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Old 14.01.2011, 00:48
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Neuchatel with young kids?

Hello.

I'm a mom with a 4 year old daughter and 16month old son. We live in California at the moment and my husband is considering a job in Neuchatel. 5 years ago (when we were footloose and fancy free), we lived in Lausanne for 2 years. We loved it at the time for the experience of living in Switzerland and ability to travel Europe. I trained for triathlons while there so we made some light friendships with the tri team in the town where we lived but not a ton of friends.

Now with two kids, I'm wondering what a daily life would look like and is it easy to build a community of friends? In the states, I take classes with my kids like gymnastics and music. My daughter goes to a cooperative preschool (where I help out a day a week). Is there anything like this in Neuchatel? Are there fun kid classes or playgroups? Could anyone recommend any preschools for my 4 year old? Any suggestions, recommendations, or tips would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 14.01.2011, 11:38
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Re: Neuchatel with young kids?

Welcome to the Forum.

I know this doesn't seem very helpful, but I think you could do worse than do a search on here for 'Neuchatel' and check through Threads with this content. Then you could look up the members with location Neuchatel and see if there are any interesting posts about the place.

Sometimes members don't answer questions like these as they have done so a dozen times already. Even the most enthusiastic helpers run out of steam when they realise that half the folk they give answers to never actually come here and half the rest don't react to their replies.

Perhaps seeing this answer will wake up some of the others though - you never know your luck.
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Old 14.01.2011, 12:11
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Re: Neuchatel with young kids?

I haven't been here very long so I'm not an expert (I have visited regulerly for about 2 years though) but Neuchatel is a really nice place to live.
My son is older so I can't help regarding schooling for your children but we're very happy with the swwiss system so far.
Accommodation seems to be easier to find here than in some other area of Switzerland too.
There is the Neuchatel International club too which organises activities and events for families:

I haven't really been able to help much but feel free to contact me if you want more specific information.
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Old 14.01.2011, 12:17
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Re: Neuchatel with young kids?

Hi and welcome. Now I am a bit biased, as I was born and bred in the Neuchatel area - but it is a great place to live with kids. The Lake with lots of beaches and great pools, fabulous countryside and mountains for hiking, cycling, skiing, all around. The town is small but is very active culturally, good schools, including the new wing of St Georges international school (English), and very friendly people. And, dare I say it, not too many ex-pats. Enough to have people to meet up with, kids to get together and keep MT language going - but not so many that contact with locals is impaired.
Do ask- keep in touch, and hopefully meet up with a few of us when you get here.
Only recently returned and I am a grand-mother, so can't help with pre-school groups. But there are many 'progressive' people in NE- so I am sure they exist. Have you tried to Google.fr? How good is your French - if you'd like me to make enquiries, ask.
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Old 14.01.2011, 12:55
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Re: Neuchatel with young kids?

Hi!

I don't have kids, but am always happy to meet up with people who do. I can't help regarding activities for kids etc, but I don't think you should have too much trouble meeting people using the forum.
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Old 14.01.2011, 14:35
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Re: Neuchatel with young kids?

I'm not too familiar with Nechatel, but I understand there are organised playgroups in most places, so am sure you would find something there, although it may be in French not English, not sure if you are asking for english or french. More and more English playgroups around though so maybe there is one.

Also keep in mind, if your child is already 4, he/she would already be starting school in Neuchatel. Neuchatel has adoped HarmoS, which makes mandatory schooling from the age of 4. This was implemented this year in Vaud, so assume the same for Neuchatel unless they somehow can delay implementation. Depending on birthday and age when arriving here, your child may even be in the second year of school. Note cut off date of 31 July, if age 4 by this date then in first year of school in September thereafter.
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Old 26.01.2011, 13:29
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Re: Neuchatel with young kids?

As many cities, Neuchatel is great for kids - it is so close to the nature. The lake in the summer makes it even better - it is clean and relatively warm, a perfect place for an evening barbecue. There are many playgrounds and so far the city has been quite safe. Plus there is a ski resort Bugnenets savagnier if you ski, about 20 minutes ride uphill from Neuchatel.
As for the swiss school/preschool system, it is some sort of a secret and a bit weird thing: starting the age of 4, the school is obligatory. It is usually two times a day, no lunch is provided, 8h20-11h45 and 14h00-15h45 so if you don't have anybody to pick up your child you basically can't do full time job. But there is nothing you can do about it so we must accept and do with it. We have a 3.5 year and 1.5 year daughter, both born in Neuchatel.
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Old 26.01.2011, 14:05
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Re: Neuchatel with young kids?

The International School of Neuchâtel is a Montessori school and they offer lunch and a full day at school from 7:45 - 3:00 pm. It's a nice community of parents and bilingual English/French. Neuchâtel is small, yet international. Very beautiful and a lot to see in the area - so much lovely nature surrounding the city and the lake is breathtaking. Definitely a nice place for young families.
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