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0-3 years

Early Childhood Education and Care Services

The process towards promoting and regulating Early Childhood Education and Care Services in Malta has in the last years been proceeding at a steady pace, so as to meet the needs of both service-users and service-providers. The development and publication of an Early Childhood Education and Care National Policy Framework for Malta and Gozo​, is a first step towards a comprehensive high quality ECEC provision in the Maltese context.

Early Childhood Education and Care Services are either provided within specifically designed facilities or within private homes. The latter is known as a home-based service. In both cases, parents would like to feel assured that their children are well looked after by suitable persons within suitable premises. In 2021, DQSE has issued an information booklet​ intended for all parents/guardians who have babies and/or toddlers and who are thinking of enrolling them in a Childcare Centre.

Babies and children up to the age of three are particularly vulnerable and require the best possible care for their well-being and development. It is important that persons entrusted with the care of children, do give infants the best alternative care possible, and that standards are maintained to ensure the safety and well-being of these children.

Throughout these past years, considerable effort has been invested in the early childhood development and care sector. The most important milestones achieved so far include:

  • The publication of the ChildCare Centre Internal Review and the ChildCare Centre External Review​ handbooks in October 2023;
  • The publication of new National Standards for Early Childhood Education and Care (0-3 years) in October 2021;
  • The publication of new Registration Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Services (0-3 years) in October 2021;
  • The publication of the new Early Childhood Education and Care National Policy Framework for Malta and Gozo in October 2021;

  • The publication of the National Standards for Child Day Care Facilities in July 2006;
  • ETC's European Social Fund project for Childcare Facilities at the work place;
  • The drawing up of separate planning guidelines for Childcare facilities by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority ;
  • The Improvement Grant Scheme for Child Day Care Facilities as announced in the Budget Speech for 2006;
  • The Provisional Registration of Child Day Care Facilities;
  • The National Information Campaign of the Benefits of Quality Child Care.

ECEC Stand​ards

The Ministry for Education (MFED) considers the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), as the most important time in the life of children, a period which directly impacts on how a child approaches future learning and social-emotional challenges.  MFED has signalled ECEC as one of the priorities and drivers in its ongoing efforts to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

After a thorough consultation with all major stakeholders, the Ministry has launched the new National Standards, Early Childhood Education and Care Services (0-3 Years) (Maltese version​) in October 2021.

These are envisaged to:

  1. Reflect recent developments in the ECEC (0-3 years) field within a Maltese context. Consequently, this document also includes standards related to night ECEC service provision (0-3 years);
  2. Be in line with ongoing ECEC research and practice for children aged 0-3 years;
  3. Develop and strengthen a more socially just and active labour market in the Maltese islands, by sustaining availability and accessibility of quality ECEC services;
  4. Ensure that these standards, focused on ECEC services for 0-to-3 year olds, are consistent with the overall framework for Early Years pedagogy (0 to 7 years) within the National Curriculum Framework (2012).​

These standards are intended to apply equally to childcare ECEC services operating both in the public and private sectors.​