Same or different classrooms? How did you decide?

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by sheras2, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. sheras2

    sheras2 Well-Known Member

    We have been touring preschools and preparing applications for next school year. It seems so early but good schools are really competitive here and we need to apply this fall. We have learned that different schools have different philosophies and recommendations about putting twins in the same classroom. Before beginning this process, DH and I thought that since this is preschool and their first time being away from home all day, it would be nice for them to be together at school. A montessori school we visited last week likes to keep siblings together. Another school we visited today strongly discourages it, but will allow it if we "insist".

    The reasons I have heard so far - from the principal of the school (who is a twin mom) and from one of the teachers, just don't seem to apply to our family. Neither of our boys is particularly dominant or "in charge" of the other. When playing at the playground or even when we have taken a class with them, they tend to NOT play together but run off to do their own thing and try to play with other kids instead. Developmentally I wouldn't say they are exactly the same, but they each have different strengths and a similar vocabulary.

    So what should I base my decision on? My comfort level is one thing, but what is best for my children? How did you decide? Any articles or books about this that you found helpful?
  2. Trishandthegirls

    Trishandthegirls Well-Known Member

    It's worth doing a search here - this question has been asked quite a few times (including by me) and the answers were super helpful. In my non scientific summary... it all comes down to your gut feelings. There's not one right answer since some twins are really dependent on each other, some are really independent, some are mistaken for each other, some are at completely different developmental levels, etc.

    Sorry to sound flip - I don't mean it that way. It's just that only you can decide what's best for your kids. We didn't have the choice to separate our kids in preschool (each school we looked at had one class for their age), and they loved being together. They developed separate friends but had each other as a support system. For kindergarten this year we decided to separate them, but the school put them together anyway (miscommunication). We decided to go with it, but I wish we had separated them. By the end of the day they're a bit bored with each other. That didn't happen in preschool, probably because they spent more time playing and less time sitting at desks.

    Good luck with whatever you choose!
  3. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    My kids have never been in school together--regular school, they are together for extra curriculars (when they play the same sport) and Hebrew school. That said, the main reason I have always separated them is because they are brothers and will push each others buttons, and I didn't want a teacher to have to deal with that. Also, one of my boys was reading at 3 1/2, and the other wasn't, and I didn't want teachers comparing them, and having one feel bad because he couldn't do something his brother could. Now, at 10, academically, the one who was behind has caught up and even exceeded his brother in some areas, and they are finding they have common friends, so are choosing to be together more. I attribute that to them being able to form their own personalities without their brother being there all the time.
  4. nikio95

    nikio95 Active Member

    I have actually just encountered this issue with my girls. They just turned 3 in August. The preschool teachers strongly suggested separating them for reasons having to do with 1) creating individual identities; 2) trouble sharing me on my work days (it's a parent co-op); 3) making separate friends, etc. After a very lengthy discussion about it, I decided to do my research on what the "professionals" say about it. What I found was that most studies (done by universities and psychological institutions - even Twin organizations) suggested separating twins when there is a clear dominant twin or if socially they only interact with each other. When the children are older, say first grade, there may be a reason to separate for academic reasons ( one doing better than the other - to reduce comparisons and rivalry). However, most studies found that separating them too early had a tendency to "destroy" (for lack of a better word) the twin bond between the twins. They also found that, even In play, to forcibly separate twins had an adverse effect on them. They suggested that by forcing separation, the result would that one or both of the twins would have a tendency to be less focused on what they were supposed to be doing (I.e., play or school work) due to over concern about where their twin was and what they were doing. The studies also found that this would result in reduced social interaction with other kids and create a negative teacher/school relationship. I have seen this first hand ith one of my girls, when one of the teachers attempted to separate them. It wasn't pretty.

    As you can probably tell, I am a HUGE proponent of keeping them together for as long as possible. I know there will be a day when they will be separated, but until that day presents itself, I'm an advocate for keeping them together. Preschool seems a little early to me - they should be playing and painting and reading stories. Not every set of twins is alike and certainly only you know what is best for your kiddos. I believe firmly that as parents, we know our children better than teachers and administrators that may never have met our children and that blanket policies do not apply to all twins. I operate under the philosophy that we do not have create a problem or assume that ther will be a problem, but rather, if and when there is a problem - we will deal with it.

