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The mission of the Wildflower School is to grow a community in which children work and play as competent citizens with rights, families join with students and teachers in creating a healthy and joyful school environment, and educators are actively supported in their professional and intellectual explorations.

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Since 2016, Wildflower School has created community with families throughout Orange, Durham and Chatham counties. Our school is inspired by the forest school and Reggio Emilia approach to education. However, these philosophies do not inform the essence of Wildflower.

The soul of Wildflower is found in its commitment to teaching children relational skills (how to be in relationships with others), and emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills. Research shows that without the ability to collaborate, cooperate, calm down an angry whoosh or sit with uncomfortable feelings/insistent urges, individuals likely will not reach their full potential. There are a plethora of articles, blogs and scientific research papers illuminating the connection between academic performance and emotion regulation.

Child in Forest

In short, because Wildflower is committed to helping children develop their social and emotional skills, we chose a forest school, Reggio Emilia-inspired approach. We believe these two educational philosophies best support children as they navigate the early years. Research is solid that time spent in nature supports mental health and well-being. Similarly, the Reggio Emilia approach values the importance of relationships and fosters relationships early to provide a foundation for children to create a joyful life. The combination of the forest and Reggio approaches is ideal for creating an environment where children thrive both intellectually as well as emotionally. This combination is absolutely essential for human development.


Knowing the alphabet is great, but if a child can't develop authentic friendships, practice empathy for self and others, practice learning from peers and using her imagination to resolve challenges creatively, knowing the alphabet really won't matter very much. Early knowledge of the alphabet certainly does not increase a child's sense of well-being.


Wildflower deeply values children's competence and ability to learn. We recognize that children's play is their serious work. We do not subscribe the belief that earlier is inherently better but believe that supporting children's natural interest in traditional learning inquiries (reading, math, etc) is the most effective means of inspiring intellectual curiosity. We follow the research every step along our learning journey with children.

Wildflower stands apart from other forest schools because we prioritize supporting children as they learn the social and emotional skills they need to love themselves and others fully and joyfully. Children do not spontaneously develop tools for living - these tools are thoughtfully taught. When these skill-building experiences are not intentionally and consistently offered to them by adults adept at practicing and teaching these skills, children are unable to effectively navigate relationships, conflict, and strong emotions. Wildflower places emotional intelligence and intellectual curiosity above academics and other learning objectives. We believe that academic learning is best built on a foundation of self-awareness, self-regulation, a sense of safety and trust in the world, empathy and relational skills. 

Give your child the head start that really matters. Give them a Wildflower education.

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Quick facts about Wildflower


Our school week is Monday-Friday.

Our preschool hours are 8:30am-12:30pm.

We accept students ages 2-6.

Wildflower is not a licensed school, as NC does not currently offer licensing for forest schools. However, the Early Childhood Division of NCDHHS is exploring licensing options for forest schools. For more information, contact NCDHHS.


We do not require toilet training in our preschool program.

"The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences. We must widen the range of topics and goals, the types of situations we offer and their degree of structure, the kinds and combinations of resources and materials, and the possible interactions with things, peers, and adults."

-Loris Malaguzzi

Chapel Hill Preschool-Kindergarten

How can we know our faces unless we study them? How can we understand our movements fully unless we can watch them happen? Mirrors allow children to get a perspective on themselves that they otherwise would not see.

Chapel Hill Preschool

When a stick is not a stick, but a train, alligator, space rocket and more...all in one day! Children greet this world with their own ideas and theories about how things work and why they exist. Allow them to express their rich ideas and they will grow into precisely who they are.


Caring for animals is just one of the many ways children express their understanding of the world.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Every month, we host Parent Collaboration Night. This is a gathering for parents and teachers to reflect on and discuss the children's explorations. Dinner, wine and slide show documentation help make this a community-building event!

Chapel Hill Preschool

Light, literacy and magnifying glasses! What more could anyone want to explore a small dot of the universe, especially with a friend alongside to share discoveries?

Chapel Hill Preschool

Engineering, construction and a little transparency go a long way toward helping children understand how we adults have built our towns and cities, houses and schools.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Children's dialogues with light and shadow are one of the most satisfying to observe. They rightly perceive the magic of light's effect on ordinary objects and revel in that beauty.

Chapel Hill Preschool

October brings our Potluck Beewax Candle Dipping Gathering. Families gather together to share food and dip beeswax candles with their children.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Every other week, families gather before the school day begins to enjoy breakfast provided by the preschool. Oatmeal, egg muffins, cheese grits and bagels are some of our morning delights!

Chapel Hill Preschool

Experiencing life in community is essential for human development. We encourage children to be ladies and gentlemen at our gatherings and then allow their conversation, story and joke telling and bonding. This is a space in which adult interaction fades into the background.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Working in the garden is a powerful creative experience for the children. From seed to tomato, the children experience their own capacity for creating as well as the responsibility of caring for something.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Many people think that Reggio Emilia schools are art schools. RE schools are expression schools and support children in expressing their passion for the world in the child's own languages...the one hundred languages of children.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Literacy is a lifelong endeavor and is no longer "gifted" to children by their teachers. Literacy is, in part, a self-directed interaction with the world that results in a deeper, richer understanding of life.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Wildflower Learning Community invites children throughout the day to gather, sing, story tell and talk. These are spontaneous gatherings and are never forced "circle times". Children never need to be forced to gather together in joy!

Chapel Hill Preschool

The physics of balance and stability, inclines and speed are investigations children relish. No need to force science: the desire to explore the world is inherent in every child.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Rhythm play and music making outdoors allows children to march to their own drumbeat as loudly as they desire! What better way to speak than the language of song?

Chapel Hill Preschool

The best way to know nature is to dig right in! Children who interact with their world develop a relationship with the environment which is rich and meaningful.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Constructing with various materials and loose parts allows children to express their ideas about engineering and design.

Chapel Hill Preschool

Baking together is a creative endeavor and also a great way to practice cooperation.

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