Meléndez is the director of the Bilingual/ESL Certificate Program at Erikson. She taught in this program while completing her doctorate at Erikson; she also has served as an internship adviser, student adviser, and leader of integrative seminar courses.

Professor Meléndez is a former kindergarten teacher and bilingual early childhood teacher who has taught for more than twenty years both in the United States and in her native Dominican Republic. Her professional interests include teacher knowledge and the role of culture in the teaching and learning process.

Areas of Expertise

Early childhood education; educating young English language learners; impact of culture on teaching-learning process; teacher education and professional development


B.A. in psychology, Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena, Dominican Republic
M.Ed. in early childhood education, Erikson Institute-Loyola University Chicago
Ph.D. in Child Development, Erikson Institute/Loyola University Chicago.

Related Experience

  • Doctoral Fellowship, Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois, Loyola University, Chicago, IL, 2003-2007
  • ELI Fellowship, Enlace Leadership Institute, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL, 2005-2006
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL, 2001-2003


  • Member, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Workgroup-Illinois Early Learning Council, Spring 2009 to present
  • Member, Workforce Diversity Workgroup-Illinois Early Learning Council, Summer 2009 to present
  • Member, Acuerdo Workgroup-Latino Policy Forum
    Chicago, IL, Spring 2009 to present


Dissertation: “Pedagogical content knowledge in early childhood: A study of teachers’ knowledge.” This study explores how different kinds of teachers’ knowledge converge in early childhood teachers’ discussion of students and curricula.

Research assistant, Bridging: Assessment for Teaching Project, 2001-06.

Recent Publications

Ray, A. & Melendez, L Creating Multicultural and Linguistically Responsive Early Childhood Classrooms. In J. P. Roopnarine & J. Johnson (Eds.) (2011) Approaches to Early Childhood Education (2011)

Chen, J.Q. & McNamee, G.D. with Masur, A., McCray, J. & Melendez, L. (2007). Bridging: Assessment for teaching and learning in Pre-K to 3rd grade. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Meléndez, R.L. (2005). Parental beliefs and practices around early self-regulation: The impact of culture and immigration. Infants and Young Children, 18 (2) 136-146.

McNamee, G., Chen, J., Masur, A., McCray & Meléndez, R.L. (2002). Assessing and teaching diverse learners. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 23, 275-282.


“It’s Erikson, and it’s online – What we’ve learned about designing and developing engaging and empowering online experiences.” Donohue, C., Melendez, L., Lane, M. (2010, November). Conference Session, NAEYC Annual Conference, Anaheim, CA.

“Dual Language Learning in Children Birth to Three: Developmental Considerations.” Positive Parenting DuPage/Erikson Institute Dual Language Learners Conference, Naperville, IL, January 2010.

“Building Program Capacity in Response to Young Children’s Linguistic Diversity: Possibilities and Challenges.” Bounce Learning Network Meeting, Miami, FL, October 2009.

“Intentionality in Teaching: Working with Young English Language Learners.” National Association for Bilingual Education-Annual Conference Early Childhood Special Interest Group, Austin, TX, February 2009.

“Action Research: A Story from a Multilingual Classroom.” Annual Statewide Conference for Teachers of Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students, with Judith Bayley, Oak Brook, IL, January 2009.

“Understanding Cultural Differences in Child Rearing,” with Angelica Velez. Interactivity 2007: Annual Conference of the Association of Children’s Museums, Chicago, May 2007.

“Assessment for Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms,” with Gillian McNamee, Jie-Qi Chen, and Ann Masur. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, April 2007.

“Cultural Attitudes toward Child-Rearing, Play and Learning.” Professional development workshop for Chicago Children’s Museum staff, Erikson Institute, Chicago, January and February 2006.

“Does Subject Matter for Early Childhood Teachers? Voices from the Classroom,”with Jie-Qi Chen and Gillian McNamee. National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, D.C., December 2005.

“Diversity in the Early Childhood Classroom: Implications for Learning and Teaching,” with Stephanie Bynum and Jean Robbins. 35th Annual Black Child Development Institute, Orlando, Florida, October 2005.

“Building Multidirectional Bridges through Classroom Assessment,” with Jie-Qi Chen and Gillian McNamee. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, April 2004.

“Assessing what children know and planning what to do next,” with Gillian McNamee. National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Meeting, Chicago, November 2003.