Find out all about the local childcare, Nursery/kindergarten, including forest schooling and community learning, as well as homeschooling.
Nursery / Kindergarten: How it Works
Nurseries, or kindergarten, are called creche or infantário, whereas preschool is called jardim de infância or pré-escola. Nurseries, often, have their integrated preschool and, in this case, are called creche e jardim de infância.
Creche and infantário are equivalents and care for babies and toddlers from 3 or 4 months to about 2 years old.
Jardim de Infância or pré-Escola, are interchangeable terms and, take children aged from 3 to 5 years old.
Children up to 2 years old, can go to a creche or, to a combined creche e Pré-Escola instead, where children can go until they are 5 years old, all the way up to the start of primary school.
Similarly, children starting at the age of 3 onwards, can enroll in a joint pre-and primary school, such as the Escolas Básicas da Ericeira, Carvoeira, and Santo Isidoro. These children are offered the opportunity to stay in the same school until the end of primary school, at about the age of 10.
In Ericeira and its surroundings, there are no free creche services. The closest to that is called IPSS – Private Institutions of Social Solidarity, and we only have a couple of them.
Luckily, there are private nurseries. Although they may look numerous, especially if we extend the area to Mafra, in reality, we could certainly use at least a few more.
Free Education in Ericeira starts from the age of 3 (if there is vacancy) when the child can be admitted in a public jardim de infância in of of the Escolas Básicas mentioned above, or in the Jardins de infância in Santo Isidoro, Ribamar, Barril, Encarnacao and Azenhas dos Tanoeiros.
Public Childcare with Creche
There are no free public children nurseries with creche in Ericeira are. The closest to that, are the two Private Institutions of Social Solidarity, IPSS. These are the Centro Social da Ericeira, in town, and the CEBI Foundation, in Fonte Boa dos Nabos, which is about 2.5 km from the center.
IPSS is a popular type of educational institution around here and is halfway between public and private education. The fees vary in function of the family’s declared income.
For instance, in the current school year, 2018/2019, the minimum and maximum creche fees paid in Ericeira are 72 and 360 euros.
Centro Social de Ericeira childcare nursery kindergarten
The Centro Social de Ericeira has a total capacity for 330 children, from 4 months to 5 years old, and yet, is always full. Despite that, there are still children waiting for a place.
How Many Classes, Children and Teachers?
There are about 9 classes, but depending on the demand. For example, this year, the groups are organized as follows:
- 1 Bercario, with babies from 4 to 12 months, which has capacity for 16 children
- 4 Creche rooms, for toddlers from 1 to 2 years old. 2 of these have capacity for 10 toddlers each and the other 2, for another 14 each
- 4 Pre-escola classes, for children from 3 to 5 years old, with capacity for a maximum of 17 children each.
In each classroom, there are 1 teacher and 2 or 3 assistants.
Sometimes, the nursery opens an extra babies’ room in January. Not this year though.
What do parents say about the Centro Social de Ericeira?
Whether directly asking the parents or reading their online reviews, it seems obvious to me, how happy and grateful their parents are to have their children at the nursery.
The positive aspects include the loving and dedicated staff, the outdoor activities, such as going to the beach or harbor (seeing the fish and talking to the fisherman), going to the library and the park, as well as the food cooked at the nursery from scratch.
How and when can I sign up for the Centro Social de Ericeira?
For making a pre-registration, you will need to go to the nursery, fill up a form, and, ideally, bring the following documents:
- mortgage or renting contract, if paying;
- tax revenue, if in Portugal;
- recent payslip;
- child’s ID
There is no need for booking an appointment, and there is no fee.
What are the fees at the Centro Social de Ericeira?
For the current school year, 2018/2019 the fees were as follows.
- Minimum monthly fee 72 euros
- Maximum monthly fee 360 euros
- Enrollment fee and insurance, 65 euros
CEBI Foundation childcare nursery kindergarten
This is a much smaller nursery, compared with the Centro Social, with only 3 classes. In the current school year, 2018/2019, the nursery is running full capacity and could not admit all the children on the waiting list. The most disputed service is the baby’s room.
The foundation, being a nursing home as well as a children’s nursery, offers the opportunity for both, children and the elderly, to benefit from the presence of one another.
The garden and surrounding nature are other differentials of this little school.
How many classes, children and teachers?
There are only 3 classes, as follows:
- Bercario, for babies from 4 to 12 months, with capacity for 9 babies. This is the most disputed service
- Creche room, for toddlers from 1 to 2 years old, with capacity for w toddlers.
- Pre-escola class, for children from 3 to 5 years old, capacity for z children.
