50 Early Childhood Strategies for Working and Communicating with Diverse Families

Prentice Hall
Janet Gonzalez-Mena
Juli 2006
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For courses in Parents/Home-School Relations and Multicultural and Multiethnic Early Childhood Education.


50 Early Childhood Strategies for Working and Communicating with Diverse Families is a practical and easy to use text.  The book 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 text 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.  Students 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.


  • 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.

Table of Contents

1.        Advocacy: Parents as Advocates for Their Own Children

2.        Advocacy: Parents Becoming Advocates for All Children

3.        Advocacy: Parents Concerned about School Readiness

4.        Antibias Environment

5.        Assessment

6.        Attachment

7.        Attitudes of Professionals: Examining and Adjusting One's Own

8.        Authority: Adult Behaviors Related To

9.        Authority: Teacher or Parent-Who Has It When?

10.      Behavior Changes: Talking with Parents About

11.      Care and Education: The Link

12.      Care and Education Practices: When Conflicts Arise

13.      Communication: Nonverbal Across Cultures

14.      Communication: Through Writing

15.      Community: Creating a Sense of

16.      Community Resources: Referrals

17.      Competition: Parents and Professionals

18.      Conferences

19.      Conferences: Cross-Cultural

20.      Conflict Management

21.      Conversations: Ongoing--With Families

22.      Culturally Responsive Care and Education

23.      Decision-Making Boards and Councils: Parents' Roles In

24.      Empowerment

25.      Environments for Communication

26.      Family Participation

27.      Family Support Services

28.      Fathers: Focusing On

29.      First Meeting with Families

30.      Home Visits

31.      Immigrant Families

32.      Inclusion of Families of Children with Special Needs

33.      Meetings

34.      Parent Complaints: Working With

35.      Parent Education: A Transformative Approach

36.      Parents in the Center or Classroom

37.      Partnerships: Building Them With Families

38.      Separation: Helping Children and Families

39.      Special Situations: Divorce in the Family

40.      Special Situations: Families Referred for Abusing or Neglecting Their Children

41.      Special Situations: Grandparents as Parents

42.      Special Situations: Parents Who Appear Hostile

43.      Strengths: Focus On

44.      Talking with Families When Concerns Arise

45.      Transitions: Helping Parents Help Their Child Enter the Program

46.      Transitions: Managing the End of the Day

47.      Transitions: Moving On

48.      Treating All Families WithRespect: Including Same-Sex Parents

49.      Understanding and Appreciating Differences

50.      Working With Families Around What You Believe are Harmful Practices




Back Cover

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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).