    I encourage you to do your own research on the topic. Whatever conclusion you come to, remember you are there parents and you know best.

  5. FGMH

    FGMH Well-Known Member

    We kept our LOs together in daycare, but separated for pre-school. Mainly, this was because the pre-school we liked best (in all other respects at least) had a pretty strict policy of separating twins and my DH was of the opinion that the "professionals" with practical experience know better. My gut feeling that there was no need to separate them (no dominant twin, no focus exclusively on their twin, not much competition) rather than a positive and specific argument that they needed to be together due to ... did not carry enough weight in this situation. But they are only separated for part of the day, otherwise I would have fought much more to keep them together: Our pre-school has mixed age classrooms and the kids of the same age from both classrooms do plenty of things together. So DD and DS meet for lunch and naptime, for daily outdoor play and for weekly gym. Most days they are separated for no more than 2 hours.

    Now, that they have been separated for 2 months I am still unsure whether this was a good decision. One of the twins is thriving in pre-school, the other is really struggeling. I am not sure if this due to the separation or due to the luck of the draw concerning personality fit with the teachers. I suspect the latter, plus the struggeling twin has a lot of other things going on at the moment which are definitely not helping.

    There are lots of factors for deciding which pr-school is the best fit for your family. For us the separation policy for twins was one of several aspects, but not the dominant one. GL with your decision!
  6. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    We had no choice last year, this year they're split up, although DD's class is smaller twice a week so they end up together those days. Last year they didn't tend to play with other kids much and I didn't want it to happen again. The school encourages separating, too.

    Personally I'm 100% for separating, at least in kindergarten. Nobody thinks twice about 'destroying' a bond with an older or younger sibling when sending singletons to school. I don't believe it's different for twins. Just because they're siblings who happened to be born at the same time, doesn't mean they should do everything together. Social interactions and friendships really start at 4 and I think it's good for kids that age to explore these on their own.

    From what you're telling us, I don't think they'd even notice if they were split up, so I don't really see a point to keeping them together.
    2 people like this.
  7. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    My boys have been split since they were 14 months old. They attend preschool three days a week. It has not harmed their "twin" bond at all. In fact I think it has enhanced it greatly. They both play together all the time and they play very well together with their individual personalities offsetting each other very nicely. They comfort and help each other. And they fight. When they get out of school they jabber the entire way home about their different days. Who they played with. What they did. I have not seen any harm from it and do not believe there will be any lasting harm. They are not joined at the hip. They are two seperate kids with seperate personalities, different needs etc. They each have a teacher who fits their personality the best. They do miss each other during the day. One of their teachers is a twin and will take the child in his class to visit his twin during the day if sometimes. He himself is cose to his twin but they were never in the same classroom. I've talked to him about it several times.

    It is an personal and individual choice. A lot depends on personalitiy but it has definitely helped both of my boys.
  8. TwinsInOkinawa

    TwinsInOkinawa Well-Known Member

    It really is an individual choice, I believe, same as most parenting decisions, what is best for your family?

    We chose to keep our girls together for preschool and now also in K. We wanted to trial it together in preschool, and specifically asked the teacher to let us know her thoughts on keeping them together or separating in K. They did great, not dominating, interacting with different kids, etc. In K, they are separated two or three times a week when the teachers "mix up" the kids so they get different exposures, but otherwise are together. They don't always sit together, in fact, most of the time, on the bus or at lunch, they sit by other kids. Their teacher says they are doing great.

    But, again, that is what was the best for us; same as not crying it out in the middle of the night, extended breastfeeding, and having no TV until they were two for example worked for us, but may not work for you and everyone can have multiple (strong) opinions about these things.

