Parent University

NPN's Parent University Speaker Series brings you pertinent information on parenting and lifestyle issues. Each event will not only provide interaction with a professional on the topic of the day, but also a chance to connect with and learn from other parents. Parent University is one of the many ways NPN facilitates interaction among our member parents while providing you with educational resources. If you have an idea for a future speaker/session, please contact us at

An E-Ticket is required to attend all Parent University Speaker Series events - 1 adult per each E-ticket.

Next Event

  Parent University @ Erikson Institute
Location: Erikson Institute
Time: 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM · Jun 3, 2017
Who: Members & Non-members - Adults only
Parking: Metered street parking and a variety of paid lots are in the vicinity. Nearby lots include: · Greenway Self-Park, 60 W. Kinzie St., entrance on Kinzie. (2 blocks from Erikson) · MartParc Orleans, 437 N. Orleans St., entrances on Orleans and Hubbard. (3.5 blocks from Erikson) Discounted parking at select garages will be available to attendees who present parking garage tickets for validation at the event.
Cost: NPN Members: Adults $10.00, Children $0.00, Family Four-pack $0.00
Non-members: Adults $20.00, Children $0.00, Family Four-pack $0.00
Coordinator: Amy Johnson

NPN is partnering with Erikson Institute, the nation’s premier organization focused on child development, to offer members an exclusive opportunity to learn directly from the experts. Parent University & Expo will offer workshops addressing challenges and situations parents may encounter from infancy through kindergarten, with experts providing you with practical advice and information you’ll be able to put to use right away.

9:00-9:30am, Check In, Coffee

9:30-10:30am, Topical Workshops

Where’s the Math in Names?
Preschoolers can learn math using their names! After enjoying the children’s classic Tikki Tikki Tembo, children and their parents can investigate ways to sort, compare, and measure their names. Parents will leave with a handout of other books that could be played with in a similar way. Available for 8 child/parent participants, ages 3-5, with additional limited observer space for parents without their children present. This workshop will be recorded for Erikson educational purposes.

The Good Enough Parent
Images of “perfect” families constantly popping up in our social media feeds can make us feel like sub-par parents. How do you know if you’re doing a good enough job? This workshop will help you understand some of the influences that shape who we are as parents and provide an opportunity to consider and appreciate why each of us loves and cares for our children in our own unique ways. Colette Davison, PhD, Erikson faculty.

Wondering or Worried: What Parents Can Do
Not all children grow and develop in the same way or at the same time. This workshop will offer guidance on the initial research you can do on your own, introduce you to paths to consider if you have concerns, and helpful advice on how you can be the best advocate for your child so he/she receives the needed support and services. Pamela Epley, PhD, Erikson faculty.

10:30-11:30am, Topical Workshops

Mindful Strategies that Families Can Use
Stress can intrude into daily life for parents and children, and it can derail healthy development during a child’s early years. This workshop explores how mindfulness can be a powerful tool in coping—for parents, children, and families. Amanda Moreno, PhD, Erikson faculty and principal investigator of Erikson’s Mindfulness in the Schools research project.

The Developing Mind of the Young Child
How do early social and emotional experiences and relationships impact your child’s development? This workshop will help you understand what science can tell us about a child’s earliest experiences and offer parents helpful insights into the developing child. Nucha Isarowong, PhD, LCSW, Erikson faculty.

The Power of Pretend Play in Early Childhood: How Young Children Learn the ABCs of Reading and Friendship
Is it time to play or to learn? When it comes to pretend play, the two go hand in hand. This workshop explores the remarkable changes in young children’s thinking with the birth of imagination, and how play at home and in preschool paves the way for long-term development—socially, emotionally, and academically. Gillian D. McNamee, PhD, Director of Erikson’s Teacher Education.

11:30am-12:30pm, Topical Workshops

A Little Empathy Can Go a Long Way
Children often communicate emotional challenges and other difficulties they may be experiencing through their behavior. This workshop focuses on ways that parents can help a child manage and cope with the feelings underlying behavior struggles so the child can respond to limits and rules. Margret Nickels, PhD, Director of Erikson’s Center for Children and Families.

Why Is Having a Baby So Much Harder than We Thought It Would Be?
Why are new parents often so stressed and not finding the comfort they hoped with their partner? How can a crying baby lead to stress? Why doesn’t your newborn sleep like the books said he/she would? This workshop will explore the relationship between crying and sleeping and offer helpful insights on how to cope. Linda Horwitz and Nancy Mork, Behavioral Experts, Erikson’s Fussy Baby Network

Where’s the Math with Monkeys
From Five Little Monkeys to Caps for Sale, classic picture books provide opportunities to monkey around with math! Children and parents will act out these stories to explore numbers, patterns, and even graphs. Families will leave with a handout giving a snapshot of related Big Ideas and a list of other books that could be played with in a similar way. Available for 8 child/parent participants, ages 3-5, with additional limited observer space for parents without their children present. This workshop will be recorded for Erikson educational purposes.

12:30-1:30pm, Optional Parent Consultations

One-on-one Consultations with the Center for Children and Families Clinical Staff
Parents can make 20-minute appointments with behavioral experts from Erikson’s renowned Center for Children and Families for a brief personal consultation about concerns they may have about their child’s behavioral or emotional issues.

NPN members: login first to get the NPN member discount!

    • June
    • 03
    • Saturday

Meet the Co-Chairs

Didi Lewis Didi joined NPN in 2010 while researching school options for her son and seeking support from other working moms. When her daughter came along the following year, her fondness for NPN, its activity-packed event calendar, and its active discussion board grew. With a JD and certificate in Family Law from DePaul College of Law, her dedication to the local parent community in her downtown neighborhood, and her passion for advocating family life in the big city (she’s also a proud CPS grad), Didi happily joined the NPN staff in 2013. As School Choice, Programming and Outreach Manager, Didi is excited about helping Chicago parents learn about educational options within the city and discover all of the amazing benefits NPN has to offer for new and growing urban families. After spending her entire life as a north-sider, Didi now lives in the South Loop with her south-sider husband Rod and their city kids, RJ and Rio.

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