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Kean University


Ed.D., Human Development & Psychology, Harvard University
Ed.M., Language & Literacy, Harvard University
M.A., Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
B.A., Psychology with a minor in Linguistics, Barnard College, Columbia University


Dr. Jennifer Chen is a tenured full professor and chair of the Department of Early Childhood Education at Kean University. She has served in various leadership positions, including as the former president of the New Jersey Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NJAECTE), the former co-president of the NJAECTE, and a former board director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Fulbright Association. Prof. Chen actively engages in research in the areas of early childhood education and psychology. Most recently, she has developed a great interest in the use/overuse/misuse of AI-generative technology for educational purposes. Prof. Chen is a nationally- and internationally-respected scholar, with more than 80 authored/co-authored scholarly publications, including three books, co-edited volumes, and many refereed research articles. Prof. Chen is also an award-winning researcher, distinguished scholar, distinguished college teacher, and research mentor. The honors that have been bestowed on Prof. Chen in recognizing her outstanding scholarly work include the 2022 NJAECTE’s Distinguished Scholarship in Early Childhood Teacher Education/Early Childhood Education Award, the 2021 Kean Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Scholarship, the 2020 NAECTE (National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators) Foundation Established Career Award for Research on Early Childhood Teacher Education, the Kean Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Kean Faculty Research Mentor of the Year award, a Fulbright Scholar research award, a book winner award, and many University research awards. Most recently, Prof. Chen was named a 2023 Exchange Leader in the Exchange Leadership Initiative. She was also honored with the 2023 Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator award from the NAECTE Foundation. 

Most Recent Publications

Co-authored book:

Li. H., & Chen, J J. (2023). The glocalization of early childhood curriculum: Global childhoods, local curriculaRoutledge. ISBN13: 9781032229508

Co-edited book:

Brillante, P., Chen, J. J., Cuevas, S. et al. (Eds.) (2023). Casebook: Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. NAEYC. ISBN-13:9781952331121

Journal Articles:

Chen, J. J., & Lin, J. C. (2024). The double-edged sword of artificial intelligence: Wielding the POWER principles to maximize its positive effects and minimize its negative effects. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 25(1) 146–153.

Chen, J. J. (2024). In search of silver linings in teaching during COVID-19: A study of early childhood teachers’ perspectives. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and practice, 30(1), 49-70.

Chen, J. J. (2023). Reflecting on reflection among early childhood teachers: A study of reflection for, in, and on action intersecting with the technical, practical, and critical dimensions. Reflective Practice, 24(3), 324-346.

Chen, J. J. (2023). Pedagogical adaptability as an essential capacity: Reflective practice of applying theory to practice among first-year early childhood teachers during remote instruction. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 44(4), 723-746.

Chen, J., J., & O’Donnell, B. (2023). Facilitating children’s social and emotional development in virtual learning: Implications for in-person teaching. Kappa Delta Pi Record58(S1), 82-86.

Chen, J. J., & Adams, C. B. (2023). Drawing from and expanding their toolboxes: Preschool teachers’ traditional strategies, unconventional opportunities, and novel   challenges in scaffolding young children’s social and emotional learning during remote instruction amidst COVID-19. Early Childhood Education Journal, 51, 925-937

Chen, J. J., & Rivera-Vernazza, D. (2023). Communicating digitally: Building preschool teacher-parent partnerships via digital technologies during COVID-19. Early Childhood Education Journal, 51, 1189-1203

Chen, J. J., & Perez, C. (2023). Enhancing assessment and personalized learning through artificial intelligence. Childhood Education99(6), 72-79.

Chen, J. J. (2023). Neoliberalism and neocolonialism in the mix: Evidence of glocalization in the globalization-localization dynamics of early childhood practices in Hong Kong. Policy Futures in Education

Chen, J. J., & Garcia, M. M. (2023). Teaching demands and resources: Early childhood teachers’ experiences of remote and hybrid instruction during COVID-19 in the United States. Education 3-13.

Chen, J. J., & Li, H. (2023). Tian Shi (timing) Di Li (context) Ren He (human capital): A new theoretical framework for analyzing the implementability of imported early childhood practices and making a case for a hybrid model. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 37(2), 292-309.

Chen, J. J., & Krieger, N. J. (2023). Learning gain rather than learning loss during COVID-19: A proposal for reframing the narrative. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 24(1), 82-86.

Chen, J. J., Kacerek, C. R., & Ruiz, M. (2023). The letter-naming benchmarks, growth profiles, and the efficacy of an interactive learning app on uppercase letter-name learning for preschool children. International Journal of Technology in Education (IJTE), 6(1), 113-135.

Chen, J. J., & Badolato, H. (2023). Scaffolding social and emotional learning in preschool children from low-income backgrounds: A study of teacher strategies during COVID-19. Education 3-13.

Chen, J. J. (2023). Leadership at play in preschool children: A systematic synthesis of nearly nine decades of research. Early Education and Development, 34(1), 1-26.

Chen, J. J. (2022). Between the foreground and the background lies the middle ground: Painting a harmonious early childhood curriculum landscape. ECNU Review of Education. 5(2), 328-337.

Chen, J. J., & Othman, R. O. (2022). At the helm of navigating the remote instruction terrain. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 58(4), 178–182.

Chen, J. J., & Kacerek, C. (2022). Leaders and followers during sociodramatic play: A study of racial/ethnic minority preschool children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Journal of Research in Childhood Education36(3), 517-540.

Chen, J. J. (2022). Assessing preschool children’s letter-name knowledge: Responsive practices. Kappa Delta Pi Record58(3), 130-135.

Chen, J. J., Li, Z., Rodrigues, W., & Kaufman, S. (2022). Thriving beyond resilience despite stress: A psychometric evaluation of the newly developed Teacher Stress Scale and the Teacher Thriving Scale. Frontiers in Psychology. 13:862342.

Chen, J. J. (2022). Self-compassion as key to stress resilience among first-year early childhood teachers during COVID-19: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Teaching and Teacher Education, 111.