Queen Rania visits crèche at Royal Medical Services


AMMAN — During a visit to the Royal Medical Services’ (RMS) nursery on Wednesday, Her Majesty Queen Rania checked on the recent achievements of the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) in early childhood development.

Funded by the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) and in line with the Early Childhood Development Strategy and the National Childhood Plan for 2004-13, the NCFA has been working on a project to develop services offered to children under the age of four.

As part of this project, the NCFA plans to standardise 10 nurseries in Jordan to serve as models that could be replicated across the Kingdom.

The workplace nursery which the Queen visited Wednesday was recently developed by NCFA as part of this project, according to a statement from Her Majesty’s office.

While checking on the crèche, Queen Rania listened to mothers and caregivers talk about the enhancement of services provided to children and infants, and the manner in which they positively affected their physical and emotional upbringing.

Queen Rania also met with a number of the project’s stakeholders and asserted the importance of partnerships such as the one between the NCFA and the AGFUND in helping to bring about positive change on the ground.

Recent studies have emphasised the importance of early childhood development and providing children with stimulating environments that help them develop their skills, the Queen said.

She praised the RMS for its “leading role in enhancing early childhood development practices” at its on-site nursery and expressed hope that such efforts would be replicated in crèches at private sector companies.

Such an achievement, the Queen noted, would be of tremendous support to working mothers and ultimately increase the number of women participating in the labour force.

RMS Director Maj. Gen. Khalaf Al Jader highlighted the importance of the RMS’ partnership with the NCFA, which positively affected the level of services that its nursery provides to 200 children.

NCFA Secretary General Fadel Al Homoud presented a briefing on the project’s achievements, which included developing national standards for establishing and licensing childhood centres, as well as issuing national guidelines for caregivers in early childhood development.

The council has also worked on developing a manual for early childhood development pertaining to children under the age of four. The manual can be found on the NCFA website.

In partnership with the Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education, the NCFA has also trained 10 teachers who won the KG category of the Teacher Award on early childhood development methods.

The trained teachers will in turn train other KG caregivers, ultimately enhancing the quality of services being offered in childhood care centres around Jordan.

Suha Tabbal of the NCFA described how the council released a guidebook that includes the set of skills children should be developing at certain stages in their development.

She added that the council also devised a number of activities aimed at engaging children and improving their skills.

Labour Ministry Secretary General Hamada Abu Nejmeh talked about the implementation of Article 72 of the Labour Law, which obligates companies with at least 20 female employees with a total of 10 children under the age of four to provide adequate daycare facilities in the workplace supervised by trained personnel.

Chairman of the King Abdullah II Fund for Development Omar Razzaz, said the fund is currently working with the NCFA to establish 100 new crèches at private sector companies in hopes of increasing female labour force participation.

Also speaking at the meeting, Hashemite University President Kamal Bani-Hani said the university is also working with the NCFA to establish an on-site nursery for 200 childrena