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Dr. Elizabeth Joy Erwin is Professor at Montclair State University in the Department of Teaching and Learning where she prepares graduate and doctoral students to think critically, reflect deeply and teach inclusively. Over the past 30 years, her academic career has reflected a solid commitment to equity, innovation, and excellence for young children with disabilities and their families. Early work in this area was shaped by answering questions about “why” inclusive education matters, but has shifted over the years to focus on “how” to promote inclusive, just, and mindful school communities for young learners across a range of human variation.
Dr. Erwin's work continues to be firmly grounded in a social action framework, aimed at transforming limiting beliefs, exclusionary practices and systemic injustices - locally, nationally, and globally. Current themes that spark Dr. Erwin's interest in new projects as well as those currently in varying stages of development are: Inclusive Communities/Inclusive Teaching, Well-Being/Mindfulness, and Innovations in Research/Reflective Inquiry.
As the author of multiple books and chapters, Dr. Erwin is also published widely in prestigious academic journals. Her latest book "The Power of Presence" focuses on mindfulness practices and early childhood education from a social action lens about partnering with children to promote justice in the world and peace within. Across the United Stated and internationally, Dr. Erwin continues to speak regularly at professional conferences, meetings, and summits. Elizabeth currently lives in New York City where she practices yoga and meditation every day.
- Innovations in early childhood education and care
- Inclusive teaching and reflective inquiry
- Well-being in body and mind
- Mindfulness and contemplative practices in education
- Children's voices and self-determination focusing on young learners with disabilities
- International collaborations and projects to advance inclusive education
- Family-professional partnerships
- Place-based inquiry and pedagogy
- Erwin, E.J., Valentine, M. & Toumazou, M. (2022) The study of belonging in early childhood education: Complexities and possibilities, International Journal of Early Years Education, DOI: 10.1080/09669760.2022.2128307
- Erwin, E.J., Bacon, J. K., & Lalvani, P. (2021). It’s about time! Advancing justice through joyful inquiry with young children. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 1-12.
- Erwin, E. J. (2017). Transparency in early childhood education: What the west can learn from Australia's focus on well-being. Global Education Review, 4 (3), 56-69.
- Erwin, E.J., Robinson, K., & Aveta, D. (2017). Being present: An exploratory study on the use of mindfulness in early childhood. The International Journal of Holistic Early Learning and Development, 4, 1-17.
- Erwin, E. J., Robinson, K., McGrath, G., & Harney, C. (2015). "It's like breathing in blue skies and breathing out stormy clouds:" Mindfulness practices in early childhood. Young Exceptional Children.
- Erwin, E. J., Maude, S. P., Palmer, S. B., Summers, J.A., Brotherson, M. J., Haines, S. & Peck, N. F. (2015). Fostering the foundations for early childhood self-determination: A process for enhancing child outcomes across home and school. Early Childho
- Erwin, E.J. & Robinson, K. R. (2015): The joy of being: making way for young children's natural mindfulness, Early Child Development and Care, DOI:10.1080/03004430.2015.1029468
- Puig, V.I., Erwin, E.J., Evenson, T.L., & Beresford, M. (2015). It's a two-way street: Examining how trust diversity and contradiction influence a sense of community. Journal of Research in Childhood Education.29:2, 187-201, DOI: 10.1080/02568543.2015.100
- Summers, J. A., Brotherson, M.J., Erwin, E. J., Maude, S. P., Palmer, S. B., Haines, S.J., Stroup, V., Wu, H., Peck, N. F. & Zheng, Y. Z. (2014). Family reflections on the foundations of self-determination in early childhood. Special Issue on Inclusion, I
- Palmer, S.B., Summers, J. A., Brotherson, M.J., Erwin, E.J., Maude, S., Stroup-Rentier,V., Hsaing-Yi, W., Peck, N., Zheng, Y. Weigel, C., McGrath, G., & Haines, S. (2013). Foundation for self-determination in early childhood: An inclusive model for child
- Erwin, E.J., Puig, V. I., Evenson, T. L. & Beresford, M. (2012). Community and connection in inclusive early childhood education: A participatory action research investigation. Young Exceptional Children. 15(4), 1-12.
