Please, southern maine families, tell me why you *love* your:
- Kids' school (esp. public but want to hear about all the options)
- town or neighborhood
- fave crunchy & kid-friendly businesses
- places to meet other families that are at least sorta AP, bfing, healthy eating, less/no TV, etc. and even better, LGBTQI-friendly!
My wife and I just moved our family to Maine from California to be closer to family. She grew up here but I never lived here before, and we've been in CA together for the past 15 years. Her sister's family lives in Portland, we are now staying with her folks in Naples. I am looking for a job and we will try to find out own place (to rent) once I have a job - We want to live within an hour of both of the above, which pretty much narrows it down to Southern Maine locales - Portland or surrounding towns? We'll probably base our home search primarily on finding a decent school since our oldest is 5 and will be starting kindergarten. Are there any public schools out there that still value play/developmental kindergarten? don't give too much or any homework in the early grades? have a loving community with discipline policies based on encouraging self-regulation and intrinsic motivation (e.g. not rewards/punishment). Ideally, socially/culturally diverse/somewhat liberal where our two-mom family won't be a big deal? ... a tall order, I know.
Any advice is very very welcome!