Every child deserves to attend the safe school where everyone is treated with respect. There is a set of rules and principles, which determine a child-friendly school. Read more about this type of schools and find out what it takes for a school to be called child-friendly.
As we know, school is one of the most significant institutions in the life of every person because this is where we take our first steps to the adult world from. A school can make a huge influence on every person, and it can be both positive and negative, depending on the circumstances.
What is child-friendly school environment?
Generally, teachers are highly responsible for creating a good atmosphere in class, where no single child will feel left out and all of them will thrive for new knowledge. Being aware of basic child psychology is important for teachers, because they are the figures that kids look up to, and they should be good role models for them.
If a school wants to be called child-friendly and inclusive, it should be a safe place for every child, without any social or racial discrimination. Education is one of the basic human rights, and the child-friendly schools should ensure children comfort and safety. They should also put the practices of child-friendly education approach in use and promote equality between all children, along with satisfying their basic needs and reaching out to their talents and abilities.
The staff of such school has to make sure that every child feels comfortable and secure. Teachers should support the growth of kids, their desire for learning and encourage them to study more, without using any forceful or threatening methods.
Definition of child-friendly school
According to UNICEF, a child-friendly educational institution is inclusive, protective, and healthy for all children regardless of their social background, ethnic origin, gender, and level of ability. It has all the necessary facilities that make the child’s school experience more effective and comfortable. A child-friendly school is respectful of all children, and the families and communities of the students are invested in school life as well as the students themselves.
Principles of child-friendly school
Here are some basic principles of child-friendly school that determine if a certain educational institution is safe, inclusive, and effective for learning. There are two primary characteristics of a child-friendly school:
1. This school is child-seeking
It works to identify those children who are excluded for some reasons and help them out with enrolling in school and participating in the learning process. Children should be treated as subjects with their own rights, regardless of their age. When they are at school, they should be respected and their well-being has to be ensured.
2. This school is child-centered
The adults, who work at school, should be acting in the children’s best interests, help children develop their full potential and be concerned about their health and safety. A child-friendly school should also care about their students’ lives outside school and things that happen in their family or community.
Apart from everything else, a child-friendly school should provide children with good-quality environment by taking the following aspects into account:
3. The school is inclusive
This means that the school staff should never under any circumstances discriminate, exclude, and stereotype children based on their differences. Education should be free, compulsory, and affordable for those who are unable to pay for school.
The inclusive institution should respect the diversity of its students and treat them all equal, without discrimination towards female students, children who work, students who belong to ethnic minorities, those kids who have HIV/AIDS disease, physically challenged students, victims of violence and exploitation, etc. Except that, it should be also responsive of diversity by providing children the basic needs based on their social class, gender, ethnic group, and level of abilities.
4. The school is effective for gaining knowledge
A child-friendly educational institution should provide high quality education, and learning processes have to be appropriate for every child’s level of development, learning style, and abilities. The learning methods have to be cooperative, active, and democratic. The school should provide materials and resources for learning.
This institution has to enhance the morale, status, capacity, commitment and income of the teachers, as well as their recognition of children’s rights. Quality learning should be promoted by helping children out with their studies and teaching them the useful learning techniques.
5. The school is healthy and protects the students
This means that the school workers are responsible for establishing a safe and healthy environment that meets the sanitary norms. An institution needs to ensure the health policies, for instance, no taking forbidden substances, harassment, and bullying. The counseling for every child should be provided. There should be health education classes, based on life skills.
The physical and emotional health of students and teachers has to be taken care of. Children have to be protected from any kinds of harm and abuse, and they need to remember their being at school as a positive experience.
6. The institution is gender-sensitive
Gender equality should be promoted and encouraged, and any kinds of gender-based stereotypes should be eliminated. All the facilities, textbooks, and processes should be girl-friendly, and teachers need to stop normalizing violence among boys, providing the safe and non-violent environment for all children. Respecting the equality and rights of all people regardless of gender or other biases should be strongly encouraged.
7. The school is involved with the kids, their families, and communities
This means that the school has to promote the participation of children in all the school life aspects, as well as helping children to establish healthy relationships with their parents and encouraging taking part in the life of their local community.
Facilities required in a child-friendly school
The facilities that have to be present in child-friendly schools have their own rules, which will be listed below:
- The facilities need to encourage taking care of hygiene. This means that the basic provisions for cleaning, such as water and soap, have to be available all the time in order for children not to skip the vital steps of their hygiene if they are complex or unavailable.
- There need to be appropriate adjustments for children. They are smaller and physically weaker than adults, so some things can be more difficult for them – for example, opening heavy doors. The class facilities should be comfortable for youngsters and not distract them from studying.
- The school needs to offer capacity according to the total number of school children. For instance, there have to be enough garbage cans, otherwise, they will throw the litter on the ground. There need to be enough toilets and hand washers for everyone. All the kids should have quick access to lunch.
- The gender-related needs should be addressed, especially the differences between boys and girls that become more obvious from the age of 8-10.
- The needs of children with physical disabilities should be addressed too, otherwise, they will not feel safe in the school, and as a result, they will be isolated from the world. A child-friendly school needs to take care of physically challenged children and ensure them a good education.
- The tools should be designed according to children’s age, and their learning and development should be actively stimulated.
- The affordable facilities should be found and installed. Even if more money will be spent on them, in the long run, they will last and serve much longer. However, the most expensive options are not always the best ones. The balance between price and quality needs to be found.
- The environmental issues should be taken care of. Children should also be taught environment-friendly approach.
Objectives of child-friendly school
The objectives of a child-friendly educational institution are the following:
- Encouraging the participation of children in the life of school and community.
- Ensuring the academic success and achievements of children, without forcing or pressuring them.
- Improving the physical and mental health of young children, as well as their general well-being.
- Guaranteeing the safety and protection to the children.
- Helping children face the life challenges.
- Mobilizing the support of the community for education.
- Raising the motivation and morale of the teachers who work with youngsters.
Purpose of child-friendly school
The main purpose of child-friendly school is moving the school education system towards the progressive quality standards, addressing the elements which influence the basic rights and well-being of the child along with improving the quality of teaching and the school functions. Quality standards will help children to make their school experience as comfortable, safe, and painless as possible, and develop their full potential with the help, support, and encouragement of teachers.
You have learned all the facts about the child-friendly schools. If you work in the educational institution, this information might be useful for you, as child-friendly schools are schools of the future. We should remember that children are our future.
Legit.ng posted an article about the scheme of work for nursery and primary school in Nigeria. Vivian Mutsoli Modern societies have shown a serious concern for their children's education for various reasons. Therefore, it is common to find that governments have a uniform and elaborate curriculum that guides the education sector within their countries. For learners, teachers and parents, knowing the scheme of work would help them to understand what the curriculum is about. Read more in the article.