Author: Maria Francalanza and Marisa Khalifa Illustrated: Nicole Diacono
The concept of time is alien to many children. Because of that, many kindergartners are extremely anxious when it comes to going to school, precisely because they cannot tell for how long they will be separated from their parent.
Although they cannot tell time, they develop a sense of order through repeated routines. Three- and four-year-olds feel secure when they follow the same time schedules daily: get dressed, eat breakfast, ride to school, participate in class time and then play during lunch break. Because for them time is intangible, they become aware of the passage of time when the same events start reoccurring at specific times during the day.
X’ħin hu? is the only book in Maltese on the market which aims to tackle early school children apprehension. In simple, rhyming text, it tells the story of a boy and a girl who wake up in the morning and prepare for school and an hour-by-hour account of what they do at school.
This helps kindergartners know what time it is and they begin to understand that certain things, like the start and end of school, happen at a defined time each day. Both authors of X’ħin hu? Maria Francalanza and Marisa Khalifa are kindergarten teachers. They got the idea to write the book about a year ago during an open day at their school, the San Ġorġ Qormi Primary School, which is part of the Kulleġġ Sant’Injazju, which tackled the theme of time. “On that day we realised that in Malta there is a lack of books about students’ daily routine. The following day we both came back to school bouncing rhyming verses off each other – and they found themselves in a book,” said the authors.
San Ġorġ Primary School was a source of inspiration for the authors and in fact it features in the illustrations of the book, beautifully depicted by Nicole Diacono. The illustrator was very careful to include the clock, in different shapes and formats, in the drawings. “Although preschoolers cannot really read the clock, they are aware that it is a tool that helps them measure how time passes,” said the authors.
The book, which can be read to children in the classroom or at home, is fully endorsed by the National Literacy Agency.
‘X’ħin hu?’ is availabe for sale from all bookshops or directly online from www.merlinpublishers.com