Using Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory in Parental Engagement to support School Readiness in the Early Years

Using Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory in Parental Engagement to support School Readiness in the Early Years

Mouse Club is underpinned by several development theories, including Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. It suggests that our development, growth, and behaviour are influenced by interconnected environmental influences, ranging from our immediate surroundings, such as family, to the broader societal structures that influence us, such as our culture. 

In education, Bronfenbrenner offers a comprehensive framework for understanding the interactions between a child’s environment and their academic development, particularly in the early years. The theory asks us to consider the various systems that influence a child’s growth and learning, such as the family, school, community, and society.

In this blog post, we explore how Bronfenbrenner’s theory is essential for understanding the importance of parental engagement in the early years to foster school readiness and ensure each child reaches their potential.


At the heart of Bronfenbrenner’s theory lies the microsystem. This is the immediate environment where a child interacts daily, such as the family, school, and community. Parental engagement plays a pivotal role in the microsystem, as parents are the primary caregivers and educators in their child’s life and significantly impact their school readiness. By creating a supportive and nurturing home environment, parents help children develop the social, emotional, and cognitive skills necessary for success in school.

Using Mouse Club as a parental engagement strategy helps build strong relationships between parents and teachers to support children’s learning and development. Parents are encouraged to participate in workshops and confidently share learning through home-based activities that reinforce the learning happening at school. This collaborative approach begins before children start school to enhance families’ readiness for school, creates a smooth transition between home and the early learning environment, and supports learning throughout the first years of formal education.


The mesosystem is the interconnections between various microsystems in our lives. It focuses on how different settings interact and influence each other and how this impacts our development. The relationship between family and school is a significant aspect of the mesosystem. A child’s experiences at home can affect their performance and behaviour at school, and conversely, school experiences can influence family dynamics. Understanding these interactions is essential to provide a holistic approach to a child’s education.

Through Mouse Club, the partnership between parents and teachers extends beyond the classroom to ensure that children receive consistent support and guidance. Teachers work closely with parents to identify individual needs and provide targeted interventions that address challenges. This collaborative effort strengthens the connection between home and school, improving children's outcomes and creating a more cohesive school community.


The exosystem includes external influences that indirectly impact a child’s development, such as the parent’s workplace or community resources. Access to high-quality early childhood education programs and support services can enhance school readiness by providing children with the resources required to thrive. For instance, parents can create a more supportive exosystem that fosters school readiness by advocating for policies and programs supporting families and children and taking advantage of opportunities.

The Mouse Club strategy provides schools and early years settings with a scaffold that will benefit families in the broader community by working with other schools and local partners. Thrive at Five provides an excellent example of this through their work in Stoke. They provide opportunities to reduce isolation, workshops on parenting skills, better access to healthcare services, and other resources that support families in their role as educators. By addressing the needs of the families in the community, the school creates a supportive environment that enhances children’s readiness for school. Read more about this [here]


The Macrosystem encompasses the broader cultural and societal influences that shape a child’s development. In the context of parental engagement and school readiness, societal attitudes towards education and parenting can impact children’s readiness for school. By promoting a culture that values education and supports parents in their role as educators, we can create an environment conducive to children’s success in school.

When schools and settings commit to a community engagement strategy, they promote a culture that values education and supports parents as primary educators. When schools advocate for policies and programs that create lifelong learning opportunities for children and families, they promote positive societal attitudes towards education and parenting. This approach fosters a sense of community and collaboration that contributes to children’s success in school.

By implementing a parental engagement strategy that aligns with Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory, such as Mouse Club, schools and settings can create a supportive and nurturing environment that benefits children, families, and the school community. The collaborative efforts between parents and teachers, access to resources, and advocacy for supportive policies demonstrate the positive impact of this approach on promoting school readiness and enhancing student success.

Find more information about Mouse Club and how it can help your school here.

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