Child-Friendly Schools

Children participate in various learning exercises at a UNICEF-supported child-friendly school, Uzbekistan.

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Responding to Every Child's Needs

Every day, more than one billion of the world's children go to school. They sit in buildings, in tents or even under trees. UNICEF is committed to making that learning environment a healthy one—free of physical obstacles or discrimination, full of competent teachers and inspiration.

UNICEF understands that schools are not 'one size fits all' institutions, and that children have diverse needs. With this in mind, we have worked to create an educational model aimed at helping schools achieve safe, healthy and protective environments that meet the specific needs of their children.

The child-friendly school model is simple:

  • Schools should operate in the best interests of the child.
  • Educational environments must be safe, healthy and protective.
  • Classrooms should have trained teachers and adequate resources.
  • Children's rights must be protected, and children's voices heard.

Learning environments must be a haven for children to learn and grow, with respect for their identities and varied needs. The child-friendly model promotes inclusiveness, gender-sensitivity, tolerance, dignity and personal empowerment.

Education in Emergencies and After Disaster

The child-friendly approach is the main model through which UNICEF and its partners promote quality education in development as well as in emergency situations. In areas recovering from disaster, child-friendly schools are an important key to "building back better." The model may differ from country to country, but the common denominator across cultures is a focus on child-centered education.

The success of our child-friendly schools work depends on partnerships with other actors in the international arena. Together, we can help ensure that every child—regardless of whether he or she attends school in a building, a tent or under a tree—receives a rights-based, quality education.

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