Malta Baby & Kids Directory: Childcare

Welcome to our Malta Baby & Kids Childcare directory, with information on Malta’s Babysitters, Day Centres, Nurseries and Kindergartens.

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Deciding on childcare 

 

Deciding on Childcare - Where do I start?

Choosing the right childcare may seem like a daunting task, especially if it is your first time. In today’s society, where it is becoming increasingly common for mum to return to work after maternity leave, having to rely on childcare is not an easy decision. Trust your instincts and carry out some research into childcare  centres to help you make an informed choice.

What are the carer-child ratios?

According to the national standards for childcare provisions the following ratios apply;

Age birth - 12 months - 1 carer to 3 children

Age 13 months - 24months - 1 carer to 5 children

Age 25 months - 36+ months - 1 carer to 6 children! 

Is there financial help towards my childcare costs?

Yes, there is! The government introduced a free childcare scheme in April 2014, whereby qualifying parents are entitled to free childcare based on the condition that both parents are either working or training. Application forms and a list of registered centres can be found on www.education.gov.mt. For further information and eligibility contact childcare@gov.mt or 2598 2174 / 2598 2772.

What will my child be doing in childcare?

Apart from being fed and changed he/she should be in an environment that stimulates his/her development. It is important that children at this age are shown adaptive prosocial skills by learning the concept of being kind to others and sharing. A childcare centre that promotes such social behaviours prepares your child for kindergarten. Ask your childcare centre about the ways in which they promote prosocial behaviour. ! 

Will they learn anything?

Of course they will! No matter what age your child is, they predominately learn through experience, social interaction and play. Ask your centre if they promote educational aspects to play. For example, do they introduce key themes through crafts or activities? Perhaps the introduction of colours through a block sorting activity. When children are exposed to themes through the use of play they are more likely to remember the theme as it was an enjoyable positive experience ! 

Mrs Georgina Fardoe 

MSc Child & Family Psychology

Childcare Centre Manager

Orange Tree Childcare Centre

 

Sqaq Il - Hofra, Gharghur +(356) 2713 4813  +(356) 9977 2080

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Free childcare to help families achieve a work/life balance

The Free Childcare for All scheme, is a budgetary measure for 2014, announced by the Ministry of Finance and implemented by the Ministry for Education and Employment.  The Scheme started  in April 2014, with more than 95 % of the registered child care centres applying to form part of it. New child care centres opening in Malta and Gozo are also registering to be part of the scheme.  The primary aims of the scheme is to both provide a more equitable and affordable provision of early care and education to all children irrespective of financial means and social background as well as to increase the active participation of females in the labour market. The proposal has already proved a success with childcare centre providers prepared to invest in facilities and expand. The educational aspect of the initiative would be given priority, so that children enjoy a stimulating educational experience to serve as a stepping stone for their future educational attainment.

This initiative represents one of the Government’s major economic reforms, and through it, the Government is both increasing the female participation in the labour force, and also strengthening the country’s skills as the initiative is also available to those parents seeking to further their education.

Actions set out in this scheme include:

·   Families with both parents in full-time or part-time employment or in education will benefit from free childcare.

·    Parents will benefit from the equivalent  of their working hours as well one hour daily for commuting, together with an additional 10% of their working hours in childcare services per month.

·      Parents who are students studying on a part-time basis will be entitled to 20 hours while those studying full-time will benefit from 40 hours.

Application forms and a list of all childcare centres registered in the scheme can be downloaded from the website www.education.gov.mt. For further information on the scheme and eligibility please contact us on childcare@gov.mt or 2598 2174 / 2598 2772.

  For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

Temper Tantrums in Kids

Temper tantrums are considered an essential part of child development which are expected to emerge during the toddler period (18months -3years). This period is a time of intense physical growth accompanied by increased activity. During this developmental stage, the child is expected to establish a distinct self that is separate from her parents. This explains why the child starts to assert herself where her favorite word becomes ‘no!’. Apart from the need to take more control over herself, this behavior may also stem from the frustration caused by an incomplete and unbalanced development of expressive language skills when compared with their more complete receptive language skills.

Toddlers tend to understand complex sentences however they are still very limited with regards to their communicative ability which many times does not exceed 2-3 worded sentences. Although temper tantrums are notorious to parents as their authority is being seriously challenged, if parents remain firm and in control the toddler will leave this stage with a secure relationship with her parents, trusting them to establish boundaries. How to cope with temper tantrums Address the behavior as soon as it starts without getting angry or giving in to your child. Say to your child, "When you stop crying we'll talk about it and see what can be done."   Then walk into the next room. Show love. It's okay to hold your child if she comes to you during a tantrum and she's too young to be left alone, but don't respond to what she wants until she calms down. Get some privacy. When in public ignore any glares you get, take your child to a private corner to wait for her to calm down. Tell her, "I'll sit down with you until you stop screaming." If she doesn't stop crying or screaming after three or four minutes, take her home. Parents need to learn how to deal with their own frustrations and anger in an effective manner. "Monkey see, monkey do." Have realistic expectations. Expecting a toddler to remain seated and sedate during church service or while in a fancy restaurant will only lead to frustration for both age groups.