    Good luck with your decision.
  9. Aeliza

    Aeliza Well-Known Member

    We started preschool at 2 years old and kept them together. The school they went to only had one class per age group so there was no chance of separating them if I wanted to. At first, it worked out. One was more outgoing, but never did interfere with his brother's socializing. They did have some separate friends and some same friends. Things were going well at first, but when they turned three, things changed. Starting at about 2-1/2 years old, they started to react poorly with their teachers. A little more argumentative and aggressive for Cameron. Kiefer was usually well behaved, but things did change. At 3 years old. Cameron was uncontrollable and Kiefer started to become aggressive with Cameron. He'd hit him, push him, pinch him, and even bite him. He saw Cameron all day and was always faced with him. Also, when picking up the boys from school, I would only hear how Cameron did. i'd have to ask about Kiefer. The teachers started to compare the boys' behavior in class. It wasn't their fault. It's only natural that teachers compare siblings especially when they are in the same classroom. I decided to go ahead and change schools where I can separate them. I did and it's been the best thing for me and my boys. They thrive in class. They've made their own friends and don't fight over them. The teachers have nothing to compare to so when I go pick them up, I only hear about each boy's day and never about what the other boy did better or worse. At home, they don't fight nearly as much nor do they fight as badly. They both have actually created a stronger bond with each other. Kiefer has come out of his shell. He's always been more shy and reserved. He's the observer, but now he engages with the other kids' playtime and initiates a few games with his classmates. He thrives when he's not with Cameron all day. Cameron has taken over his classroom. He is a leader among his classmates and now no longer feels like he's in competition with Kiefer. They still share a few friends, but they are OK with it now. They feel more confident about who they are and where they stand with each other.

    Does this happen with all twins? No. Everyone is different. This was the right decision for my boys, but separating twins does not work for everyone. I have heard it's harder to separate identical twins as they generally have a stronger bond than fraternal twins. Maybe that is the case. I don't know what I'd do in that case. Mine are fraternal so it's like having two separate boys that just happen to be born at the same time. Different needs and different personalities. They needed room to grow and separating them was the key.
    1 person likes this.
  10. TwinxesMom

    TwinxesMom Well-Known Member

    We've done both so ill tell you our story. We did preschool together and they would not even think of splitting them up. Prek Jess seemed very antsy prior to going. It was a good choice as Jess cried every day the first month. We decided to again keep them together for kindergarten as they were going from 1/2 to a full day as it was going to be a big change. However from kindergarten summer to the start of first grade they have gotten really competitive so we thought it was time to split them up. It's been great. They do the same homework but different class rooms so they aren't so worried about what the other is doing. Both had separate friends before and has several now. They are much happier to be together in the afternoon now and don't squabble so much. IMO go with what's best for you not what the school suggests especially if its just what they do not any actual observation of the kids
  11. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We didn't do preschool. We did other activities till it was time for kindergarten. I was very sure that I wanted the kids together for kindergarten. It was going to be their first time away from me for an extended day and other family (they had spent time away from me with grandparent's). The kids are also very close. As it turned out, together was the only option for kindergarten. The school was going from an exclusive 1/2 day program to a 1/2 day program and an optional full-day program. There was only 1 class in each program that year.

    That all being said, I absolutely was sure was when it was time to separate them. They got in the car after a day at kindergarten and just couldn't stop arguing about the details of their day. It was like telling about their day was a competition, not sharing with mom about what they did. They were separated for 1st and it was wonderful. They don't argue about their day. They see each other at lunch and recess.

    I would just recommend to go with your gut. There was definitely a time when mine were better together. And there was definitely a time when they were better apart.

  12. NicoleLea

    NicoleLea Well-Known Member

    I was just thinking about this topic last night. Our girls aren't attending pre-school but I plan to have them together for kindergarten (if given the choice). My girls are very close, in fact I don't know if they have ever spent a night away from the other (except when in the NICU of course). They do everything together. I see no reason to traumatize them by forcing a separation at an already stressful time. I remember being incredibly stressed when I started kindergarten, and I was just a singleton :) I can only imagine what it would be like to be torn from your other half suddenly like that and thrown into unfamiliar territory. So for me, being together is the best thing, at least in the beginning.
  13. w101ttd

    w101ttd Well-Known Member

    My kids have been going to daycare for 9 months. And they are always in the same class. Their teachers said they were well behaved, nice, never fought. Today it's their first day at preschool class, same school though. And they are still in the same class. We never have behavior issue at school However, they don't really talk much at school. I guess they just go to school for 2 days/week. And they are very shy. Their pedi suggested to send one twin to school today and another next day and take turns. But I think it will be very tough on the kids. My kids love each other even they fight and agure so much. If one twin doesn't see his/her half, she/he will ask and look for. Nolan is very nervous in public if Michelle is nt there. So I don't want to do that to them. At least not for now. We might try to separate them in the future..I figure if they go to school like 4-5 days/week, the teachers will have problem with their non stop talking.