There 3 or 4 carers for each class, being 1 teacher and 2 or 3 assistants
Children can be admitted as early as 07:30 am and leave as late as 7:30 pm.
What do parents say about the CEBI foundation?
As this is a smaller nursery, bumping into one of these parents is less likely. However, you can check on videos and pictures on Ericeira’s foundation branch Facebook page here.
How and when can we register at the CEBI foundation?
The nursery recommends filling up the pre-registration online form as soon as possible because older applications have priority over newer ones. No fee is charged for this.
Parents are contacted from April onward. Those who are still interested in a place will be invited to visit the nursery and have a meeting to help with deciding whether to go ahead with enrollment.
What are the fees at the CEBI Foundation?
For the current school year, 2018/2019 the fees were as follows.
- Minimum monthly fee 120 euros
- Maximum monthly fee 345 euros
- Enrollment fee 322 euros or, 75 euros for children who attended the previous year.
The children, as well as the staff, reflect Ericeira’s multicultural environment of today.
Private Childcare, Nursery / kindergarten in Ericeira
In Ericeira and Mafra there are 5 private nurseries, as follows.
Colégio Verde Água childcare nursery kindergarten and preschool
This is our favorite private nursery and the one we know the best. You can read more about our personal experience and view of the school here.
Located near the center of Mafra, in Crapinheira.
The nursery has a capacity for about 80 children, from 4 months to 5 years old. Though, the school has recently opened a primary and middle school in a different location, with a capacity for 150 children.
The creche e Jardim de infância can take up to 8 babies, 12 toddlers in the 1 to 2-year-old’s room, 17 toddlers in the 2 to 3-year-old’s, and 25 children in each of the two 3 to 5-year-old’s classrooms.
Each classroom counts with 1 teacher, 1 to 2 assistants, and, often, a trainee.
There is daily English class, and music and gymnastic once a week
The fees for the school year 2018/2019 are €424 monthly, and about €350 for enrollment.
All year online registration https://colegioverdeagua.pt/inscricoes/
Estrela do Mar childcare nursery kindergarten
- Located in Ericeira
- Capacity for 33 children, including 8 babies, from 4 to 12 months, 10 toddlers from 1 to 2 and 15 from 2 to 3 years old.
- From 7:30am to 7:00pm. Prefered arrival time between 09:00 and 10:00 am
- Fees 290 euros/month including food
- 1 teacher and 1 assistent per class room
- All year pre-registration. You can book a visit via email and fill up the registration form during the visit or, you can provide the required information and proof of payment via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Creche da Câmara Municipal de Mafra childcare nursery kindergarten
- Located in Mafra
- Capacity for 20 babies, from 4 to 12 months, and 64 toddlers, from 1 to 3 years old.
- Fees with food are from 303 to 310 euros/month
- From 7:30am to 7:30pm.
- All year registration. Enrollment for the new school year done in the last 2 weeks of May, in the school. Email email@example.com
Escolinha dos Pequenitos childcare nursery kindergarten
- Located in Mafra
- Capacity for 75 children, including 8 babies from 4 to 12 months, 14 toddlers from 1 to 2 years old and 16 from 2 to 3 years old.
- From 7:30 am to 7:30 pm.
- Fees 265 euros/month + 50 euros/month for food, for 1 year-old and above.
- All year pre-registration via email.
- Website www.escolinhadospequenitos.pt
Colegio Art & Manha preschool
- In Mafra
- Capacity 75 children, aged from 3 (and those completing 3 until December 31st) to 5 years old.
- 20 children per classroom,
- 1 teacher, 1 assistant and 1 trainee all year round.
- From 7:30 am to 7:30 pm
- Fees 285 euros/month, including food.
- Daily English/Spanish
- once a week music class and gymnastics.
- All year online pre-registration http://www.colegioartemanha.pt/candidatura-online/
On a finishing note, we are positively impressed with our local nurseries. We only ever hear parents saying good things about the little schools in general. Having said that, some parents, as we do, wish that their children spent more of their time at school playing outdoors, in nature. An important thing to have in mind is timing: the sooner you can make your way into the waiting list, the better.
Thank you for reading and I hope you have found this information useful. I would love to hear back from you. Let me know what you think about this topic and if there is anything else you would like me to cover. Subscribe and keep up to date with life in Ericeira.
Since September 2021, Enraizar has opened up to welcome 3 to 5-year-old children. This is an alternative school in Monte Bom and Pucarica, about which you can read more in our article Homeschooling & Alternative Schools, as well as on their web page Enraizar.
You can also contact the school via email firstname.lastname@example.org