- Erwin, E.J., Brotherson, M.J.& Summers, J.A. (2011). Understanding qualitative meta-synthesis. Issues and opportunities in early childhood intervention research. Journal of Early Intervention. 33(3), 186-200.
- Maude, S.P.,Brotherson, M. J., Erwin, E.J., Summers, J. A., Palmer, S., Peck, N. F., Zheng, Y., Kruse, A. & Haines, S.J. (2011).Performance: A strategy for professional development in early childhood teacher preparation. Journal of Early Childhood Teach
- Erwin, E. J., Brotherson, M. J., Palmer, S., Cook, C., Weigel, C. & Summers, J. A. (2009). How to promote self-determination for young children with disabilities: Evidenced-based strategies for practitioners and families. Young Exceptional Children. 12(2)
- Brotherson, M. J., Cook, C., Erwin, E., & Weigel, C. (2008). Understanding self-determination and families of young children with disabilities in home environments. Journal of Early Intervention, 31,22-43.
- Erwin, E. J. & Morton, N. (2008). Exposure to media violence and young children with and without disabilities: Powerful opportunities for family- professional partnerships. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36, 105-112.
- Erwin, E. J. & Brown, F. (2003). From theory to practice: A conceptual framework for understanding self-determination in early childhood environments. Infants and Young Children: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Special Care Practices, 16, 77-87.
- Soodak, L, C., Erwin, E. J., Winton, P., Brotherson, M. J., Turnbull, A. P., Hanson, M. J., & Brault, L. J. (2002). Implementing inclusive early childhood education. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 22, 91-102.
This extraordinary 11-day study-away experience in Bali, Indonesia promises to spark curiosity and invite critical examination together with teachers and educational leaders from around the globe who are also committed to well-being. Join us for an unparalleled cultural and educational full immersion for an insiders’ perspective about an ancient, exquisite island where living in harmony with the land and one another is a valued part of daily life in home, school and community.
Open to students, staff and faculty and those outside the university community.
Space is limited.
Program Leader: Dr. Elizabeth Joy Erwin
Erwin, E. J. (2020). The Power of Presence: A Guide to Mindfulness Practices in Early Childhood. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House, Inc.
Latest book "The Power of Presence" on partnering with children to promote justice in the world and peace within.
Available from local or favorite book sellers, Amazon, or Gryphon House (leading and award winning publisher in early childhood)
International Interdisciplinary Immersion: Reggio Emilia Italy
A new international interdisciplinary initiative has been launched which provides a rich cultural and educational immersion for teacher education students. This co-taught course involves travel to Italy as well as a hybrid university course to engage with the well-established and widely respected Reggio Emilia educational philosophy and pedagogy. Travel to Italy occurs in March to attend the 2024 Students-Professors Study Group in Reggio Emilia. We anticipate that this unique course and travel opportunity may be available to educators and other students outside the university in the future.
Please note that this course and travel are now filled to capacity for 2024.
This innovative interdisciplinary course and travel, which are offered across two colleges, have been collaboratively conceptualized and carefully designed by full time faculty members Dr. Elizabeth Erwin, College of Education and Engaged Learning and Dr. Gina Miele, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Reggio Emilia educational philosophy is known worldwide for its inclusive and progressive approach for very young and school-aged children and has wide application to older students too. The Reggio Emilia Approach® reflects an educational philosophy and pedagogy that acknowledges the environment as teacher and shows deep respect for children as co-contributors to their own learning through purposeful research investigations. The application of this philosophy involves in-depth inquiry-based learning and an emergent curriculum which allows educators and children to co-construct knowledge about the world.