In Portugal, almost all children under the age of three are looked after by family or informal babysitters. Nurseries and childcare centres are not common, which is typical of a country with a lot of financial support for stay-at-home mothers. There are however several regulated care centres.
Crèches are centres for children under the age of three, where groups of ten to twelve children are able to play all day. There are usually two people to look after the group of children.
Child minders look after children at their own houses. The arrangement lasts between three months and three years, and again, is specifically for children under the age of three. Legally, a child minder can look after a maximum of four children at once.
Kindergartens look after children between the age of three and five. They are staffed by educators with official training. The maximum size of a class is 25 children.
Compulsory schooling starts at the age of six.
The family allowance (abono de família) provided by the state is awarded for every child, until the age of 24 if the child is still following education or is disabled. The allowance is based on income, and is higher for the lower income groups. The amount varies according to the age of the child and the number of children.
Looking for a child care centre:
Academia dos miúdos
Rua Alfredo Guisado, lote 1, Sobreloja
Benfica, 1500-030 Lisboa
Creche Ninna Nanna
Estrada do Paco do Lumiar, 65, loja A
Bairro Calçada dos Mestres, Rua 1, n.1
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Here is our overview of the Portuguese education system.
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