Help your child find the proper verbal way of expressing their frustrations. ("I know you are mad that I won't give you more time on the swings, but it is time to go home and eat”) Preempt and Plan ahead. For example, "We have to stop watching TV when the timer rings for the second time.” This gives the child the opportunity to assert some control over the situation and develop an alternative approach to a frustrating event. Toddlers crave control. Allow simple choices that you can live with. For example, "Do you want some apple or banana at lunch?

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

Baby Sign Language 

From the moment babies are born, they start to communicate by using sound and
natural gestures.  Baby Sign Language exploits this natural ability of babies and uses sign language to encourage two-way communication between parents and babies, before the babies can talk.
 
Baby Sign has been steadily gaining in popularity worldwide and has many benefits to
both the parent and the child.  As these benefits are becoming more widely recognized, more and more parents and childcare professionals are signing with their babies... so what is it all about and how can you get started?
 
The Deaf community has always signed with their children, so "baby sign" has always been around.   But more recently people have started to discover the benefits of using baby sign with hearing babies.
 
Research has shown that by using baby sign language with hearing babies before they can talk, you can increase IQ, self-esteem, communication skills, parent/baby bonding, and decrease tantrums and frustration.  With all these benefits, it's no wonder that baby signing is gaining popularity.
 
Baby sign language is based on adult sign language but with more flexibility so some signs are changed to make them easier for little hands to copy.  Everyone can enjoy the benefits of baby sign as it is very easy to learn and fun to practice.
 
Many people are still weary of baby sign language because they think it is a fad or only for deaf children.  Some people even think that by using signs you will somehow delay your baby's speech development.  All of these misconceptions have been proven wrong by extensive research carried out in America.  In actual fact using baby signs helps your baby develop communication skills and speech earlier that non-signing babies.
 
Just think - babies start to communicate from birth.  They start by using eye contact and facial expressions and as they gain more control over their bodies they may wave or clap hands.
 
By about 6 months your baby will have developed the motor skills needed to make signs, by 7-8 months your baby's memory will have developed enough to use the signs consistently.  However, your baby's vocal muscles will not have developed enough for comprehensible speech until about 18-24 months old!  That means you could have been communicating with your baby a whole 18 months earlier!
 
QUICK FACTS
 
•         You can start signing with your baby at any age - some parents start from birth.  A good time to start is around 5 months.
 
•         Your baby will probably sign back between 6-8 months, when his memory will have developed enough to store and use the signs regularly
 
•         Babies need 4-6 weeks to learn their first signs and to start to copy them back to you, so you will need to be patient.
 
•         Once a baby has learned his first signs, he will learn the next ones more quickly.
 
•         Baby signing does not delay speech - quite the opposite has been proven to be true.
 
•         By signing with your baby you are giving him the very best start in life, by giving him tools that allow him to communicate his needs to you without unnecessary crying and frustration.
 
HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE PROVEN BENEFITS THAT BABY SIGNING CAN BRING:
 
•         Increase your baby's IQ
 
•         Improve your baby's language and communication skills
 
•         Strengthen your parent/baby bond
 
•         Reduce tantrums and frustration
 
•         Build your baby's self-confidence and self-esteem
 
Sylvana Brannon
 
 
 

The notion of child-care 

Children deserve the best possible care for their well-being and development. It is imperative that safe and developmentally appropriate children’s services are available to promote the holistic development of children and their families. 
 
The traditional aim of a child care centre is to provide a place for working parents to leave their children during working hours. However in actual fact, childcare centres cater for the formative years of a child s’ life. In this regard, the facilities aim, and are indeed obliged to provide an educational programme as well as a safe environment conducive to the well-being and education of, as well as emotional development of, the child. 
 
The promotion of such child care centres is being taken on the realisation that the sustainability of a country’s economy and social fabric depends on a strong work force where qualified, skilled and competent workers are given opportunities to find employment while at the same time start a family and enjoy family life. Thus, child day care centres provide the peace of mind for parents that their children are in good hands, in a safe and stimulating environment whilst being nurtured by qualified carers who are aware and have a sound knowledge of children’s development and needs. 
 
An intelligent and balanced use of child care is shown to benefit the child but one cannot adopt a one size fits all situation. Child care should be seen as an extension of parental attention, in fact it should serve as a continuation of what parents or primary care givers are obliged to provide at home. Frequent meetings with the provider as well as discussions on what works best for the child will guarantee that the child’s stay is a happy one.
 
