Children's understanding of the school
Undoubtedly one of the most in¯uential of social contexts experienced by children is the school. Children's ®rst contact with the school begins with their entry into an elementary school, typically around the age of 5±6 years. Most children will continue their schooling into adolescence, though possibly with a transfer at some stage into a secondary school, and are likely to be members of one or more schools for some 10 years or more. Children therefore experience the particular context of the school for the major part of their childhood. Furthermore, the importance of the school as an environment for children is enhanced by its statutory requirement to provide the main context for children's formalised cognitive development. Indeed, the school has been speci®cally designed as a system that will provide the most effective environment for promoting children's intellectual growth.