Typically, when we think of social-cultural factors, what comes to mind first might be “color” or “race.” However, social-cultural factors extend to religious affiliation, specific types of communities, the culture of being a foster child or a child of abuse, children with exceptionalities, single -parent families, LGBT, homelessness, poverty, or migrant workers, etc. These environmental and cultural elements significantly impact one’s social and emotional development and the way that we see ourselves and the world at large. Since our social and emotional lives are intimately tied to our cultural identity, our job as ECEC providers is to possess cultural competence and understand developmental diversity while fostering appreciation and respect of our differences.
View this chart (Links to an external site.) and read the following articles that discuss Dr. Urie Bronfrenbrenner’s Ecological Systems:
- The Influence of Context and Ecology on Children’s Development.
- An Analysis of Bronfenbrenner’s Bio-Ecological Perspective for Early Childhood Educators: Implications for Working with Families Experiencing Stress.
- Review Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems using this self-check. (Links to an external site.)
Next, think about the infants and toddlers you intend to work with and:
- Describe the four layers of relationships that influence infant and toddler’s development.
- What, if anything, does Bronfenbrenner’s theory suggest about importance of resources (family, community, outreach) for typically developing infants and toddler and infants and toddlers with diverse needs?
- How does your knowledge of the ecological systems theory influence your interactions with students and families experiencing stress? Discuss your ideas.