articles, opinions, and research about teaching and learning

What Makes a Child-Friendly Learning Environment?

In the School
The school environment is:

  • a place where children's opinions and needs are included

  • a place where peace and gender equity are upheld and differences of class, caste and religion are accepted

  • a place where opportunities for children's participation are extended, both inside the classroom, and in the community

  • accessible to all, including those with learning disabilities, and those who are pregnant

  • safe and secure, free from violence and abuse, sale or trafficking

  • a place where children take responsibility for their learning

  • a place where healthy lifestyles and life skills are promoted

  • above all, a place where children learn

The school resources
  • safe water and sanitation facilities, first aid supplies

  • age-appropriate furniture, and resources within reach (bookshelves, chalkboards)

The Curriculum
The curriculum should contain at least:

    - language
    - mathematics
    - science
    - social studies

    - literacy
    - numeracy
    - life skills

    - human rights
    - moral and spiritual values

    - age-appropriate, child-centred, gender sensitive and linked to experience
    - freedom of expression, creativity, association; play and recreation; free from physical and mental violence; linked to children's rights with key learning outcomes


  • appropriate training in learning centred education so that children participate actively, individual differences are respected, and children's well-being is promoted

  • opportunities to foster professional skills so that children can achieve desired learning outcomes

  • understanding and monitoring children's rights

  • able to communicate goals for schooling to parents and others in the community

  • educational materials, textbooks, writing tools, and learning resources are gender sensitive and encourage active learning in a language which children can understand

  • flexible schedules to accommodate out of school responsibilities

  • offering a adequate instruction time for learning in key curriculum areas

  • offering a range of learning options

  • establishing schools where children live and work

  • building education systems which support children's learning as a first priority

  • focusing supervision on teacher improvement rather than covering the curriculum

In the Community
  • viewing home and community as sources for children's learning

  • involving parents in school management and learning activities

  • providing parents with freedom of access to information about children's learning so that they can put into practice at home what is learned in school

Also see these related links:

- Involving families in learning

- Teachers and communities

- Active assessment for active learning


Pigozzi, M. (1997) Implication of the Convention on the Rights of the Child for Education Activities Supported by UNICEF Unpublished paper, Education Section, Programme Division, UNICEF

Torres, R. (N.D.) Children's Right to Basic Education Unpublished paper, Education Section, Programme Division, UNICEF

UNICEF (1996) Child Friendly Schools Initiative Education News, Issue No 16, April 1996

UNICEF (1998) Master Plan of Operations between the Government of the Philippines and UNICEF, 1999-2003 'CPC V

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Last revised March, 2002
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