Written in an accessible style for all those who work with young children or will, the author asks the reader to think of the child in the context of the family and community. Reorganized and updated, the book continues to examine developmental theory, but now with a greater emphasis on Bronfenbrenner's theory of ecological development, discussed in Chapter 1, and more on the importance of contexts of development woven throughout. The book goes beyond encouraging mere parent involvement to how to develop a true collaboration and working relationship through good communication. It also continues to have strong coverage of cultural diversity and present personal examples and vignettes. The text explores many hot-button issues of the day such as supporting self-esteem, discipline, attachment, coping with separation, teen parents, child-abuse, children with ADHD, shy children, aggressive children, conflict resolution, problem solving, and gender issues. Full of real life examples and personal insights, the book is designed and written for not just teachers, but caregivers, child-care workers, and parents. All readers are expected to reach into their own experience, knowledge, ideas and insights to make sense of the new information in the text in the context of their own lives.
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. Janet started her early childhood career in a cooperative preschool as a parent volunteer 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 to 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 1970s she studied with Magda Gerber, an infant expert from Hungary. Recently she has studied at the Pikler Institute in Budapest where Magda came from. Presently Janet is involved in helping create a training project called “Strengthening Family and Professional Partnerships” with NAEYC. Janet is the author of four early childhood education textbooks, plus a book on diversity and two parenting books. In 2002 she co-authored Bridging Cultures in ECE, a training manual for WestEd. She has been on the faculty of WestEd’s Program for Infant-Toddler Care training trainers since 1991. For the last 10 years she has also been on the faculty of Beginning Together, an organization that trains professionals to include children with special needs in early care and education programs.
Janet lives in a multicultural family in California, a state where there is no longer a majority culture; everyone now is a minority. Janet earned a B.A. in English from University of California, Davis and a M.A. in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College.