PARENT HANDBOOK - January 2020

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide children with a holistic developmental experience in a loving environment through various educational activities and experiences.

1. Admissions

Parents interested in viewing the premises can phone, send an email or message via the Facebook page to schedule an appointment with the school director. The director will meet the parents and their child to explain the school policies, give a tour of the premises and answer any
questions.

The registration form must be filled in and returned with a copy of the birth certificate, both parents’ ID cards, immunisation records and a passport-sized photo of the child.

If the child is to benefit from the Free-childcare Government Scheme, then the completed form together with the relevant additional documents are to be handed in together with the school registration form, by the third week of the month preceding start of school for the child (Example: if the child is to start school in May, then both forms together with their documents are to be handed in by the third week of April).

The school reserves the right to refuse any registration. The final decision lies with the school director.

2. Transition

Initiation into a school setting is a very important and delicate moment in a child’s development as it is the initial transition between home and school. Thus it needs to be handled with great care.

Newcomers are introduced to the school gradually, starting with a minimum of two hours, then increasing gradually in thirty minute intervals. This may be extended if the child is taking long to adapt. This system has proved helpful in recent years and the new children settle down very happily after a short period of time. Parents are welcome to communicate with the school at any time to monitor their child’s initiation into the school system.

3. Sickness

At St Cecilia’s Childcare & Kindergarten we believe that a sick child recovers best in the comfort of their own home. St Cecilia’s policy defines a sick child as one who cannot participate in the activities of the group, needs individual attention and care, has a temperature of over 38oC and acts differently than normal.

If a child is found to be ill, the parents will be contacted and asked to collect the child, and a doctor’s certificate stating that the child is fit for school would then be required upon return. If sick for three days or more, a doctor’s certificate covering the absence will be required. When a child is absent from school due to illness, the parents are to call and inform the school.

As of June 4th 2020, following the lifting of Government lockdown restrictions, this section also makes reference to special COVID-19 Guidance for parents.

4. Accidents

In the case of a minor accident at school, first aid will be administered by members of staff, the parents are called and informed of the situation and asked to check on the child at their earliest convenience.

However, should there be a greater accident, relevant members of staff will administer first aid and call an ambulance (as part of the first aid procedure) in order to ensure that the child receives any professional treatment needed as quickly as possible. The parents are then called to either collect the child or to accompany the child to hospital depending on the seriousness of the accident. An Accident Report is then filled in and signed by both staff and parents, and kept for school records.

5. Child Protection

5.1 Collection

When a child is registered at St Cecilia’s, the parents fill in a form with information on who is authorised to collect their child from school. If someone different will be collecting the child on a particular day, the parents are to call or message to inform the members of staff and provide name & ID Number of person collecting the child. If someone different comes to collect without our knowing in advance, a member of staff will contact the parents to confirm authorisation.

5.2 Uncollected Child

If a child is not collected from school, a member of staff will phone the child’s parents to remind them that the child is still waiting to be collected.

5.3 Safety of Child

Every precaution is taken to ensure that each child is safe both at school and during school outings.

5.4 Abuse and/or Neglect

If a member of staff suspects that a child is being abused or neglected, the situation is discussed with the school director and, if minor, discussed with the parents. If however, the situation doesn’t improve and/or the child is at immediate risk, the members of staff and the director will compile a report and this is then submitted to Child Protection Services.

6. Data Protection

6.1 Personal Records

Children’s detailed records are kept confidential, accessed only by administrative staff. Other members of staff have access to limited details (such as name, phone numbers and eligible pick-up person/s).

6.2 Photos

Parents will be asked to fill in a form detailing whether a child can appear on the different platforms that the school has (such as social media, website, etc.). Any data, information or photos of the children will not be passed on to third parties without written consent from the parents.

7. Behaviour

7.1 Promoting Good Behaviour

From the very beginning a gentle form of discipline will be implemented so as to help the child develop a happy and reasonably controlled behaviour in preparation for the years ahead. The word ‘No’ from any member of staff (used only when necessary) will begin to be observed by the child so as to prevent any injury or conflict between the children. A short time-out by the wall may be necessary if a child persists in disobeying or ignoring staff members. In extreme cases, a meeting with the child’s parents is set up to discuss the behaviour, where all parties involved in the care of the child are expected to be present.

7.2 Biting

Most children go through a biting phase between 12 - 36 months because they feel frustration at not being able to communicate their wants and needs. If a biting incident should occur, the victim will be treated first, then the biter will be guided to realise the wrong done and apologise to the victim. Parents of both parties will be informed. Episodes of biting should be tackled carefully and helping the child realise what has happened and why it is wrong are very important.

