Junlei Li, Ph.D.
Junlei Li serves the co-chair of the Human Development and Education Program and the Saul Zaentz senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
His research and practice focuses on understanding and supporting the work of helpers — those who serve children and families on the frontlines of education and social services. Li studied and learned from a wide range of developmental settings with low resources but high-quality practices, including orphanages, childcare, classrooms, and community youth programs. He developed the “Simple Interactions” approach to help identify what ordinary people do extraordinarily well with children in everyday moments and made that the basis for promoting positive system change.
Li frequently delivers keynote presentations and workshops for national, state, and international conferences focused on improving practices, programs, and policies for children, families, and professionals, with a particular emphasis on early childhood development. He teaches about improving human interactions and supporting adult helpers. He serves on boards and advisory panels, including Child Care Aware of America, Parents as Teachers, Turrell Fund, Head Start National Center for Family and Community Engagement, and various initiatives at the U.S. Administration for Children and Families. Li’s work is significantly influenced and inspired by the pioneering work of Fred Rogers (creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). He previously served as the Co-Director and Rita M. McGinley Professor for Early Learning and Children’s Media at the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College.
Tamar Jacobson, Ph.D
Tamar Jacobson is an early childhood development and education consultant for early childhood programs, organizations, and families. She was born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and traveled to Israel where she became a preschool teacher with the Israeli Ministry of Education. Jacobson completed a doctorate in early childhood education at the University at Buffalo (UB). As Director of the University at Buffalo Child Care Center (UBCCC), she created a training site for early childhood students from area colleges including UB.
Jacobson is a retired Professor from Rider University, New Jersey, and served as Chair of the Department of Teacher Education for seven years. Dr. Jacobson serves on the Consulting Editors Panel for NAEYC, was recipient of the 2003 Director of the Year Award, National Coalition of Campus Children’s Centers, the 2013 National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator Award, and is a former Fellow in the Child Trauma Academy. Tamar Jacobson presents at International, National, State and Regional levels. She is author of: Confronting Our Discomfort: Clearing the Way for Anti-Bias (Heinemann, 2003), Don’t Get So Upset! Help Young Children Manage Their Feelings by Understanding Your Own (Redleaf Press, 2008), Everyone Needs Attention: Helping Young Children Thrive (Redleaf Press, 2018).