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Should twins be separated in kindergarten?

A couple of weeks ago, we met with the principal of the school the girls will be going to next year when they start kindergarten. (Kindergarten! Holy crap! What happened to my babies??) We were just curious to meet her ahead of time, see the school, get a sense of its strengths and weaknesses, etc.

We were very happy, overall. It seems like a great school, despite the challenges it faces having a large population of kids living below the poverty line. It’s incredibly diverse (racially, socioeconomically, ethnically, etc.), the facilities are beautiful and new, and the teachers–according to the principal–are extremely dedicated and talented.

Plus: because so many kids qualify for free breakfast, the principal applied for a grant so that *everybody* can get free breakfast. Score!! AND, it’s only a five-minute walk from our house. Double score!!

So the only big question on our minds now is whether to put the girls into separate classrooms next year.

Both Alastair and I feel pretty strongly that at some point the girls should be in separate classes, so they can establish their independence from each other more, make their own friends, etc. Not that we would be totally opposed to keeping them together if it seemed like it really would be better for them, or if *they* had super-strong feelings about it. But from everything I’ve heard and read on the subject, it seems like a good way to go. (Two different sets of homework notwithstanding.)

I actually asked the girls how they feel about splitting up. I wanted to get their take, even though it will ultimately be us making the decision.Clio wants to: “Because I get to play with Elsa all the time at home and I want to play with my own friends in school, but Elsa always wants to play with me.”

Elsa does not: “Noooo!! I want to stay together!” (Thus proving Clio’s point; Elsa’s somewhat dependent on her sister. Which is unexpected, given how much more outgoing she is in general. But in many ways Clio is more socially mature.)

So, I was initially feeling like maybe we *should* just bite the bullet and separate them from the get-go next year in elementary school. But then when we were actually there, and I saw how big it was, and how overwhelming it might be for them (especially the notion of sharing the same building and space with kids much older than them) I started feeling like maybe we should keep them together one more year, until they make the adjustment to “big kid” school. Alastair thinks we should, too.

I know that, obviously, every family and every set of twins is different, and you have to do what’s right in your individual case. But I’d be curious to hear about your experiences / decisions on this topic — whether you’ve got twins or you’re a twin yourself. Have at it!

 

DOUBLE TIME, my memoir of twin parenting (among other things) is now available for pre-order!

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