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NCC to Host 2013 Infant Toddler Institute; A Day with Janet Gonzalez-Mena on Sept. 27

Norwalk Community College will host the 2013 Infant and Toddler Institute; A Day with Janet Gonzalez-Mena from 8:30 a.m. a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, September 27 in the East Campus building.

Guest speaker Janet Gonzalez-Mena is a nationally renowned early childhood education expert. She is a former community college instructor and the author of 13 definitive books on early childhood education including “The Program in Infant Toddler Care (PITC) Caregiver Guide on Routines.”

At the Institute, she will present a program on The Three R’s of Infant-Toddler Care Based on Relationships (Respectful, Responsive and Reciprocal). These three-R relationships are relevant to parents/families and anyone who works with or cares for children. The daylong program will include information on “caregiving, respectful approaches and cultural differences.”

Gonzalez-Mena has written many college textbooks including “Foundations of Early Childhood Education: Teaching Children in a Diverse Society,” “Infants, Toddlers and Caregivers: A Curriculum of Respectful, Responsive Care and Education,” and “Child, Family and Community: Family-Centered Early Care and Education.”

Participants are invited to attend a book-signing with Gonzalez-Mena and take tours of the NCC Child Development Laboratory School. The CDLS is a state-wide model of outstanding, age-appropriate care.

The Infant Toddler Institute will be of special interest to early childhood educators, mental health and social service consultants, licensing and training specialists, Early Head Start managers, psychologists, college professors, allied health workers, Family and Consumer Science high school teachers, as well as parents and anyone affiliated with programs that serve children ages birth to three and their families.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided. In lieu of a registration fee, participants are invited to make a donation ($25 suggested) to the Norwalk and Gateway Community Colleges Early Childhood Education Club for activities that support early childhood programs.

The 2013 Infant Toddler Institute is jointly sponsored by Norwalk Community College, the Connecticut Head Start Collaboration Office, Connecticut Charts-A-Course, Gateway Community College, the University of Connecticut, The Connecticut Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Center, and Learn: Soaring to New Heights.

Click here to register

To register, contact Margaret Dana-Conway, NCC Professor of Early Childhood Education, at:

Bio of Janet Gonzalez-Mena
Janet Gonzalez-Mena started her early childhood career in a cooperative preschool as a parent volunteer back in 1966. She later became a Head Start volunteer and worked as a teacher in a preschool for Spanish-speaking children and their families in 1970's. She has also helped open several pilot programs including a therapeutic child care program and a home-based bilingual preschool program.
When famous early childhood educator Magda Gerber came into her life in the mid-1970's, Gonzalez-Mena signed up for an internship with Gerber at the Children's Health Council in Menlo Park, California. Gerber was known for her parenting philosophies and insights into infant behavior. As a result of that experience, later, when Gonzalez-Mena became a child care director, she was able to incorporate much of what she learned into her work and was influential in expanding that program to include an infant center. Training and teaching adults has always been sideline, even when she was working with children and families.
Gonzalez-Mena worked as a Head Start trainer and as adjunct faculty in four community colleges and the University of California Santa Cruz credential extension program. She taught for 15 years as a full-time faculty member at Napa Valley College in the Child and Family Studies Program. Since 1991, she has been part of the faculty for WestEd's Program for Infant-Toddler Caregivers (PITC) Training of Trainer Institutes.
Gonzalez-Mena has been writing and with teaching for all these years and is author of numerous articles and 13 books related to early childhood, including “Foundations of Early Childhood Education”; “Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers” (with co-author Dianne Eyer); and “Diversity in Early Care and Education: Honoring Differences” (Formerly Multicultural Issues in Child Care). She wrote “Dragon Mom” about herself as parent to help early childhood professionals alleviate guilt when their parenting doesn't live up to their high standards.
Her latest passion is understanding more about the Pikler Institute in Budapest, Hungary, where Magda Gerber came from. It took her 30 years to get there after she first heard of it, but her first trip to it in November of 2003 merely whetted her appetite. She has made two more visits since and is planning for another one. Gonzalez-Mena is fascinated by the approach and is convinced that this residential nursery is a model for the world. She is continuing to learn more about how this approach can be used to improve infant-toddler care and education programs in the United States. She is also working with a group in Mexico to explore how the approach might fit into their models of residential care for infants and toddlers.
Gonzalez-Mena has a Master of Arts Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks in Pasadena, California.