be culturally-competent and reflective leaders and expand their professional networks and relationships.

Who is eligible to participate?

Participants in the Senior Leaders program must hold leadership positions in nonprofit organizations or government agencies in Illinois and are identified through a nominations process. The program targets seasoned leaders who have substantive experience in program management and supervision, and want to enhance their understanding of early childhood policy. The program is not geared for individuals who already have a significant policy background.

Throughout the program year, participants will remain in their full-time positions and use their work environments as a context for reinforcing their understanding of important leadership and policy issues in Illinois. Each participant is required to have the consent and support of their employer (or “sponsoring organization”) to participate in the program and is expected to take part in all sessions and activities.

What is the nomination and application process?

Senior Leaders are chosen from nominations solicited from a select group of organizations and individuals. The nomination process includes the completion of a program nomination form and an application by the individual applicant.

The ideal candidate is a leader with a track record for supporting improvements in child and family well-being who wants to gain the knowledge and skills needed to promote effective early childhood policy and advocacy in order to enrich their own work and that of their organization.

What is the program structure?

The Illinois Early Childhood Senior Leaders program will run from November 2015 to June 2016 and offer a comprehensive approach to knowledge and skills-building through a carefully crafted array of learning and practice opportunities intended to build on participants’ existing knowledge and experience. Particular focus will be placed on reflective leadership as a strategy to increase self-awareness, challenge one’s own thinking, and develop cultural competence.

Core components of the program include: monthly seminars, coaching, developing a policy action plan, and extensive professional networking.

What costs are involved for participants and sponsoring organizations?

There are no direct costs to participants or their employers. However, sponsoring organizations are required to provide release time for participants to attend seminar and coaching sessions, and participants are responsible for their transportation and related expenses to attend sessions.

Who are the past participants?

Meet the 2014 cohort here