Childcare & Schools Education, Health, Housing & Papers

School Break Amid Covid-19 Crisis

If the enforced learning-from-home period has been specially hard on parents, the prospect of school break on the other hand, has never been more appealing.

School standards are high here

Generally speaking, parents of children who have been to school in other countries will agree that the learning standards, as well as the volume of information, are pretty high in our local public schools.

Nonetheless, during the current Covid-19 crisis, which in Portugal covers the last 3 months of the school year, the country has stuck to the usual curriculum. The delivery of all this however, relied heavily on parents to juggle yet another roll – school teachers, throughout quarantine and social distancing.

child learning to write
Homeschooling in Ericeira

The distance-learning experience was so bad that I had to take over, to dive in. And then I was drained by the end of the first week. Now you can imagine how the child felt…

Says JA, Brazilian mother to eight year-old LP

Following the 14-week long ‘mass’ homeschooling program, children and parents alike welcome the much longed-for Summer school break. No more school curriculum – this is no doubt well deserved respite for all.

Our distance-learning was an online live chat, where we had to read super fast and and type even faster. My daughter could not follow the conversation and I wasn’t much help, Portuguese being my second language.

Says LP , English mother to 12 years old YP

But now that the long endured learning-from-home days are over, and the school break is officially on, how can you make sure to make the most of it?

Wild flowers meadow in Ericeira
Wild flowers meadow in Ericeira

Bye Bye Distance Learning, Hello Summer School Break

Sure, living in Ericeira is already a great starting point for a successful summer break. You have plenty of outdoor space and endless options for things to do. To name just a few, there are walking and cycling paths through the countryside and a huge number of beaches to choose from. Not bad, but there is more.

Boy playing on the path along Ribeira do Cuco in Santo Isidoro
Path along Ribeira do Cuco, near Ribeira d’Ilhas beach

I want to surf, surf, surf and then skate, skate, skate

Says 8-year old TGH, about his plans for this school break

Here are some of the local summer activities available to our children, ranging from Yoga and acrobatics to Surf and Forest school.

Surf, Yoga and Skate Summer Camp

Academia Surf Ericeira offers weekly packs with whole day surf, skate, yoga and capoeira activities for children from 7 to 16 years old. Pick-up and drop-off between activities are included. And, the meeting point is in the Surf Yoga Portugal building, above Ribeira d’Ilhas beach.

Summer Camp 2020 flyer: Yoga, Surf, Skate & Capoeira for 7 to 16 years old, from 29 June to 24 July. Fee €170 per week. Courtesy Academia Surf Ericeira
Summer Camp 2020 Courtesy Academia Surf Ericeira – School Break amid Covid-19 crisis
  • Age: 7 to 16 years
  • Groups size: mixed age groups for yoga and Capoeira activities. Smaller groups by age and skills for skate and surf activities
  • Team & ratio: Surf Yoga instructors, 3 to 4 children per adult
  • Time: 09:30 am to 05:00 pm
  • Venue: Surf Yoga Portugal for yoga activities, lunch and meeting point; 58 Surf space for skate and capoeira activities; Ribeira d’Ilhas or other beach for sour, depending on the waves
  • Lunch: bring your own food. Microwave available
  • Safety: following Covid-19 recommendations, insurance included, registered company
  • Registration: Facebook page, academia_surf_ericeira Instagram page, or via email surfyogaportugal@gmail.com
  • Fee: €170

Forest School Summer Camp

Academia da Alegria offers an outdoor, nature-based Summer camp that is in line with their Forest School philosophy. The activities take place in the school’s forest land in Mafra. Their usual teachers participate, as well as some of the alternative school students.

Academia da Alegria Forest School  Summer activities 2020 flyer
Forest school Summer Camp 2020 amid Covid-19 crisis – Academia da Alegria courtesy

What is more, the weekly package comes at an excellent price, which already includes insurance. With the €60 per week fee, the forest camp really is great value for money, a bargain in fact!

