DP and I have been on the hunt for the right place for our family and Chapel Hill is one of the two places we keep coming back to as our short list. (The other is hawaii as we are warm weather people but not sure if we can swing it)
We are a non-vax, extended bf'ing Fam. Which I think is pretty normal in CH from all I've read over the years (yes we've been looking for years but dd is going into kindergarten next year so we really only have one year left max. to figure it out).
I have a ton of questions so I guess I'll just start asking :
1.Anyone have experience with either of the two AMS accredited Montessori schools:
Montessori community school or Montessori Children's house of Durham?
B.why would/wouldn't you send your kid there?
C.Anything I should know/you wish you did before sending your kid(s) there?
D. We're planning on sending our kids to Montessori as long as poss. So parents of older kids and school alum. Info is greatly appreciated as well
2.How's the farmers market scene? A. Can I find local pesticide and all the bad stuff free pasture raised/finished produce, meat (lumping them all together lamb, cow, pork, puoltry, fish), eggs, etc.
B. Are there year round farmers markets?
3. Any fellow paleo lifestyle followers? Any paleo safe restaurants?
4. How's the bus system? Can you really rely on it? Any tips?
5. Any knitters? Yarn stores? Knit groups?
6. Community gardens?
7. Spanish immersion classes/Tudors/playgroups for learning and practice?
8. Art classes? Music classes you loved? Gymnastics gyms?
9. Moms groups? Is CH the kind of place that you can make new friends having moved when your kiddo is in k or 1st grade or has everyone friended up and not really interested in making friends anymore?
10. Fav. Activities/places for active kiddos?
11. Playgrounds: And we'll probably be coming to visit before the school year is over where are the best playgrounds bc I have to climbers for children and will need to take them to get their energy and climbing needs out.
12. Any parts to avoid? Info on different neighborhoods I should know about?
Thanks soo much in advance!
All the best,
Hi there! Chapel Hill is part of what is called "The Triangle" area of NC. The area includes other cities/towns that are easy to travel: Carrboro, Raleigh, Durham, Hillsborough, and even south into Cary, Apex, Holly Springs.... they all run into each other. So, if it's not in Chapel Hill, it's nearby.
I'll try to answer some of your questions...
1. I don't know anything specific about those two schools. There are also AMS schools in Hillsborough (Montessori Farm School & Pinewoods), which is a nearby town people commute to and from Chapel Hill, but they might not be fully AMS accredited. I've never heard bad things about either, but who knows? There are also 2 Montessori magnet schools in Durham Public Schools (George Watts & Morehead) if you ever consider that route. Since they are magnet schools, they follow the lottery system for admission, and of course they are tuition-free. I worked at Morehead last year in their Primary (PreK/K) program and really enjoyed it.
2. There are PLENTY of farmers markets to choose from in Chapel Hill and the surrounding towns. We don't usually buy meat, but I have seen "bad stuff free" available sometimes. Carrboro Farmer's Market is year round, but I don't know about the other smaller markets. The "state" Raleigh Farmer's Market is large and has something going on year round, but there's a small selection that's actually organic etc. There are CSAs too.
4. The bus system in Chapel Hill itself is free (well, taxpayers fund it) and popular. There are a lot of medical and other professionals that use it to get around, and of course families etc. Some people like living there because of this option.
5. There are knitters and crafters galore! Chapel Hill also has a Waldorf school, which is where I work and my daughter attends, so that probably adds to it a little. Yarns Etc is in Chapel Hill by the Whole Foods, and then there's Hillsborough Yarn Shop. There are several in Raleigh.
8. There are various artists in the area, and some teach from their homes/studios. There are also kid-specific classes in places like the Carrboro ArtsCenter, Bull City Craft in Durham, Happymess Art Studios in Durham, and The Scrap Exchange creative reuse center in Durham (where I also work)... just to name a few.
9. There are moms groups for every interest you can think of! Chapel Hill/Carrboro Mother's Club tends to be the starting point for a lot of folks, but there are way more! People move in and out due to the universities, corporations, research, and medical facilities, so there are always people to meet and make friends.
10. & 11. The Eno River State Park has several access points. There are several types of museums, including a couple just for kids. There are lots of neighborhood and town parks in the Triangle area.
12. As far as Chapel Hill goes, nothing comes to mind as far as avoiding certain areas. There could be some, but I haven't found them! In Durham, there are definitely areas to avoid or be smart about.
Good luck! Hope you enjoy your visit here!
Wendy - aspiring Waldorf handwork teacher, computer geek's wife ,
mom to former 2lb preemie (now 9) & 3x
Chapel Hill Carrboro public schools (which are excellent) offer dual language Spanish immersion.
There is also a Montessori Charter south of Chapel Hill in Chatham County, Willow Oak Montessori.
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