When I lived in Florida, there was a great hullabaloo about the state’s mandatory separation of multiples – twins, triplets, etc… – into different public school classrooms.
Just as we were moving to New Jersey, the various Parents of Multiples and similar groups’ chapters were rejoicing over the amendment to that law that permitted parental choice in the matter (as it should be).
Thankfully in New Jersey, there is parental choice, because I felt sure that putting my twins, Halle & Zanna, into the same classroom would be best.
I originally had my heart set on homeschooling my girls, but after the grueling marathon of their first three years, the luster had kind of worn off that idea a bit.
So I enrolled them in a local synagogue’s nursery school – same classroom, of course – and usually spent the 2 hours they were in school, either twitching in a heap on the floor from exhaustion, or running errands that I couldn’t stomach doing with two rambunctious girls in tow.
At the end of the school year, I had a meeting with their teachers, Miss Amy & Miss Rhonda, to see how the girls were doing, especially in regards to deciding whether or not to have them in the same classroom when they transferred to public school Pre-K the following year.
The results were not promising.
According to the girls’ teachers, Halle & Zanna would often play only with each other and actively chase away other children. They would answer for their sister, if sister didn’t know the answer to a teacher’s question.
Clearly, the girls needed some time apart to gain a little autonomy and individual growth, so I enrolled them in Pre-K and exercised my parental choice to have them put in separate classrooms.
I was a bit worried about this, thinking there would be tears and tantrums, possibly jealousy at a twin getting to do something that wasn’t done in sister’s classroom, but surprisingly, the girls barely seemed to notice anything amiss. They still would seek each other out at shared recess times, though those occurred infrequently, but they started developing new interests, new friends and both are developing confidence in answering for themselves.
The Pre-K schedule is only 2.5 hrs a day, and the girls spend the rest of the time together, so I’m not too concerned that their twin bond will errode, which was also a concern for me.
I think that for now I’ll keep them in separate classes until they are ready for middle school. At that age, I believe it will be safer – both in protection from bullying and peer-pressure – for them to stick together, and by that time, they’ll have become a bit more settled in who they are as individuals, as well as a member of their own little collective.
Any thoughts out there about this, from other parents (or grandparents) of multiples?
We LOVE comments!