These centres are filling the gap which traditionally was fulfilled by the grandparents who acted as the primary babysitters. However this trend is on the decrease due to the fact that the grandparents themselves might still be of an employable age. Apart from helping in reaching a work-family balance, childcare research has shown that high quality care can impact positively upon children's intellectual, linguistic and social skills.
 
As with any other service, child care needs to be regulated and monitored to ensure that the set standards are upheld. The Welfare Services Assessment Unit (WSAU) within the Department of Social Welfare Standards has been entrusted with the inspectorate role. In fact the WSAU inspects, monitors and assesses child day care services. The centres are expected to apply for registration with the Department which provides the necessary guidance. This registration procedure is intended to reassure parents who choose Registered Child Day Care Facilities for their children that the facility is striving to operate according to a set of established standards in the best interest of their children. 
 
In Malta, the publication of the National Standards for Child Care Facilities in 2006 was intended to ensure a better, safer and healthier environment for children. Prior to 2006, childcare provisions were not regulated, thus, the purpose of regulation and the setting of standards for this particular sector provides quality assurance for children attending such facilities and reassurance for their parents.
 
The level rating for the qualifications and the occupational standards for child carers and managers relates to another very positive recent development. This was launched by the Ministry for Justice, Dialogue and the Family together with the Ministry for Education and Employment so as to ensure that qualified persons are working within the centres as required by the 2006 National Standards. One can appreciate that the well-being of children cannot be left to chance and although the providers do have a leeway in the way they operate the facility, it must be kept in mind at all times that such services are being given for the benefit of the ultimate beneficiaries, that is, the children.   
 
Currently, there are 67 registered facilities, 47 of which are privately owned, 4 are run by the Church, 7 which are public-private partnerships and 9 Foundation for Educational services (FES) centres provided by the government which also provides means testing and thus caters for families with low incomes. The notable increase in registered child care centres reflects the demand for such centres as well as the measures taken in order to meet these demands. With this objective in sight, national funds as well as European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) have been made available to these child care centres to improve their services as well as encourage new ones to start operating.
 
Government’s commitment is to promote a view of childhood as an important phase of life in its own right and not just as preparation for adult life. Children must be allowed to live in the present and to realise their full potential. These are the aims underlining the National Children’s Policy which shall be launched shortly by the Ministry of Justice, Dialogue and the Family. The objectives outlined centre around the child as the holder of rights, and a subject liable to vulnerability. Ultimate success can be realised if children themselves feel the positive change.
 
Dr. Sandra Hili Vassallo – Director DSWS
 
 
 

Measuring up to our siblings 

We are born into our family and the relationships within weave the fabric of life. Children learn social competencies and social norms through their interactions with parents and siblings and family life becomes a complex, dynamic experience that has a direct influence on how they feel about themselves. The need to feel loved and to belong is innate – it is a primal need for every individual. For young children, the developing self is fragile and is easily damaged. The way a child sees himself or herself deep inside depends on the way significant people in their life react to them. Initially, their self-esteem forms in relation to parents, caregivers and siblings and sibling rivalry is inevitable. They tend to compare themselves to the more admired and favoured sibling. Our role as parents is to provide a ‘secure enough base’ that becomes a platform for future relationships. The family becomes the safe playground where they learn to feel competent, valid and to tolerate difference. It is the quality of our relationships that matter. Children want to feel loved and love is also spelt T-I-M-E. Balancing out time with each child individually also helps them feel validated. There is less need to compete for attention, thus reducing sibling rivalry. Meeting a child’s emotional needs helps him/her overcome potential feelings of inferiority. Challenging behaviour can occur when too few emotional needs are being met, such as the need for
Attention
Acceptance
Appreciation
Affection
Approval
Encouragement
Respect
Support
Comfort
Security
 
Every child’s needs also depends on his/her experience in the moment and when caregivers are attuned to such needs, the child feels seen and met. On the other hand, emotional withdrawal can be devastating. Children who feel loved and secure are better at forming healthy relationships. They feel less threatened, are more confident to explore new things, are less likely to be bullied or be a bully and more able to say “No” to peer-pressure when they are older.  
 
Anna Fenech holds an MA degree in Expressive Arts Therapy and is a Gestalt Psychotherapist.  She is also trained as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor with children and young adults.  She works in different settings and also runs a private practice working with children and adults.  
 
 

 


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Malta Baby & Kids Directory is created by mums for mums and childcarers.
Lisa Grech is the founder of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and website. Together with Denise Briffa and Crysta Darmanin we combine work on the publication and website while bringing up lots of children (seven between us!).


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