Forest school land in Mafra
Forest school land in Mafra – Academia da Alegria courtesy
  • Age: 2 to 12 years
  • Group size: 2-3 years old, up to 12 children; 4-6 years old, up to 14 children; 7- 13 years old, up 12 children per group
  • Team & ratio: Academia da Alegria’s teachers, trainees & psychologist. 3 to 4 children per teacher/trainee
  • Activities: Forest School and outdoor learning, including story-telling, biology, art, physical fitness and yoga
  • Venue: Forest land with a stream in Monte Godel, Mafra
  • Pick-up and drop-off: by parents
  • Time: 08:30 am to 6 pm
  • Fee: €60 per week
  • Lunch: bring your own food
  • Registration open until previous Friday, via email academiadalegria@gmail.com or telephone 932 854 930
  • Safety: Covid-19 recommendations, insurance included, Whats-app parents’ group with daily updates

Acrodance School Break Camp

During the school year, the Acrodance team at Sofacro Gym is responsible for the gymnastic, trampoline and acrobatics activities, as part of the after-school club Acrobatikprecision. Outside the school year however, the team runs this school break camp, which includes dance and gymnastic-based activities, among other things.

During the school year, Acrobatikprecision – Sofacro Gym runs the Acrodance club and the ATL afterschool club. The former, focuses on gymnastics, trampoline and acrobatic gymnastics activities. Whereas the latter, offers after school-time support, helping children with their homework and proposing didactic activities.

Outside the school year, the team runs the school break camp program. This program includes dance and gymnastics activities, as well as walks, among other things.

This is another great budget-friendly option for this school break, with a €50 per week fee, which includes lunch.

Sofacro Gym - Ancrodance school break activities flyer
Acrodance school holidays program 2020 amid Covid-19 crisis – Sofacro Gym courtesy
  • Age: 3-4 to 15 years
  • Groups: mixed ages group as much as possible, depending on the activities
  • Team & ratio: the usual Acrodança teachers and assistants. The ratio is up to 10 children per adult
  • Activities: mainly outdoors, beach, dance, games, gymnastics, ping-pong, arts, walking, free-playing and more
  • Time: 08:30 am to 06:00 pm
  • Venue: Sociedade Columbofila da Ericeira, Rua da Ribeira da Baleia, next to Continent supermarket
  • Lunch: included
  • Fees: €50
  • Safety: insurance included, observes Covid-19 recommendations
  • Registration: by preceding Thursday, via email acrobatikprecision@gmail.com or telephone 965 631 257
  • More: Instagram @acrobatikprecision, Sofacro Gym FB page

CAF Estrelas Brilhantes School Break Program

Estrelas Brilhantes colonia de ferias 2020 flyer - Amid Covid-19 crisis
Estrelas Brilhantes School holidays camp 2020 flyer – Amid Covid-19 crisis

The after-school club Estrelas Brilhantes in Encarnação also has an attractive offer for this school break. The team is hosting a small group of up to 15 children and focusing on younger children. This team is formed by 1 teacher and 2 assistants and reinforced by 2 Capoeira instructors on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Despite the extra miles, Estrelas Brilhantes may be well worth the journey, specially at their excellent €150 monthly fee and transport arrangements.

  • Age: 3 to 10 years
  • Team & group size: 15 children, 3 to 5 adults
  • Time: 07:30 am to 07:30 pm, Monday to Friday from June 29
  • Activities: capoeira on Mon & Wed; indoors and outdoors swimming pools, trampoline, playground and other common children’s games played mostly outdoors – see pictures on their FB page
  • Venue: Mon & Wed in Encarnação; Tue, Thu & Fri in Casalinhos de Alfaiata
  • Safety: insurance included, observes Covid-19 recommendations
  • Fee: €80 per 2 weeks or €150 per month
  • Registration: via email Caf.estrelas.brilhantes@hotmail.com or telephone 938 682 2332

Mafra Council School Break Activities

Another option for this Summer that will not break the bank, is the Council Summer holiday program.

 Mafra Council Summer Break 2020 amid Covid-19 crisis flyer
Mafra Council Summer Break – amid Covid-19 crisis
  • Age: 3 to 10 years
  • Who: all children who live in Mafra concelho, even if not going to school
  • Groups: primary and preschool groups are separate. Two primary school groups with 10 children each, so far
  • Team & ratio: school assistants and others. 5 children per adult, at the moment
  • Venue: the schools in Ericeira (EB e JI) and Santo Isidoro (EB e JI)
  • Planned outings: to Tapada Nacional de Mafra 
  • Time: 07:30 am to 07: 00 pm, weekly from 29 June to 11 September
  • Meals: lunch and 2 snacks included, daily
  • Safety: insurance included, observes Covid-19 recommendations
  • Fees: depending on the family’s declared revenue, called escalões do abono de família para crianças e jovens , from €24 a week; 20% discount for siblings
  • Registration: fill in the form and send it via email ccm-caf@cm-mafra.pt together with ID, NIF and proof of IBAN, up to 10 days before the intended date
  • Find out more here
Walking path around Ericeira

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