Theoretical perspectives & curriculum planning paper essay sample

An American Russian psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner introduced his theory on human development called the Ecological Systems Theory 1979. Bronfenbrenner was born in 1917 and was also a co-founder of the Head Start program in the United States for disadvantaged pre-school children. Bronfenbrenner developed the Ecological Theory to explain how everything in a child and the child’s environment affects how a child grows and develops. He labeled different aspects or levels of the environment that influence children’s development, including the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, and the macrosystem. Bronfenbrenner stated in 1979 “…basic science needs public policy even more than public policy needs basic science” (European Association for Counselling, 2011). From that statement he went on to develop his primary contribution of the Ecological Systems Theory, in which he holds that development reflects the influence of several environmental systems identifying five such systems. These systems are described below obtained from (European Association for Counselling, 2011)

Microsystem: The Microsystem is the small environment the child lives in. This is where the most direct interaction takes place for example through interaction with teachers, parents and peer group. The most important learning period of human life is the first four years of life; even then the individual is not a passive recipient of experiences but is instrumental in constructing the settings. It is how these individuals and organisations interact with the child that hase a profund effect on how the child grows. Mesosystem: This refers to the relationship between different parts of the microsystems and how they work together for the good of the child. For example the relation of family experience with the experience of school experiences and family experience to the experience of a peer group. It could be that children who reject a positive student teacher relationship may have experienced rejection in the family environment. The positive involvement of a parent or carer in the school environment or external activity such as sports days can play a very positive role in the child’s overall growth.

Exosystem: Here the individual may not play an active role the home experience may be influenced by a parents experience at work. Conflict may arise if one parent for example gains a promotion that involves more travel away from the home environment or longer hours at their place of work which changes their pattern of behavior with the child and could have a negative effect. Perhaps this is more emphasized if a bred-winning parent loses their job and the family find the grind of finding money to pay household bills an increasing burden whereas a parent or step parent increasing their income through promotion without the need for extra travel or longer work hours can have a positive effect on the child with the resultant extra disposable income with the parents better situated to provide for the child’s needs. Macrosystem: This is the final level of the Ecological System of Bronfenbrenner it deals with the largest and most remote people and things that have an influence over a child’s life. National Government, the economy, wars, and cultural values and the relative freedoms they provide all play their part in this system.

There is a positive and negative influence on the child from the macrosystem. (European Association for Counselling, 2011) I chose Bronfenbrenner’s Theory because it helps children with their physical, social/emotional, language and cognitive development. Children learn from parents, peers, caregivers, neighborhoods, churches, etc. Children are like sponges, they soak up every piece of information that they run across. The children learn physical, social/emotional, language and cognitive skills from the Microsystem aspect of Bronfenbrenner theory. When babies are first born, parents teach them everything. Infants learn physical development when parents lay them on their tummies for tummy time. Caregivers provide them with outside time to gain more physical growth. They develop their social/emotional skills from parent interaction and teacher interactions. They learn how to express themselves and become socially involved with others. Language is gained from parents and caregivers communicating with them. Those that have bi-lingual parents learn their home-based language and second language from attending a school setting. Their cognitive skills are gained from a school setting. Teachers allow children to problem solve and provide activities that involve children to think critically.

Children also learn physical, social/emotional, language and cognitive skills from the Mesosystem aspect of Bronfenbrenner’s Theory. The same learning that happens in the Microsystems is the same as the Mesosystem. Learning is not only gained from caregivers, parents have to carry the process over in the home setting. Teachers teach the children while they attend school, it is up to the parents to finish the job when the children are at home. Parents can allow the children to play outside or help out around the house to gain physical strength. Parents can invite family members over with children to allow children to socialize. When a child is upset, parents can ask them to express themselves. Parents talk to their child instead of having them watch television all day to develop language. Parents can allow children to problems solve to gain cognitive skills. Children learn physical, social/emotional, language and cognitive skills from the Exosystem aspect of Bronfenbrenner’s Theory. Children who live in poverty that cannot be provided with the school setting can still learn. Parents can still provide them with outside time, communicate with them, and let them solve things for themselves.

Those that are living in foster care can also learn from their social worker or guardian. Children learn physical, social/emotional, language and cognitive skills from the Macrosystem aspect of Bronfenbrenner’s Theory. This part of the theory ascertains that children can learn from those that are around them the most. They can learn family values, physical strength from officers, and language from family and social/emotional from everyone that communicates with them. According to, Wikispaces Bronfenbrenner believes that the ecological system is an active system, which is constantly developing. The size of an individual’s microsystem changes every time they obtain or let go of life roles or surroundings. These changes are crucial to the child’s development. For example: starting school, getting married, starting a first job, having children, moving house/countries, getting divorced, retiring. This form is known as the Chronosystem (chrono meaning ‘ time’). Life changes are enforced from external environments, however, these changes can also occur from inside the individual. This is because humans are able to choose, alter and construct several of their own settings and understandings.

The way in which this occurs is affected by the person’s age, their environment prospects, behavior, and physical and logical characteristics. As a result, in the ecological systems theory, an individual’s development is not determined by environmental factors or internal character. People are products and creators of their own environments. Therefore, both people and their surroundings form a system of mutually dependent effects. (Berk, 2007, p. 25). (The Ecological Systems Theory, n. d.) When working with families to supporting children’s learning, I would inform parents that children learn from observing. I will inspire them to be careful of who they let around their children, what others do around their children and what they allow their child to watch or listen to. Children feel the pain parents feel. They might not be able to express it well enough for parents to understand. The care that infants, toddlers, and twos receive and their experiences during the first 3 years of life have a powerful influence on the way they interact with the world, relate to others, and succeed as learners. As a teacher, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of very young children and their families. (Dodge, 2011)

When planning activities I would put my personal attitudes and opinions to the side and make the children the main focus. Using this theory will help with planning the environment, daily routines, interactions and activities. Using the outside environment will allow the children to gain their physical strength. Daily routines will help children transition into the school setting. Interactions will help children build their social/emotional skills. The activities will help children build cognitive skills. Children who tend to fight, be disruptive, and act out don’t tend to do things just to get under a teacher’s skin. If parents at home constantly are violent, then their child is going to be violent towards his/her friends. Children who are exposed to manners will always say please and thank you to others. Children learn from others. What they see people doing around them is what they are going to do. Parents who let children get away with disobedience have children who will think it is ok to disobey on the caregiver. These are some of my opinions when it comes to teaching infants/toddlers.

(2011). Retrieved from European Association for Counselling: http://www. daviddutch. com/eacnewsletter/january/page6. php Dodge, D. T. (2011). The Creative Curriculum (2 ed., Vol. 1). Teaching Strategies. The Ecological Systems Theory. (n. d.). Retrieved from Wikispace : http://edfd127. wikispaces. com/The+Ecological+Systems+Theory

Works Cited
(2011). Retrieved from European Association for Counselling: http://www. daviddutch. com/eacnewsletter/january/page6. php Dodge, D. T. (2011). The Creative Curriculum (2 ed., Vol. 1). Teaching Strategies. The Ecological Systems Theory. (n. d.). Retrieved from Wikispace : http://edfd127. wikispaces. com/The+Ecological+Systems+Theory