Holli Tonyan

Holli Tonyan
(818) 677-4970
Office location:
ST 322


Dr. Tonyan has been a member of the Department of Psychology since 2007.  This appointment follows three years as a Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Monash University in Australia and two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Dr. Tonyan has also served as a consultant, conducting program evaluations for higher education and non-profit agencies.


  • Ph.D. 2001, UCLA. Psychological Studies in Education.
  • M. A. 2000, UCLA. Psychological Studies in Education
  • B.A. 1996, Carleton College (MN). Psychology.

Courses Taught

  • PSY 313: Developmental Psychology
  • PSY 301: Pre-Professional Development in Psychology
  • PSY 302: Human Learning in the Formative Years
  • PSY485GT/S: Advanced Inquiry in Research Methods – Grounded Theory & Seminar
  • PSY612: Contemporary Problems in Child Psychology
  • PSY581: The Teaching of Psychology
  • PSY500: Professional Development in Psychology

**Currently accepting new research assistants.
Visit website for more info.: /~htonyan/

Selected Publications and Presentations

Bold indicates student author

Recent Publications

Blasberg, A., Bromer, J., Nugent, C., Porter, T., Shivers, E.M., Tonyan, H., Tout, K., & Weber, B. (2019). A Conceptual Model for Quality in Home-Based Child Care. OPRE Report #2019-37. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mimura, Y., Cai, Y., Tonyan, H., & Koonce, J.  (2019). Resource well-being among family child care business owners. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 40, 408-422.

Paredes, E., Hernandez, E., Herrera, A., & Tonyan, H.A.  (online first).  Putting the “family” in family child care: The alignment between familismo (familism) and family child care providers’ descriptions of their work.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly

Tonyan, H.A., Paulsell, D. & Shivers, E.M.  (2017). Understanding and incorporating home-based child care into early education and development systems.  Early Education and Development, 28, 633-639

Tonyan, H.A. (2017).  Opportunities to practice what is locally valued: An ecocultural perspective on quality in family child care.  Early Education and Development, 28, 727-744.

Tonyan, H.A., Nuttall, J., Torres, J., & Bridgewater, J.  (2017).  Engaging with quality improvement initiatives: A descriptive study of learning in the complex and dynamic context of everyday life for family child care providers.  Early Education and Development, 28, 684-704.

Extramural Grants & Contracts

  • Principal Investigator, $149,790, Are You In El Dorado?  First 5 California (Agreement No. CFF-7357).  January 1, 2015-December 31, 2015.
  • Principal Investigator, $998,847, Are You In?  A Systems-Level Mixed-Method Analysis of the Effects of Quality Improvement Initiatives.  A Child Care Policy Research Partnership awarded by the US Administration for Children and Families Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (Grant Award No. 90YE0153).  September 30, 2013 – September 29, 2017.  For more information, see

Research Interests

My research examines children's development as part of social and cultural contexts. My interests are quite broad, but my research has focused on infancy through early childhood (before starting school) and social and emotional aspects of development. I have particular expertise in attachment theory, socio-cultural historical activity theory (SCHAT, following Vygotsky's legacy), ethology (drawing on evolutionary biology), mixed-methods, observational methods, and exploratory/graphic data analysis.  Recent projects focus on in-home non-parental child care, specifically licensed family child care, commonly referred to as “home day care.”


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