8. Healthy Lifestyle

8.1 Promoting Healthy Eating and Exercise

At St Cecilia’s we believe that the nutritional habits formed at a young age have a major influence on the child’s long-term health and well-being. We aim to continually improve the long-term health of the children in our care by working with parents to collaboratively promote and support a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating is important. We implement this by discouraging our pupils from eating unhealthy food, especially on a daily basis. Please support us by ensuring your child comes to school with fruit and/or a healthy alternative (yoghurt, plain cereal and sandwiches are ideal as lunchtime snacks to be consumed at school, together with water or milk as drinks).

Sweets, packets, chocolate, sugary-drinks (such as juices) or energy drinks are not allowed!

School carers are instructed to support healthy eating with healthy exercise. They assist children in participating in simple gardening projects, educational exercises and involvement in food preparation, as well as being positive roles models.

8.2 Hygiene

Hygiene is also important for a healthy lifestyle. Cleanliness is given importance at St Cecilia’s. Children are encouraged to wash their hands regularly and carers are constantly cleaning after the children to ensure a hygienic environment. Parents can support us in this by making sure children come to school clean, with hair tied-up and nails cut short.

9. School Development

9.1 Staff Recruitment

Members of staff are recruited by the school director who seeks to employ only those with satisfactory qualifications and aptitude, along with other requirements. A trial period will determine whether a new member of staff is suitable for the position or not.

9.2 Staff Development

Staff Meetings are organised to discuss and consolidate staff knowledge of requirements and procedures. Members of staff also attend courses so as to keep updated, which helps their professional development. Courses are also organised by the school, some of which might be open to parents who are interested in attending, to learn more about caring and assisting children in their learning and development.

9.3 Staff Supervision

The School Director is involved in regular staff supervision to ensure that all members of staff are supported in their needs and requirements, so as to help with difficulties while on the job and through their professional development.

9.4 Staff Records Keeping

Staff members’ detailed records of qualifications are kept confidential, accessed only by the director.

10. Collaboration with Parents

10.1 Working hand in hand

From day one parents are encouraged to work closely with the staff so as to ensure the best development of their child. Children are expected to arrive to school on time! Three Parents’ Days are held during the year so as to keep parents updated with their child’s improvement. Official notices will be sent with the child while any other note will be passed on through the communication notebook in the child’s bag.

Kindly label everything brought to school; personal toys from home are not allowed at school. It is important that the children come to school in full uniform according to the season. Shoes should be comfortable (trainers or shoes, sandals are not accepted), socks can only be either one of the following colours: red, yellow, green, blue or white. Earrings (if worn) should either be studs or sleepers (hoops close to the ears). Bags should be large enough to fit an A4 book!

10.2 Complaints

Parents are encouraged to discuss concerns with the school director who will investigate accordingly. The parents will be informed of any action taken in order to deal with the matter.

10.3 Whistle Blowing

Good practice includes valuing and respecting children as individuals as well as modelling of appropriate conduct by adults. All members of staff at St Cecilia’s have a duty to act upon any information received in respect of a child in their care and will contact relevant agencies as appropriate. The aim of our whistle blowing policy is to encourage all staff, students, volunteers or parents, who have serious concerns, to come forward and report them.

The director will ensure that the parents and staff get a response to their concerns and that they are aware of how to pursue them and get feedback on any action taken as a result. Complaints should preferably be in writing and addressed to the school director who will investigate the matter and report back to the parties concerned. The school director may opt to refer the matter to competent authorities such as the Social Services Department, the Education Directorate, or any other
relevant agency.

Parents may forward any complaints that they may encounter in the provision of Child Day Care Services to ensure the best interests of all concerned, above all, the best interest of the children. Complaints may be forwarded to the DQSE through email on customercare.dqse@gov.mt, by telephone on (+356) 2598 1414 or by post by filling in the MEDE Complaint Form available from here, and sending it to The Director, Quality Assurance Department, Education Village, Joseph Abela Scolaro Street, Hamrun.

Harassment or victimisation will not be tolerated. No action will be taken against anyone who makes an allegation in good faith. Every effort will be made to ensure confidentiality in as far as this is reasonably practical.

11. Equal Opportunities

11.1 No discrimination

At St Cecilia’s we are committed to taking positive and proactive steps to ensure a safe and caring environment, free from discrimination, for everyone including children with special needs. We aim to provide a welcoming and caring environment that promotes and reflects cultural and social diversity and is equally accessible to all. All staff members will endeavour to challenge any offensive behaviour, language or attitudes
with regards to race ethnicity, nationality, class, religion, culture, gender, language, sexual orientation or disability. Our aim is to ensure that none of these inhibit a child from accessing all the opportunities that are provided within our school setting.

11.2 Inclusion

Our school policy regarding inclusion is to welcome people from all walks of life, irrespective of race, religion or social background. We are primarily a Roman Catholic school but children from other religions are welcome and their values respected as they respect ours.