The road to a child’s understanding of a bigger world begins at school. It is this fact that makes a school’s conduciveness to children critical. Various primary schools, including the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, work tirelessly to foster such an environment for their students. That said, which characteristics separate a ‘child-friendly’ school from others?
UNICEF’s framework for rights-based, child-friendly schools is considered among the world’s foremost standards. Said framework focuses on an inclusive, healthy, protective, effective and family/community-involved learning environment for all children.
There are five major points described in UNICEF’s framework:
- A school must be inclusive – It must never discriminate in terms of providing education.
- A school must be effective for learning – It must promote good quality teaching and learning processes, with considerable focus on individual instruction. This helps tailor the teaching and learning experience to a child’s developmental level, abilities and learning style.
- A school must be healthy and proactive – It must promote a healthy and safe learning environment. There must also be no traces of abuse or any other ill will towards students.
- A school must be gender-sensitive – It must promote gender equality in enrolment, achievement and teaching privileges. It should encourage respect for each other’s rights. There must be no prevalence of gender stereotyping.
- A school must be involved with children, families and communities – It must be child, family and community-focused to encourage wide-scale cooperation in terms of achieving a holistic education.
The Power of the Faculty
A student’s academic performance should not entirely depend on individual competence. If there is someone to blame for poor academic showing, it has to be the teacher.
University of Tennessee research fellow Bill Sanders is a pivotal player in stressing the importance of a teacher on student learning. According to his study, the most important factor affecting learning curves is the teacher’s overall competence. There is an immediate implication, which points to teacher training as a major potential driving factor for the improvement of the school system.
A child will spend a massive chunk of his life in school. The learning environment should be as conducive as possible, making for long-term, positive results.