50 Strategies for Communicating and Working With Diverse Families

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-08-09
  • Publisher: Pearson
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50 Early Childhood Strategies for Working and Communicating with Diverse Familiesis a practical and easy to use book.#xA0;#xA0;It presents key concepts, discusses them in research-based, accessible prose, and provides useful strategies to facilitate communication and collaboration.#xA0; The book focuses on family-centered care and education for young children and emphasizes partnering with families.#xA0; Many of the strategies in this book address ideas about how to create a climate of trust by communicating in a collaborative way.#xA0; The goal is to create inclusive programs that respect and honor differences in families and individuals.#xA0; Teachers will love the fifty short chapters with information they can apply immediately.#xA0; At the heart of all these strategies lies the welfare of the child. #xA0; FEATURES: Emphasizes the importance of partnerships between teachers and family members. Stresses the integral components of communication between diverse families and teachers or administrators. Raises the important issue of respecting the various diversities and cultures that exist in today's classrooms. Reader-friendly writing style and the alphabetic arrangement of the strategies-interesting, understandable, and easy to find what the student or teacher is looking for. Interwoven, cross-referenced strategies-integrity throughout the book as the relationships between the strategies are highlighted; one strategy often mentions several other strategies that pertain to the same subject. Broad coverage: spans ages 0-8 in a variety of different care and education settings-applies to early childhood educators at all levels-not exclusive to Pre-K; also includes child care, but not exclusively. Goes beyond mere parent involvement and education-closely examines how a partnership may include both, but is different from the more common approaches early childhood educators often take to working with parents; promotes a family-centered approach instead of a child-centered one that is common practice. Photos and artifacts illustrate the messages-these visual images are designed to help readers grasp information and enliven the book. #xA0; New to this Edition! #xA0; Strategies organized by categories, rather than alphabetically. Emphasis on kindergarten and primary grade teachers. Diversity theme at forefront of strategies. New subjects covered include: working with families to maintain home language, holidays in the classroom, media issues, improving child nutrition, children playing outdoors, and dealing with death in the family.

Author Biography

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).

Table of Contents

Welcoming Everybody
Appreciating all Kinds of Familiesp. 1
Working with Immigrant Familiesp. 3
Including Families of Children with Special Needsp. 6
Creating an Antibias Environmentp. 8
Respecting All Families, Including Those with Same-Sex Parentsp. 11
Partnerships with Families
Building Partnershipsp. 13
Removing Barriers to Partnershipsp. 15
Minimizing Competition with Parentsp. 18
Supporting Attachmentp. 20
Considering Authorityp. 23
Focusing on Family Strengthsp. 25
Helping Parents to Be Advocates for Their Childrenp. 28
Encouraging Parents to Become Advocates for all Childrenp. 30
Creating a Sense of Communityp. 33
Honoring and Working with Diversity
Understanding and Appreciating Cultural Differencesp. 36
Establishing Culturally Responsive Education and Carep. 39
Working with Conflicts Around Education and Care Practicesp. 41
Considering Cultural Differences in Guidance and Disciplinep. 43
Working with Families Around what you Believe Are Harmful Practicesp. 45
Thinking about Differing Ideas Related to How Children Learnp. 47
Managing Conflictsp. 50
Family Participation and Education
Considering Family Participationp. 54
Including Parents in the Classroom or Centerp. 58
Focusing on Fathersp. 61
Taking a Transformative Approach to Parent Educationp. 64
Working with Parents around Holiday Issuesp. 66
Exploring Parents' Role on Decision-Making Boards and Councilsp. 68
Creating Environments for Communicationp. 71
Empowering Self and Othersp. 73
Communicating Through Writingp. 75
Holding Ongoing Conversations with Familiesp. 78
Looking at Nonverbal Communication Across Culturesp. 80
Meetings and Conferences
Meeting with Families for the First Timep. 82
Thinking about Meetings in Generalp. 85
Holding Conferencesp. 87
Considering Cross-Cultural Conferencesp. 90
Talking with Families when Concerns Arisep. 92
Working with Parents around Specific Issues
Helping the Child Enter the School or Programp. 94
Maintaining Home Languagep. 97
Easing Children Through Transitionsp. 99
Bringing Nature into Children's Livesp. 101
Addressing Obesity with Nutritionp. 104
Dealing with Media Issuesp. 106
Maintaining Stability During Divorcep. 109
Coping with a Death in the Familyp. 111
Finding Community Resources and making Referralsp. 113
Challenging Conversations
Working with Parents who Constantly Complainp. 115
Working with Parents who Appear Hostilep. 117
Talking with Parents about Behavior Changesp. 119
Referring Families for Abuse or Neglectp. 121
Referencesp. 123
Indexp. 129
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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