Developmental Psychology and Child

Topics: Developmental psychology, Ecological Systems Theory, Urie Bronfenbrenner Pages: 8 (2993 words) Published: February 4, 2013
Urie Bronfenbrenner was a psychologist who was born in 1917, and he was regarded as one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of developmental psychology. His ecological systems theory holds that development reflects the influence of several environmental systems, and it identifies five environmental systems with which an individual interacts. He analyzed four types of systems that aid in human development, they include the microsystem, mesosytem, the exosystem, the macrosystem , and finally he developed the fifth system, the chronosystem. All these systems as Bronfenbrenner stated have rules, norms, and at the same time roles that shape development of human beings. For example, an inner-city family faces many challenges which an affluent family in a gated community does not, and vice versa. The inner-city family is more likely to experience environmental hardships, like crime and squalor. On the other hand the sheltered family is more likely to lack the nurturing support of extended family. Since its publication in 1979, Bronfenbrenner's major statement of this theory, The Ecology of Human Development  has had widespread influence on the way psychologists and others approach the study of human beings and their environments. As a result of his groundbreaking work in "human ecology", these environments — from the family to economic and political structures — have come to be viewed as part of the life course from childhood through adulthood. Bronfenbrenner has identified Soviet developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky and German-born psychologist Kurt Lewin as important influences on his theory. There are many different theories related to human development. The ecological theory emphasizes environmental factors as playing the major role to development. Ecological Systems Theory was developed to explain how everything in a child and the child’s environment affects how a child grows and develops. He labeled different aspects or levels of the environment that influence children’s development including the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystme, and chronosystem. It holds that the development is the result of the relationships between people and their environments. Each of these systems depends on the contextual nature of the person’s life and offers an overgrowing diversity of options and sources of growth. For example, because we potentially have access to these “systems” we are able to have more social knowledge, an increased set of possibilities for learning problem solving and access to new knowledge (Swick and Williams, 2006). The systems identified by Bonfrenbenner which plays an important role n the human development from childhood to adulthood are: The Microsystem

Consisting of the child’s most immediate environment (physically, socially and psychologically), this core entity stands as the child’s venue for initially learning about the world. As the child’s most intimate learning setting, it offers him or her a reference point of the world. It may provide the nurturing centerpiece for the child or become a haunting set of memories of one’s earliest encounters with violence (Rogoff, 2003). The real power in this initial set of interrelations with family for the child is what they experience in terms of developing trust and mutuality with their significant people (Pipher, 1996). The family is clearly the child’s early microsystem for learning how to live. The caring relations between child and parents (and many other caregivers) can help to influence a healthy personality (Swick, 2004). For example, the attachment behaviors of parents offer children their first trust-building experience (Brazelton & Greenspan, 2000). It refers to the small, immediate environment the child lives in. Children's microsystems will include any immediate relationships or organizations they interacts with, such as their immediate family or caregivers and their school or...
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