The Bronfenbrenner Ecological Model: Microsystem

The Bronfenbrenner theory suggests that the microsystem is the smallest and most immediate environment in which children live. As such, the microsystem comprises the daily home, school or daycare, peer group and community environment of the children.

Interactions within the microsystem typically involve personal relationships with family members, classmates, teachers and caregivers. How these groups or individuals interact with the children will affect how they grow.

Similarly, how children react to people in their microsystem will also influence how they treat the children in return. More nurturing and more supportive interactions and relationships will understandably foster they children’s improved development.

One of the most significant findings that Urie Bronfenbrenner unearthed in his study of ecological systems is that it is possible for siblings who find themselves in the same ecological system to experience very different environments.

Therefore, given two siblings experiencing the same microsystem, it is not impossible for the development of them to progress in different manners. Each child’s particular personality traits, such as temperament, which is influenced by unique genetic and biological factors, ultimately have a hand in how he/she is treated by others.

The Bronfenbrenner Ecological Model: Mesosystem

The mesosystem encompasses the interaction of the different microsystems which children find themselves in. It is, in essence, a system of microsystems and as such, involves linkages between home and school, between peer group and family, and between family and community.

According to Bronfenbrenner’s theory, if a child’s parents are actively involved in the friendships of their child, for example they invite their child’s friends over to their house from time to time and spend time with them, then the child’s development is affected positively through harmony and like-mindedness.

However, if the child’s parents dislike their child’s peers and openly criticize them, then the child experiences disequilibrium and conflicting emotions, which will likely lead to negative development.


psychological development
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