Jean Maycock Larsen has devoted her life to families—her own and countless others who have been influenced by her research, classes, and programs. During Jean’s 15 years as coordinator of the BYU Early Childhood Education Program, she oversaw the collaboration between the School of Family Life and the McKay School of Education. Her programs emphasized developmentally appropriate practices. She included parent education as a crucial part of her programs and involved parents in their children’s BYU preschool classes.
Among Jean’s research projects was a longitudinal study on “The Impact of Preschool on Educationally Advantaged Children.” It involved many students, extended for decades, and led to numerous presentations, publications, and careers. She served as a mentor to undergraduates and graduates, generously providing opportunities for them to become involved in research, participate in presentations, and co-author publications. Her concern for her students extended beyond their graduation.
Jean’s LDS Church service and callings utilized her knowledge and expertise in child development. She served on the Church Family Home Evening Writing Committee, authored the Relief Society mother enrichment training materials, and co-authored a guidebook, workbook, and audiotape for training nursery leaders.
Jean has also been active in local, state, national, and international organizations and advisory boards and has served as a consultant on early childhood matters. She has worked with the Governor’s Literacy Initiative, the State Office of Child Care, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, to name a few.
Jean worked at BYU for 42 years. She graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and served a mission in Argentina before earning a master’s degree in child development. Later she earned a PhD from the University of Utah in educational psychology. After teaching in the public schools, she joined the BYU faculty in 1960.
Jean and her late husband, Dean, are the parents of four and grandparents of 17. In retirement, Jean is deeply involved with her family; she also volunteers regularly at the temple and in the community. Jean says her life continues to be complete and fulfilling.