How Environment Influences the Development of a Growing Child

Sometimes, it is not clear enough to explain how environmental and contextual interactions take place and what is the context in which the interaction takes place and shapes the development of an individual. Urie Bronfenbrenner provided a detailed analysis of how environmental influences work. Bronfenbrenner is known for his ‘Ecological Systems Viewpoint’, which nullified many of the shortcomings that earlier environmental approaches had.

He states that a person’s biological characteristics interact with the environmental forces and shape a person’s development. Hence this theory can also be called a ‘bioecological theory’. He compares environment to a set of nested structures much like the Russian dolls, in which each doll nests a tinier doll within and the smallest one lays at the center.

Likewise, environment has many systems and the individual or the developing person lies at the center of this ‘ecological’ system, which is part of the environment. The developing person is at the center of and is embedded in many environmental systems such as family, society and something broader like culture. Each of these systems is believed to interact with each other and also with the individual and that is how a person’s development is shaped.