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Lifelong Learning is a Lifetime of Opportunities

​‘You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth’.
The Prophet’ by Khalil Gibran 

 

Nowadays, FES is synonymous with providing childcare services, after-school programmes and summer school. These three services are playing a major role in the Maltese economy in that parents, partners and guardians are able to engage in full time employment and or a full-time course of study. At the same time, these services, besides providing a safe environment to these children, offer non-formal and informal education opportunities to children aged zero to sixteen. Currently, FES has fourteen childcare centres in operation. In addition, Klabb 3-16, the after-school service is provided in twenty-eight centres, whilst this figure rises to about sixty centres during Skolasajf.

A Key Player
A key player in both Klabb 3-16 and Skolasajf is the ‘Playworker’. The playworker can be described as that individual who literally works with children through play. This implies that the playworker likes being around with children and is able to immerse him / herself in their imaginative world. However, besides possessing these personal qualities, the playworker must be equipped with the knowledge and skills so as to be in a better position to understand the needs of those children entrusted in his or her care. Consequently, a course of studies was designed to complement the playworker’s abilities to work with children.

The Playworker Course
The course was designed in collaboration with the Institute for Education (IfE). It primarily targets those individuals who like to be with and communicate with children whilst at the same time, would like to return to employment but without the commitment of a ‘full-time’ job. Experience has shown that a category of individuals aspiring to become playworkers are in fact mothers. After having raised their own children, they now have sufficient time on their hands to commit themselves to ‘part-time’ employment whilst doing something they love, which is being with children.

Course Content
Personal experiences of raising one’s own children, can never be found in any kind of textbook. On the other hand, the knowledge and skills needed to handle children hailing from diverse social and multi-cultural backgrounds, must be taught and learnt. This course ensures that the aspiring playworker gets in touch with the reality that s/he will encounter in a typical Maltese classroom setting.

The course is divided into five phases. Phase one consists of an Induction Meeting at FES Head Office. Here applicants are given information about Klabb 3-16 and Skolasajf and the role of the playworker in these services. Applicants are then assigned the centre where they would be performing their duties. FES tries, where possible, to assign centres which are in the vicinity of the applicant’s residence.

Phase two consists of a Job Shadowing experience. Applicants will have forty hours of shadowing a playworker who is already working in a centre. This will provide applicants with some insight of the children attending the centre, the playworker’s interaction with the children and the Centre Coordinator’s vision for the centre s/he is in charge of.

Phase three consists of the five taught lectures. Lecture one provides applicants insights into how to deal with challenging behaviour and knowledge of disabilities, with special emphasis on autism. Lecture two highlights the importance of effective communication and teamwork with all stakeholders. Classroom management is the subject of lecture three. Applicants are taught how to manage a class whilst at the same time meeting children’s needs. Lecture four concentrates on ‘Activity design, implementation and evaluation’. Whilst FES provides programmes of activities to Klabb 3-16 and Skolasajf, applicants are also encouraged to be creative and to come up with their own activities and or those activities which complement the ones in the programme provided. FES acknowledges that applicants bring with them their own talents and so are encouraged to utilise them when providing activities to children. Lecture five deals with diversity and inclusion. Applicants learn about the diverse learners they would encounter in the centre and, how to create an inclusive culture in their classroom by recognising and eliminating exclusion practises.

Phase four ensures that applicants are also given a course in First Aid. This is carried out in collaboration with Jobsplus. Providing a safe environment to children is a key element in all FES services. However, one can never say that accidents may not happen, and so the playworker as the first-aider, would be present in such an eventuality. Finally, during phase five, applicants are called at FES Head Office and an evaluation session of the knowledge, skills and experience gained from working in the centre is carried out.

Interested?
It must be pointed out that the course is free of charge and that applicants would start getting paid once they start their job shadowing experience. Applications for this course are ongoing and one may apply by clicking here.​