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50 Early Childhood Strategies for Working and Communicating with Diverse Families is a practical and easy to use book. It presents key concepts, discusses them in research-based, accessible prose, and provides useful strategies to facilitate communication and collaboration. The book focuses on family-centered care and education for young children and emphasizes partnering with families. Many of the strategies in this book address ideas about how to create a climate of trust by communicating in a collaborative way. The goal is to create inclusive programs that respect and honor differences in families and individuals. Teachers will love the fifty short chapters with information they can apply immediately. At the heart of all these strategies lies the welfare of the child.
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Janet Gonzalez-Mena taught in the California university and community college systems for 35 years. She was on the full-time faculty at Napa Valley College in the Child and Family Studies Department for 15 years until her retirement. Janet started her early childhood career in a cooperative preschool as a parent volunteer back in 1966. She became a preschool teacher and taught in three types of programs including Head Start, a program for Spanish-speaking children and their families and a home-based preschool program. Later she became a director of child care programs and helped open several pilot projects including a therapeutic child care program and an infant-center.
Besides preschool, Janet’s special interests include working with parents, diversity, family child care, and infants. In the 1970’s she studied with Magda Gerber, an infant expert from Hungary. Recently she has studied at the Pikler Institute in Budapest where Magda came from. Janet has written 4 ECE textbooks, plus a book on diversity and 2 parenting books, including a humorous one that is called Dragon Mom. Presently Janet is involved in helping create a training project called “Strengthening Family and Professional Partnerships” with the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In 2002 she co-authored Bridging Cultures in ECE, a training manual, also for WestEd. She has been on the faculty of WestEd’s Program for Infant-Toddler Care training of trainer institutes since 1991. Since 1998 she has been on the faculty of Beginning Together, another training of trainer institute for helping professionals learn to include children with special needs in early care and education programs.
Janet lives in a multicultural family in a state where there is no longer a majority culture. In California, everyone now is a minority. Janet earned a B.A. in English from University of California, Davis (1959) and a M.A. in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College (1976).
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