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INTRODUCTION

On any given day, more than one billion of the


worlds children go to
school. Whether they sit in buildings, in tents or
even under trees, ideally they are learning,
developing and enriching their lives. For too many
children, though,school is not always a positive
experience. Some endure difficult conditions, like
extremely hot or cold temperatures in the
classroom or primitive sanitation. Others lack
competent teachers and appropriate curricula. Still
others may be forced to contend with
discrimination, harassment and even violence.
These conditions are not conducive to learning or
development, and no child should have to
experience them.
A school is considered child friendly when it
provides
a safe, clean, healthy and protective environment
for children. At Child Friendly Schools, child rights
are respected, and all children

including children who are poor, disabled, living
with HIV or from ethnic and religious minorities are
treated equally. A Child Friendly School is a school
that recognizes and nurtures the achievement of
children's basic rights. Child Friendly Schools work
with all commitment-holders, especially
parents/guardians of students, and values the
many kinds of contributions they can make in
seeking all children to go to school in the
development of a learning environment for children
and effective learning quality according to the
children's current and future needs. The learning
environments of Child Friendly Schools are
characterized by equity, balance, freedom,
solidarity, non-violence and a concern for physical,
mental and emotional health. These lead to the
development of knowledge, skills, attitudes,

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values morals so that children can live together in
a harmonious way. A child friendly school nurtures
a school-friendly child, support children for
development and a school-friendly community .At
the schools, teachers are trained on child rights,
while teaching methods focus on a child-centered
approach. Lessons for children include essential life
skills aimed at keeping them safe and building the
skills they will need to fulfill their potential and
contribute fully to society. In addition, Child
Friendly Schools bring together students and
members of the community to
develop and act on ways to improve their schools
environment.
CFS environments build upon the assets that
children bring from their homes and communities,
respecting their unique backgrounds and
circumstances. At the same time, the CFS model
compensates for any shortcomings in the home
and community that might make it difficult for
children to enroll in school, attend regularly and
succeed in their studies. For example, if there is a
food shortage in the community, school-feeding
programmes can provide children both with the
nutrition they so critically need and the incentive
to stay in school and get an education. The CFS
model also builds partnerships between schools
and the community. Since children have the right
to be fully prepared to become active and
productive citizens, their learning must be linked to
the wider community.
The Education Section of UNICEFs Programme
Division introduced the Child Friendly Schools (CFS)
framework for schools that serve the whole child
in 1999. AIR,
(2009). Today, the CFS initiative is UNICEFs
flagship education

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programme, and UNICEF supports implementation
of the CFS framework in 95countries and promotes
it at the global and regional levels. Bernard (2003).
The framework for rights-based, child-friendly
educational systems and schools characterized as
"inclusive, healthy and protective for all children,
effective with children, and involved with families
and communities - and children" (Shaeffer,1999).
Within this framework:

The school is a significant personal and social


environment in the lives of its students. A child-
friendly school ensures every child an environment
that is physically safe, emotionally secure and
psychologically enabling.

Teachers are the single most important factor in


creating an effective and inclusive classroom.

Children are natural learners, but this capacity to


learn can be undermined and sometimes
destroyed. A child-friendly school recognizes,
encourages and supports children's growing
capacities as learners by providing a school
culture, teaching behaviors and curriculum content
that are focused on learning and the learner.

The ability of a school to be and to call itself child-


friendly is directly linked to the support,
participation and collaboration it receives from
families.

Child-friendly schools aim to develop a learning


environment in which children are motivated and
able to learn. Staff members are friendly and
welcoming to children and attend to all their health
and safety needs.

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Child-friendly school must reflect an environment
of good quality characterized by several essential
aspects:
Inclusive of children

Does not exclude, discriminate, or stereotype on


the basis of difference.

Provides education that is free and compulsory,


affordable and accessible ,especially to families
and children at risk.

Respects diversity and ensures equality of learning


for all children (e.g.,girls, working children, children
of ethnic minorities and affected by HIV/AIDS,
children with disabilities, victims of exploitation
and violence).

Responds to diversity by meeting the differing


circumstances and needs of children (e.g., based
on gender, social class, ethnicity, and ability level).
Effective for learning

Promotes good quality teaching and learning


processes with individualized instruction
appropriate to each child's developmental level,
abilities, and learning style and with active,
cooperative, and democratic learning methods.

Provides structured content and good quality


materials and resources.

Enhances teacher capacity, morale, commitment,


status, and income

and their own recognition of child rights.