Elizabeth Jaeger, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Areas Taught: Education

Expertise: Optimizing Early Care for Kids

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Optimizing Early Care for Kids

There's no question that the first years of life are some of the most formative, and that helping children make the most of them can often be challenging. For psychologist Elizabeth Jaeger, Ph.D., studying how early relationships with parents and experiences in early care and learning settings can promote development has been a career-long endeavor.

As a site coordinator and co-principal investigator on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Child Care and Youth Development, Dr. Jaeger examined the impact of early child care on the mother-child relationship and children's overall development. She is particularly interested in how these processes are affected by ethnicity and culture.

Her more recent work examines how the beliefs and practices of bilingual, immigrant families are related to their preferences for early care and education settings.

Dr. Jaeger has also used her understanding of the kinds of environments that promote healthy early development to evaluate the impact of interventions aimed at increasing the quality of early care and education programs. Most recently, she has been evaluating the Early to Learn: Partners for School Readiness initiative being implemented by the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

"One goal of this project is to increase the numbers of high-quality early care and education programs offered to at-risk children," Dr. Jaeger explains. "The good news so far is that intensive, on-site, multidisciplinary technical assistance can move programs from mediocre to good quality."

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