Dr. Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory

Developed by Dr. Bronfenbrenner, an American developmental psychologist, the Ecological Systems Theory explains how different levels of surrounding environment are interconnected and assert influence on a child’s development. The external environment can be divided into four levels:


This level has the most direct impact on the growth of children, including the family, school, peers and community. The child is seen as an independent individual, interacting with the immediate surroundings.


The Mesosystem involves two or more environmental factors that are closely related with the child. For example, a child would be interacting with different teachers and classmates at school, socializing with peers after school, and bonding with parents or siblings during the evening. Since the Mesosystem is interconnected to a child’s immediate surroundings, it is one of the most influential level to a child’s growth and development.


This level refers to an environmental setting that has an indirect connection with the child, such as relatives, community centres, neighbours, social media, legal services, and workplace. Changes happened in parents’ workplace (promotion or long working hours), education system, and community resources, for example, are factors that are often overlooked but just as important to a child’s growth and development.


The Macrosystem covers the external environmental factors, such as culture, politics, social class, and current events that occur around the world. Changes that happen in local and global environment have direct influence on all aspects of our society including the government and the economy. This would have direct impact on the Exosystem, Mesosystem, and finally the centre of Microsystem – our children.

The Ecological Systems Theory can be explained through the following sample situation of a child’s life. When Hong Kong’s property price increases, both parents will need to work in order to keep up with daily expenses (Macrosystem). The child will then be placed in the hands of relatives (Exosystem), and daily after-school activities will be arranged in order to keep the child occupied (Mesosystem). Since the parents are rarely home for the children, the lack of parent-child relation may cause the child to develop an introvert personality (Microsystem). The example above reflects the entire Ecological Systems Theory and how it influences our children’s growth and development.

Our centre is taking up an important role in the Mesosystem, hoping to create positive influence on rest of the levels for our students. With additional psychology elements, all our courses are based on the Ecological Systems Theory. Our objective is to provide children with a happy and healthy learning environment.