When we lived in South Carolina, there was a drop in daycare. When I was pregnant with Leo, we dropped Sofia off at the daycare to go tour the hospital where Leo was going to be born. We missed Sofia so much, but when we went to pick her back up she didn’t want to leave. She went back a few times before the pandemic hit. She always loved it.
There have been times we have been walking around Portugal and have passed a school. You can always hear the kids playing. Sofia notices them, and has been asking to go to school for a while now.
In Portugal school is free, though you can pay for private school or an international school. We have always wanted Sofia to go to public school. She is young enough that language won’t be a problem because she will learn Portuguese so quickly. School is not required until the age of 6. From my understanding there aren’t many free preschools. People with lower income have priority, so most people have to pay for preschool.
The regular school year starts in September and I think it runs until June. I don’t think preschool follows this schedule because we are starting Sofia in April. We looked on google and found a preschool near us that gets good reviews. We contacted them on Facebook and set up a tour/meeting.
We were hoping that we could send Sofia part time. Technically we could I guess, but it’s set up for full time. You pay the monthly fee and it doesn’t matter if she goes for 1 day or 25- the cost is the same. They charge 275 euro per month. It costs is 235 to sign her up. That fee is the application fee and uniform fee. She will have a super cute uniform of a blue polo shirt, a blue hat, and a blue apron. The uniforms are color coded by age group, so when the age groups mix it’s easy to quickly figure out who belongs to what group.
If Leo were to enroll as well, there is a sibling discount and it would have cost 505 euro per month for the two of them. The cost includes snacks and lunch. I’m not ready to send both of my babies off to school quite yet, so Leo will stay home for now.
Sofia will be in the age 3-5 group. Most of the students are 3, so she will fit right in. The school is open from 8AM-7PM. It’s nice because we can mostly drop off and pick up when we want. Morning activities start at 9:30, so we need to drop her off by then. Afternoon snack is at 2PM, so we will probably pick her up after snack time.
Registration was easy enough. They had a few forms to fill out with some basic info about Sofia and us. It did take me an hour or two with google translate to fill them out. The school requires a copy of Sofia’s NIF paperwork, our lease, her vaccine records (in English is okay), and the 235 euro fee. Also copies of all our resident cards. That’s it. She will start in April, after we get back from Aveiro.
Sofia will need to bring a sheet and blanket for nap time (they have cots to sleep on), a hand towel for the bathroom, and a water bottle. Sofia has decided to really start potty training the past few weeks and she is doing great. She saw the bathroom at the school and asked to use it. She loved the kid sized toilets and sinks and she can’t wait to use them again.
Sofia will be the only American in her class, but there is a British student, a Ukrainian one, and a few Brazilians. They start teaching English in preschool and are excited to have another English speaker in the class. They said that she will be a great fit for their group.
She is so excited and is going to have so much fun. We are going to miss her so much. I can’t believe she is going to be gone so much! At the same time, she has been driving us a bit crazy. She really wants to be out socializing and learning all the time. We have a few weeks until she starts, so we’re really going to enjoy them.