In many places around the world, children have to go to school for a certain number of years. Learning may take place in the classroom, in outside environments or on visits to other places. Colleges and universities are places to learn for students over 17 or 18. Vocational schools teach skills people need for jobs.
Some people attend school longer than others. This is because some jobs require more training than others. For young children, one teacher is able to teach all subjects. Teachers for older students are often specialized and they only teach a few subjects. Common subjects taught include science, arts such as music, humanities, like geography and history, and languages.
Children with disabilities can go to special schools which teach things that regular schools do not.
Schools for boys and schools for girls
Education for all is quite modern. In England, for example, most people could not read or write, even in the 18th century. We know this because when they got married, those who could not write put an 'X' on the certificate, and someone else wrote their name. Mass education for reading and writing began in the 19th century.
Even when there was education, in most countries boys were taught differently from girls, and separately from girls. Long ago, most schools were run by religious denominations. That is because clerics were once almost the only people who were literate. Today, most countries have schools which accept both boys and girls. Some places still do not have schools for girls.
School as a place to learn for life
In many parts of the world, schools also help children learn things about life.
- In school, pupils develop their personality.
- Schools teach pupils about religion and ethics.
- Schools help people recognise socially accepted norms and behaviour.
Pedagogy is the science of teaching children. Different schools use different ways of teaching. There is quite a lot of disagreement about what and how students should be taught. Many countries solve this by allowing different types of school, so parents and children have some choice. Choices may include home education.
Components of most schools
Schools are organized spaces purposed for teaching and learning. The classrooms, where teachers teach and students learn, are of central importance. Classrooms may be specialized for certain subjects, such as laboratory classrooms for science education and workshops for industrial arts education.
Typical schools have many other rooms and areas, which may include:
- Cafeteria (Commons), dining hall or canteen where students eat lunch and often breakfast and snacks.
- Athletic field, playground, gym, and/or track place where students participating in sports or physical education practice
- School yards, that is, all-purpose playfields typically in elementary schools, often made of concrete, although some are being transformed into environmentally friendly teaching gardens by landscape artists such as Sharon Gamson Danks.
- Auditorium or hall where student theatrical and musical productions can be staged and where all-school events such as assemblies are held
- Office where the administrative work of the school is done
- Library where students ask librarians reference questions, check out books and magazines, and often use computers
- Computer labs where computer-based work is done and the internet accessed
Images for kids
Chilean schoolchildren during a class photograph, 2002
One-room school in 1935, Alabama
Loyola School, Chennai, India — run by the Catholic Diocese of Madras. Christian missionaries played a pivotal role in establishing modern schools in India.
A school building in Kannur, India
Primary school students with their teacher, Colombia, 2014
School Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.