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Family Life and Childcare for Expats in Malta

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: November 2013

Family life in Malta

Malta is a relatively small country. It only has about 410,000 residents with all of them are living on the two largest islands, the Island of Malta and the Island of Gozo. Most Maltese are Catholic with traditional values, younger members of the family live at home with their parents until they get married and move into the marital home. It was once common for women to stop working once they were married but due to the financial crisis more women are staying in work. Family members tend to stay very close to each other.

The Maltese normally work five days a week and prefer outdoor activities in their leisure time. As they live on an island, the main place is the seaside. Fishing is popular whilst many also spend time in leisure centres or going for a picnic. The official language in Malta is Maltese and English. 

Childcare in Malta

If you are moving to Malta with your children and looking to find a local childcare service provider, the locals may be able to recommend suitable babysitters, nannies or child-minders otherwise, childcare centres or kindergartens are a good option. In Malta, compulsory education starts from five, before this they can attend a state-run childcare centre or kindergarten.  

Childcare centres are for children between three months and three years old. Such childcare centres follow the National Standards for Child Day Care Facilities (2006). Cost of the facilities can be deducted from the parent’s tax amount payable to the Inland Revenue Department. To qualify, these childcare facilities have to be registered with the Department for Social Welfare Standards (DSWS).

Generally, centres are open to all children and families but you should note priority will be given to certain children according to the following rules:  

  • Children who live closer;
  • Children whose parents work in or close to the locality;
  • Children whose parents are not capable to look after them due to serious problems, such as health problems;
  • Children from single parent families and the parents choose to attend a course or decide to work to improve their financial situation; and
  • Children who can get benefit from being in the centre due to family circumstances.

List of state-run childcare centres can be found here: https://education.gov.mt/en/education/Documents/FES%20CHILDCARE%20CENTRES.pdf.

Kindergartens are for children of between three and five years old. If you move to Malta and want to send your children to the state-run kindergarten, you should register your children with the Head of the Primary School of your locality. Both parents’ identity must be presented. In case of separated or annulled parents, court degree of separation or annulment is needed.

There are childcare centres or kindergartens run by the church. It was said such childcare services are free. However, parents may need to donate to fulfil any shortfall of the operation or to improve the teaching facilities of such schools. There are also some private childcare services.    

It is always a big challenge for parents to choose a satisfying childcare centre or kindergarten. Apart from the cost, you need to check if the premises are clean and that the toys are cleaned regularly. Additionally make sure to check the childcare service provider is licensed. You can get more information here when you choose a childcare centre or kindergarten: https://www.kidsmalta.com/pages/view/childcare.aspx.

 

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