Jan Ámos Komenský (1592-1670), known outside the Czech Republic as Comenius, is the father of Czech learning. He believed that children should be taught in their own language and not Latin. He also believed that languages are best taught conversationally and that education should be free, universal and available to both girls and boys. His books on children's education were the foundation of the Czech school system. He wrote one of the world's most famous picture books for children - Orbis Sensualium Pictus (The World in Pictures). 
Most children between the ages of 3 and 6 attend kindergarten. After kindergarten, children go to elementary school, which includes primary and junior high. Most students continue their education at a secondary school. There are four kinds of secondary schools: gymnasia (academically focused schools), secondary vocational schools, secondary technical schools and integrated schools. Since 1990, many private schools, particularly at the senior secondary level, have been established.

 Since in many families both parents work full-time, children may go from classes to družina, after-school centres, until their parents return from work. When they complete the nine years of schooling, some young people begin working, often starting with a three-year apprenticeship program.

  Did you know?
Czech students played an important part in the resistance to the Soviet invasion in 1968. On 16 January 1969, a student called Jan Palach publicly set himself on fire in Wencelas Square in Prague to protest Soviet oppression. In 1989, demonstrators chose this site to renew their protest.
Postsecondary education is provided by universities and non-university schools. Most programs last 5 or 6 years. There are several major universities in the Republic. Universita Karlova (Charles University) in Prague is the oldest, founded by Charles IV in 1348. The others include Czech Technical University in Prague, Masaryk University in Brno, and Palack'y University in Olomouc.

 Special schools were created for children, 5 to 15 years old, who have mental or physical disabilities. They were set up to give students the opportunity to learn skills and receive practical job training. The diploma that students receive after completing special basic school is not equivalent to that given at regular elementary schools. At present, Roma children are often streamed into the special system because education in the Roma language is not available. This limits their educational opportunities in later life.