According to Berk (2000), the microsystem encompasses the relationships and interactions an individual has with their immediate surroundings. It is the layer closest to the individual and contains the structures with which the individual has direct contact.
The microsystem of an individual generally includes their family, peer group, school or work, childcare and sometimes a church, temple, or mosque.
Depending on how these individuals or groups from the microsystem interact with the individual can have an enormous effect on their growth and development. According to Oswalt (2009), the more encouraging and nurturing these relationships and places are, the better the individual will be able to grow and develop.
According to Paquette and Ryan (2001), at this level, relationships impact in two directions; both away from the individual and toward the individual. For example, a child’s parents may affect his or her beliefs and behavior; however, the child also affects the behavior and beliefs of the parent. Bronfenbrenner referred to these as bi-directional influences.
An example an individual’s microsystem can be seen in the visual below…
Image of Childcare logo Retrieved 20th of January 2009, from http://www.guardianchildcare.com.au/Content_Common/pg-guardian-childcare-woywoy-centre.seo
Image of human figure retrieved 20th January 2009, from http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://static3.fotolia.com/jpg/00/06/13/52/400_F_6135217_SWLMZvVJjb64CzLESXjs5711IID0rYr9.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.fotolia.com/id/6135217&usg=__RvIEKoTwpWuMPL0YBs7r_v6harI=&h=400&w=400&sz=23&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=ZmH8CbKEaq9DQM:&tbnh=124&tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3D3d%2Bhuman%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den
Image of St Joseph’s catholic College Retrieved 20th of January 2009, from http://www.sjcc.nsw.edu.au/
Image of Woy Woy Church Retrieved 20th of January 2009, from http://woywoycatholic.org.au/
Labone, E. (ed) 2008 Contexts for Learning and Development, Pearson Education, Australia.
National-Louis University. (2008). Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. Retrieved January 20, 2009, from http://pt3.nl.edu/paquetteryanwebquest.pdf
Oswalt, A. (2005). Urie Bronfenbrenner and Child Development. Retrieved January 20, 2009 from http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=7930&cn=28