Urie Bronfenbrenner developed the Ecological SystemsTheory to explain how influential inherent qualities and the environment are inshaping human development. The bioecological model was evolved byBronfenbrenner’s original ecological theory and is a theoretical system for thestudy of human development over time (Bronfenbrenner, U. and Morris, 2006).
Bronfenbrenner’sBioecological Model is centred on the child as an active agent in their ownworld, and the impact a change of surroundings has for a developing personlives (Bronfenbrenner, 1989). The personality traits, age, temperament,cognitive development, self-esteem etc. of the child influence and areinfluenced by the other levels of the bioecological system. Bronfenbrennerbelieved that the home background is a key factor in determining a child’ssuccess at school. Children from lower socio economic background benefitted moreby being in a class with children from higher socio economic backgrounds (Hayes,N., O’Toole, L.
and Halpenny, A. (2017). This highlights the importance of integrationin early year’s settings to best ensure an equal start across all social classes. Bronfenbrenner organises the person’s environment intofive different levels in which anindividual interacts directly or indirectly: the micro-system, the mesosystem,the exosystem, the macrosystem, and the chronosystem, each nested within theothers logical system. Micro-System: The micro system is the most influential layer ofthe nested systems. It has direct effect on an individual’s relationships,interactions and immediate surroundings on a regular basis e.g.
school and family.Relationships in a microsystem are bi-directional and involve the most important relationships in a child’s life. Mesosystem: The mesosystem is the level which takes account ofrelations between two or more micro settings such as the individual’s familyand their school teachers/peers.
Interactions between two aspects of the microsystemmust directly influence the development of the child in order to be consideredpart of the mesosystem (Bronfenbrenner and Morris 1998). Bronfenbrennersuggested that a strong relation between two settings (home and early childhoodsetting) can enhance a child’s development. This emphasises the importance of havingan open, communicative relationship between educators and parents in order tobe on the same page in regards to behavioural expectations at home and atschool. Exosystem: The exosystem refers to a setting that does notinvolve the developing person as an active participant but still affects the personindirectly (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 25). This is evident when a parent isfrustrated in the workplace and consequently comes home and vents theirfrustration on their children. Macrosystem: The fourth level of the ecological systems theory isthe macro-system.
It consists of the wider pattern of ideology and organisationof social and cultural environment in which the child lives (Bronfenbrenner,1979, p. 25). Children’s development can be effected in either a positive or negativeway in the macro-system depending on the individual child’s social background. Chronosystem: The chronosystem refers to the patterning ofenvironmental events and transitions that happens throughout a child’s life andimpact on the development of the person (Bronfenbrenner, 1995; Bronfenbrennerand Morris, 2006). The chronosystem also considers the effect ofsociohistorical conditions in which a child develops. This system demonstratesthe influence of change and constancy in the child’s environment.