Developmental Psychology and Child

Topics: Developmental psychology, Urie Bronfenbrenner, Ecological Systems Theory Pages: 5 (1443 words) Published: February 9, 2011
Urie Bronfenbrenner was a renowned Russian-born American Psychologist, Known for his work in child development. He is also known as co-founder of the head start program in the United States for disadvantage pre-school children. Bronfenbrenner was one of the first psychologists to adopt a holistic perspective on human development and is generally regarded as one of the world's leading scholars to focus on the interplay between research and policy on child development.. His Ecological system theory had a widespread influence on the way psychologists and other social scientists approach the study of human beings and their environments. Bronfenbrenner emphasized the importance of the social environments in which children are raised for example: a child growing up witnessing the breakdown of the family could lead to the child’s ever growing rates of alienation, apathy, rebellion, delinquency and violence among youth. This work led to new directions in research and in the design of programs and policies affecting the well-being of children and families. One of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s strong beliefs was that the family should be the main influence in the child’s life. He believed in keeping the family together and ensuring that children have regular lengthy time with their parents, not just short periods of ‘quality time.’

As educators of children particularly of pre-school age Urie Bronrenner’s view of socio-cultural development gives us an understanding of every child’s social and emotional development by examining the 5 components of his theory. Microsystem


The aim of the ecological systems theory is to explain how everything in a child and the child's environment affects how a child grows and develops.

Changes or conflict in any one layer will ripple throughout other layers. To study a child’s development then, we must look not only at the child’s immediate environment, but also at the interaction of the larger environment

And this is how Urie Bronfenbrenner drew up his Ecological system as a diagram

Starting off with of course the child and then the first layer inhabiting the child’s life which is the microsystem

Microsystem -This is the layer closest to the child and contains the structures with which the child has direct contact. Structures in the microsystem include FAMILY, SCHOOL, NEIGHBOURHOOD, or CHILD CARE ENVIROMENTS (of course these interactions and influences can differ from child to child). At this level, relationships have impact in two directions - both away from the child and toward the child. For example, a child’s parents may affect his beliefs and behaviour; however, the child also affects the behaviour and beliefs of the parent. Bronfenbrenner calls these bi-directional influences. The interaction of structures within a layer and interactions of structures between layers is key to this theory. At the microsystem level, bi-directional influences are strongest and have the greatest impact on the child. However, interactions at outer levels can still impact the inner structures. For EXAMPLE if a child has dyslexia the parent will have strong beliefs in assisting all children with reading

The Mesosystem – This layer provides the connection between the structures of the child’s microsystem. EXAMPLES the connection between the child’s teacher and his parents, between his church and his neighbourhood, a child who experiences parental rejection may have difficulty with school or certain peer influences may cause family turmoil.

The Exosystem – this layer defines the larger social system in which the child does not function directly. The structures in this layer impact the child’s development by interacting with some structure in the microsystem. For example PARENT WORKPLACE SCHEDULES or COMMUNITY-BASED FAMILY RESOURCES. The child may not be directly involved at this level, but he does feel the positive or negative force involved with...
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