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Socioeconomic status (SES) is a topic of great interest to those who study early childhood education. With globalization and increased diversity within societies, economic and social inequalities have worsened, making poverty a leading global problem. Using data on stunted growth in early childhood and absolute poverty, a 2007 article in The Lancet estimated that 200 million children under 5 years old around the world are not fulfilling their full developmental potential. The ecological systems model developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner and Pamela A. Morris illustrates that the child is within the context of his or her family and community, and influenced by broader cultural systems that maintain the social values the child will internalize. This makes the lives of children from low-income families unpredictable and challenging.

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