The importance of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory for early childhood educators and early childhood education

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jonathan R. Tudge, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: If early childhood educators know and appropriately use just one theory that is relevant to early childhood education, Bronfenbrenner's is the theory for them. As all good teachers know, it is the typically occurring activities in which their children engage, including the interactions that they have with their teachers and their peers inside the classroom and with their friends and family outside the classroom, that are so important for their development. Of course, how those activities occur depends in part on the personal characteristics of all individuals involved: the children, their parents, their friends, and their teachers. Those activities also are heavily influenced by the contexts in which they occur, whether home, child care center, the park, their grandparents' home, or with a child minder or some other type of more informal care. The way in which the children's classroom is organized clearly has an impact on the ways in which the children can engage in activities and interactions. And what happens in one context also influences what goes on in other contexts. Children who arrive at school hungry will engage with their teachers and peers quite differently than will those who arrive well fed; children who come from homes in which parents have time, interest, and energy to invest in them will arrive in school much better prepared than those who do not; children whose language at home is the same as that of the classroom will find interactions much simpler than those for whom this is not the case; children who share the same racial/ethnic background as their peers and teachers will engage differently with them than will children who stand out as being different.

Additional Information

L. Cohen & S. Stupiansky (Eds.), Theories of early childhood education: Developmental, behaviorist, and critical (45–57). New York: Routledge.
Language: English
Date: 2017
Urie Bronfenbrenner, child development, early childhood education, proximal processes

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