Family Context in Early Childhood

Connecting Beliefs, Practices, and Ecologies

Authored by: Barbara H. Fiese

Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415884341
eBook ISBN: 9780203841198
Adobe ISBN: 9781136897023


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All children are raised in some form of family. But families take different forms in terms of number of adults in the household, contact with extended kin, and sheer size of the group. Families differ in the beliefs that they hold about trustworthiness of relationships and in their daily practices and routines. Families live in neighborhoods that reflect available resources for healthy foods, physical activity, social support, and quality of education. This chapter describes how families are dynamic systems with shared practices and beliefs that contribute to child well-being and preparedness to learn. These practices and beliefs are embedded in a socioeconomic context that includes cultural influences as well as neighborhood context. Thus, an ecological model (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998) is proposed to situate the family in a larger developmental context.

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