Keynote Speaker

Dr. Junlei Li

Saul Zaentz Sr. Lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education



Being More Than One Thing, Finding More Than One Way

Appreciating Human Relationships at the Developmental Foundation for Children, Families, and the Helping Professionals

“What’s been important in my understanding of myself and others,” Fred Rogers said, “is the fact that each one of us is so much more than any one thing.” As helpers who serve children, families, and other helpers, what we do for the human beings around us – young or old – is often so much more than just our job descriptions and titles. When the conditions around us limit what we are accustomed to doing, we can all find our resilient and creative ways to be helpful. The ways we learn and grow are rooted in the human relationships we build around us. 

The Power of Simple Interactions

A Workshop to Notice and Understand Everyday Human Interactions with Children and Adults

Simple, everyday interactions are the building blocks of healthy human relationships. This is an interactive and practice-focused workshop to notice and understand human interactions between children, caregivers, and educators. In this workshop, we will be using the “Simple Interactions” approach to closely examine adult-child interactions in everyday contexts. We will practice appreciative “noticing” and reflective “wondering” to understand the dynamics within even the simplest human interactions. We will discuss how these interactions weave together four basic building blocks of the human relationship – connection, reciprocity, inclusion, and opportunity to grow – to make positive developmental impacts. We will also extend these principles to reflect on the “parallel processes” of adult-adult interactions that support professionals and families. The Simple Interactions is a free, non-commercial, publicly accessible resources at 

Dr. Junlei Li

Co-Chair of Human Development and Education Program & Saul Zaentz Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Junlei Li, Ph.D. is 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 focus on understanding and supporting the work of helpers – those who serve children and families on the frontlines of education and social services. Working in orphanages, schools, and youth programs from North America to China, he develops the "Simple Interactions" approach to help identify what ordinary people do extraordinarily well with children in everyday moments. Dr. Li teaches about improving human interactions and supporting helpers, and delivers keynote addresses and workshops for child-serving professionals nationally and internationally