    So it really depends on the kids. There is no solid rules though. You can't just apply the general rules on your kids that twins have to be seperated or together. As their mom, you know what the best for them, and how they will do in the same / different classes. Gl!
  14. lianyla

    lianyla Well-Known Member

    My boys are like siamese twins. They are seriously never apart. They pee together. I love it. I would never separate them. I don't see why I would. They are a natural presence. It would be unnatural to separate them.
    So, they're together until they wish to be apart. They are 5. No problems so far!
  15. SC_Amy

    SC_Amy Well-Known Member

    I have done a lot of research on this, too. It does really depend on the twins and I thought these articles gave a good summary of reasons to keep twins together or to separate them depending on your circumstances/their relationship, etc.:

    The NOMOTC does not recommend separating them as a standard policy but believes it should be up to the parents, and I agree with that. There's no one right answer for every family.

    Policies that recommend separating twins in the classroom are *not* evidence-based. One of the studies I found most interesting is a British study that showed that twins who were separated in school before *they* were ready tended to have more emotional problems later on. My boys were together when they started preschool in January and are again this year. We'll evaluated it year by year but so far they have done well being in the same classroom. They're not overly dependent on each other, they each have other friends, they're not fighting with each other or anything disruptive. I'm leaning toward separating them when they ask to be in separate classrooms but if there's a good reason to separate them earlier, we will. I'm hoping to keep them together at least through Kindergarten but we'll see how it goes.
    1 person likes this.
  16. sheras2

    sheras2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. DH and I have discussed this quite a bit and have come to the conclusion that when they start pre-school next year, we want them to be together. They don't go to day care or have any other experiences with classes or child care outside our home unless we are there with them. This will be new to them and I think having each other will help them to adjust and feel more comfortable. I actually imagine that going to a school but being separated when they arrive would be traumatic for them and they would spend a great deal of time asking for each other. I know they would adjust eventually, but I just don't have a strong feeling that it's necessary. We also haven't had the chance yet to witness any of the behaviors that seem to raise concern - like being too dependent on one another or isolating, or being compared by teachers. I think having them together in pre-school for a year or two and seeing how they do will help us to make a better decision about separating or keeping them together in kindergarten and grade school.
  17. SC_Amy

    SC_Amy Well-Known Member

    I think that's a wise approach, Shera. Hope it goes well for you guys!
  18. Shohenadel

    Shohenadel Well-Known Member

    HI there!
    Our 3 year old twins started preschool this year (2 mornings a week) and we decided to keep them together. They do everything together. They have gone to the playroom at the Y and at church and they have always been together and have done fine. They don't usually play together much, neither is particularly dominant and I think they feel comfortable having each other right there. The preschool has been very supportive of whatever we wanted to do. We told them to let us know if they see any issues/problems at all and that we would consider separating them if needed. Our plan is to separate them next year because they will still be at the same preschool and I feel like if they are going to be separated eventually I would like them to get used to it at this school because it is a very loving, nurturing environment. There are only 2 classrooms at the school and they have playtime outside every day so they will still get the opportunity to be together. My only fear is that one will be staying in the same classroom with the same teacher and then the other will have to switch out to a different teacher and room. I didn't know if that would be really hard on whoever gets switched. I brought this up at parent/teacher conferences and we came up with this idea: we will talk in the spring to see which child we all think would go to the other class (based on our feelings and their observations.) And then, a few times before summer vacation, they will have that child go and play in that room and get to know the teacher better. That way it won't feel like such a startling separation. I love this idea! Also, the teacher said that they could have the girls meet up here and there for a little check in if needed. Also, now that they are getting older, I'm going to try to start having them do things separately here and there. We have 4 girls so for example, talking 1 of the older girls and one of our twins when I go out to do errands, etc. just so they get more used to doing things separtately gradually over time because for the past 3 1/2 years they I feel like they have spent almost every waking moment together, not on purpose, but just because! Good luck with your decision!!
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