1. What is the difference between crèche and kindergarten?

The crèche is an establishment for children aged 0 to 3 years old and the kindergarten for children between 3 years old and the age of entry into basic education.

2. Is enrollment in pre-school education compulsory?

Although it is up to the State to offer places and conditions for pre-school education (Law Nº 5/97, of February 10th), attendance at educational establishments is optional.

3. Is pre-school education free?

Attendance is free and financed by the Ministry of Education in the public and non-profit sectors. In addition, there is the private or for profit sector, where services are paid. However, even in this system, the government can offer support to the most economically vulnerable families (Order nº. 17472/2001, of August 20th and Ordinance nº. 64/2018, of January 23rd).

4. What are the opening hours?

The hours of pre-school education establishments comprise two periods: one for teaching activities (5 hours a day) and another for entertainment and family support activities. It must be explained to parents and guardians at the time of registration or renewal. In the public network, they are in operation until at least 17:30, for a minimum period of 8 hours daily.

5. What is the curriculum for this phase?

At this stage, there are the Curricular Guidelines for Pre-School Education (OCEPE), made available by the Directorate-General for Education, which bring together guidelines to assist the kindergarten teacher in the elaboration and management of activities. They cover experiences, interactions and routines to promote an inclusive educational environment and stimulate children’s well-being, development and learning.

6. What is the number of students per class?

Kindergarten groups are made up of a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 25 children (Decree-Law Nº. 147/97, of June 11th).

7. Can parents or guardians participate in the kindergarten routine?

Yes. The participation of parents and guardians is guaranteed by law through the integration of representatives elected or appointed for the purpose, as well as the associations of parents in the bodies and structures of the establishment (Law Nº. 5/97, of February 10th, Decree-Law Nº. 147/97, of June 11th; OCEPE, 2016; Decree-Law Nº. 75/2008, of April 22nd). Está garantida por lei a participação de pais e encarregados de educação por meio da integração de representantes eleitos ou designados para o efeito, assim como das associações de pais nos órgãos e estruturas do estabelecimento (Lei n.º 5/97, de 10 de fevereiro, Decreto-Lei n.º 147/97, de 11 de junho; OCEPE, 2016; Decreto-Lei nº 75/2008, de 22 de abril).

Source: Directorate-General for Education (DGE)

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