Growth and development is a lifelong process anchored on the experiences of early childhood years. As children scale the height of age, their apparent interaction with the environment yields substantial influence on their development. Although propositions by earlier educational theorists such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke highlight the role of the environment on child development, Urie Bronfenbrenner makes a more plausible explanation. Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory delineates the multi-layer complex ecological system that impacts child development. The microsystem, constituting the family and school settings, is considered most influential to child development (Guy-Evans 2). The mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem make up the additional layers of the environment.
Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory incorporates the inevitable influence of government/political atmosphere, culture, and socioeconomic standards. Culture, classified in the macrosystem, generates an influential belief system that serves to shape child perspectives and attitudes (Paris et al. 36). Family socioeconomic status influences access to resources, exposure to official dialect, and development at large. Poverty, among other socioeconomic statuses, directly affects all aspects of child development. Education, healthcare, nutrition, and basic needs are affected by socioeconomic status (Pace et al. 287). Federal laws, state and government legislation also impact child development. The laws enacted provide for or limit liberties and freedoms, a dimension that shapes perspectives and attitudes. Additionally, generational characteristics substantially impact child development. Generation-specific occurrences such as the advent and proliferation of technology also influence child development. Children align to generational trends that separate age groups.
Collectively, the various factors in the ecosystem influence child development. Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory presents the environment as a complex multi-layered system segmented in the levels of influence. Family culture and socioeconomic status impact resource access, beliefs, and exposure children grow up with. Generational, state, and government influences add to the impactful environment that shapes child development.
Guy-Evans, Olivia. “Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory.” Retrieved March, vol. 25, 2020, pp. 1–8.
Pace, Amy, et al. “Identifying Pathways between Socioeconomic Status and Language Development.” Annual Review of Linguistics, vol. 3, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 285–308, doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-011516-034226.
Paris, Jennifer, et al. Child Growth and Development. Edited by Alexa Johnson, 1.5, Long Beach City Colleg, 2020, pp. 35-38.