CYNTHIA LIGHTFOOT is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University, USA, and Division Head of Health and Human Development for the Commonwealth College. She is currently Vice President of the Jean Piaget Society. MICHAEL COLE is Professor of Psychology, Communication and Human Development at the University of California, USA. He is based at University College San Diego, USA, where he is the Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition. SHEILA R. COLE is a former journalist who specialized in writing about families, children, development and education.