Question! How does the world around the child help or hinder development?
Ecological Systems Theory Development is the result of the relationships between people and their environments.
Implications Cannot evaluate a child’s development only in the immediate environment. Must also examine the interactions among the larger environments that a child develops in.
The FOUR layers Microsystem: Relationships with direct contact to the child Mesosystem: Connection between relationships of child’s microsystem Exosystem: Structures in which child the child does not have direct contact Macrosystem: Cultural context
Based on Bronfenbrenner, U. 1979. The Ecology of Human Development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Microsystem Variables that the child is directly exposed to Relationships: Family, school, religious institution, neighbors
Family: Most influential and durable influence on child
Environment: Geographic, Material structures Child’s body
Brain functioning – physiological and psychological
Most of the child’s behavior is learned in the microsystem The microsystem consists of bi-directional influences
Parents actively shape the development of the child
Children actively shape their environment
Personal attributes influence responses from other people
Children actively select and avoid specific environments
Bi-directional relationships are the foundation for a child’s cognitive and emotional growth
Mesosystem Interconnections between the microsystems Interactions between the family and teachers Relationship between the child’s peers and the family
Exosystem Institutions of society that indirectly affect a child’s development Parent’s workplace Funding for education
These impact a child’s development by influencing structures in the microsystem
Macrosystem Cultural context Provides the values, beliefs, customs, and laws of the culture in which a child grows up Influences how parents, teachers, and others raise a child May be conscious or unconscious Influences the societal values, legislation, and financial resources provided by a society to help families function Influences the interactions of all other layers
Properties of the four layers Each layer has an effect on a child’s development Each layer is complex Conflict within any layer ripples throughout other layers
Integrates multiple influences on child development
Does not provide detailed mechanisms for development
Implications for Education Primary relationship must be intended to last a lifetime
Teachers need to work to support the primary child-adult relationship
Schools should create an environment that welcomes and nurtures families
Education should foster societal attitudes that value all work done on behalf of children