The guide to surviving Kindergarten

Dear parents and guardians,

The new scholastic year for fellow Kindergarteners is just around the corner. Cue the time of the year where parents opt for the most visually appealing school bags and splurge-worthy stationery, all the very best for our little ones! While this time of the year is deemed a milestone for your child as they will be gaining rudimentary skills (be it social skills, motor skills and independent skills, just to name a few), shifting to kindergarten from childcare might induce anxiety for both parents and the child. The latter might find it difficult to socialize with anyone other than their family members, this is usually evident by the river of tears and tantrums especially in the case of children suffering from separation anxiety.

It’s not the end of the world… yet! The Kindergarten blues will be over before you know it, maybe not with the snap of a finger. If only it were that easy! Saying it takes a lot of patience is indeed an understatement given that not all children get accustomed to new environments at the same pace. However, it is fundamental that parents or legal guardians support their child through this new chapter of their life and participate in the activities pertaining to the curriculum as much as possible.

Rest assured that your child will be in good hands, bearing in mind that corporal punishment is strictly forbidden in all schools in Malta & Gozo. Schools also operate a strict anti-bullying policy and disciplinary action will be taken against the oppressor. Outings are organized on a regularly basis, parents are notified in advance by means of a consent form which is to be signed and sent to the school in a sealed envelope together with the money for the transport provided. In the case of disapproval, the child will be allocated to a class and will be monitored by an assigned teacher.

Tuck shops and vending machines can be found in a great deal of schools across the island although most parents prefer to prepare lunches for their children. In the recent years, schools have started emphasizing on healthy eating more and more. As a result, a healthy eating policy has been issued to all schools by the Ministry of Education, Youth & Employment. It is the responsibility of parents to determine the benefits and/or detriments (in terms of nutrition) of the lunch prepared. The successful Breakfast Club initiative has also helped students enhance their social and independent skills.

If the school notices that the lunch does not comply with the healthy eating guidelines, parents will be notified immediately to rectify the matter at hand.

Permissible victuals Prohibited victuals
Fresh/toasted slice sandwiched bread, rolls, baguettes, ftira, buns, ciabatta, pocket bread, pittas (preferably wholegrain) with healthy fillings Fried foods
Maltese bread with tuna, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and beans (Hobz biz-zejt) Potato chips
Pizza with healthy toppings, preferably with a wholegrain dough base High fat and/or high salt processed foods including sausages, hot dogs, burgers, fish cakes, battered and crumb-coated fried products, salami, mortadella, luncheon meat and processed cheese.
Hot dishes including baked rice, baked macaroni and vegetable lasagne Pizzas containing high fat and/or high salt toppings, namely sausages, salami, pepperoni and high fat cheese
Cold rice, couscous and pasta salads Pastizzi, sausage rolls, hot dogs and pastries
Pies and quiches containing healthy fillings Doughnuts, cream and jam filled cakes, iced cakes and sweet pastries
Baked potatoes, can be plain or contain healthy fillings including ricotta, low fat cheese, tuna, vegetables, corn and pulses Chocolates and candy
Soups deficient in fat and salt and consisting of fresh/frozen ingredients Ice cream
A wide array of salads Breakfast cereals & cereal bars
Variety of dips including vegetable, tuna, ricotta, bean, bigilla and humus Bagged snacks including potato, wheat, rice and maize
* Healthy fillings/toppings can be any of the following complying with the Malta’s National Dietary Guidelines: fresh or frozen vegetables, tuna, sardines, mackarel, salmon, chicken, ricotta, baked omelettes & patties, skimmed mozzarella, low fat cheese, hard boiled eggs, traditional Maltese bigilla, beans & lentils, kunserva, low fat spread, low falt & low salt dressings.
Prohibited chocolates include milk chocolate, plain chocolate, white chocolate bars, chocolate flakes, chocolate buttons, chocolate eggs, filled chocolate, chocolate coated confectionery bars/biscuits. Prohibited sweets include gums, liquorice, mint, sherbet, sugar dried fruit, fudge, toffee, marshmallows, nougat, Turkish delight, cereal chewy bars, crunchy bars, processed fruits bars and chewing gum.
Permissible snacks
Savoury Snacks Sweet Snacks
Galleti, water crackers, crackers, rice cakes and crispbreads. Ideally these should be low in fat and salt, as well as wholegrain. Yeast Rings (Qaghaq tal-hmira)
Nuts and seeds – must not be fried and cannot contain salt or sugar. Biskutelli
Dried beans and chickpeas – can be natural or roasted sans any added salt or sugars Chelsea Buns
Soya nuts sans any added salt or sugars Plain cakes, muffins and biscuits low in fat & sugar and high in fibre
Air-popped popcorn without any added butter Breakfast cereals and cereal bars low in fat and sugar, and high in fibre
Fruit breads and currant bunts as long as they are low in fat and sugar
Permissible fruits and desserts
Fresh fruits and fruit salads
Unsweetened canned fruit
Plain dried fruit sans any added fats
Fresh or frozen yoghurts
Soya desserts
Fruit granitas or iced lollies
Permissible beverages Prohibited beverages
Still or sparkling water Flavoured water
100% pure fruit/vegetable juices Soft drinks (both regular & diet)
Fresh milk or UHT (preferably fresh) Iced teas
Hot tea using plain leaves Energy drinks
Hot/cold milk drinks Coffee
Drinks made from fruits, vegetables, yoghurts, milk or a combination of the aforementioned ingredients Beverages containing caffeine
Oat, soya or rice drinks Juices with added sugar and/or sweeteners and are not 100% pure fruit/vegetable juice
Low fat chocolate drinks Fruit nectars and fruit/juice drinks

It is of paramount importance that parents refrain from buying uniforms too early during the child’s first year of kindergarten as they might run the risk of growing out of them. Uniforms can be purchased from Yorkie Uniforms in San Gwann and InDesign in Attard. Circulars may also indicate which state schools sell said uniforms during the summer. Students are to don the full uniform and cannot wear clothing not part of the school uniform such as zip-up jackets.

There are no fees associated with enrolling your child in a state school where books are supplied free of charge and parents need only pay for outings and stationery, as opposed to church schools, private schools and independent schools.

Kindergarteners are not assigned with any hand-written based assignments. Instead they are to hone their literary and numeracy skills, parents are strongly advised to encourage their children to learn more especially through play and reading. At least fifteen minutes should be dedicated to reading with your child before bedtime.

Going through hardships at the moment? Guidance and counselling services are offered to all students upon fixing up an appointment. Learning Support Assistants are also offered to students with learning disabilities such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), autism, dyslexia, Down Syndrome and more.

We wish you all the best with your child’s development, may this be an academic year to remember!