A Tale of Two Classrooms

Last week, my pair of three-year-olds started preschool.

Second day of school

Did you hear that heavenly chorus bursting forth from your computer? That’s coming from my house.  Five mornings a week, we hit the car drop-off line, and in they go to their bright, beautiful Montessori classrooms.  And yes, that’s plural.  My three-year-olds are in separate classrooms.

The curriculum is designed as a longitudinal program, so the children stay in the same classroom, with the same teacher, for three years.  In large part because of that structure, the expectation is that siblings will be in separate classrooms, twins or otherwise.  I was initially a little taken aback, as I had always assumed my kids would stay together in preschool and separate later on.  But when I stopped to think about it, and thought about my own kids and how they relate to one another, I really believe that it’s the best thing for them.  (And if I hadn’t, I could have found another school, or possibly argued my case.)

My kids are reasonably close, as siblings go, but nowhere near as much as some sets of twins. I don’t say that as a good or bad thing, just as a point of fact. They play well together (until they start fighting, of course), but they don’t mind having time away from one another.  They love it when my husband and I split them up for part of the day on the weekends.  They were thrilled to move into their own bedrooms.

For my children, I think the separate classrooms work well.  My son gets a break from being bossed around by his sister, and won’t be distracted because he’s too busy poking her.  My daughter gets to come out of her brother’s more-outgoing shadow, and not spend so much time concerned with what he’s doing (and whether he’s doing it “right”).  They get to be known as individuals, instead of always being seen as a unit.  Yes, boy/girl twins have it easier in that regard than same-sex (and, especially, identical) twins.  But I still think that, when they’re together, even the most well-meaning person can tend to see them as a pair and sometimes treat them as such.  Heck, I know I do it, and I’m their mother!

And you know what? Being in separate classrooms does not seem to have phased them in the slightest. Certainly, we talked about it ahead of time, so it wasn’t a surprise when school started.  But every day, they have walked their own way with nary a backwards glance.  They sometimes find each other on the playground at the end of the morning, but not always.  They are happy to see each other at pick-up, and play together all afternoon and all weekend.  But I think they might actually like that three hours a day that is, in a sense, their own.

Oh, sure, it presents some logistical challenges for mama.  On orientation day, when parents were supposed to stay in the classrooms with their kids, I had to make sure my husband could take the morning off.  It makes me a little twitchy that I have gotten to know my son’s teacher better than my daughter’s (yes, seriously, it’s still only a few days into the year, I’ll get over it).  The two teachers do things slightly differently, which makes for a few extra things to remember, and minor conflicts when one child brings home drawings whenever they’re done, and the other is supposed to save them for Fridays.

But even just a week and a half into our first school year, I feel confident that having my kids in separate classrooms was the right call for us.

What about you? Are your kids together in school, or separate? If you haven’t hit school age yet, what do you think would work in your twins’ relationship?

13 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Classrooms

  1. First of all, they are very cute!

    I have 14-month-old boy/ girl twins and I think our situation is much the same as yours is.

    I actually want them in separate classes so they can “do their own thing” – I am BIG into individuality so much so that I don’t even call them “the twins”

    Now the next question for us – when do they need to go in separate bedrooms? :)

  2. I will definitely be separating my kids if I have any say in the matter. I have already decided on a preschool (pretty much) and it’s big enough for them to be in separate rooms.

    For me, I just want them to have different experiences. At this point, I’m not sure if they would prefer one way or the other, though.

  3. I’m totally stressed out about this. One of my daughters has been in therapy since she was 10 months old, has Sensory Processing disorder, hates change, has trouble calming. My other daughter was in therapy for 6 months, and is doing great. They are total opposite, but I think that they might “need” each other for the transition, or maybe Abby (the one in therapy) would feel more comfortable with her sister. So she’ll be going to the public school pre-school were there will be qualified people there to help her if she needs it…..but what if Alex doesn’t get in? What will I do? Do I take Abby away from what she needs, and put her with Alex, or do I keep them separate? I’m so stressed out, and don’t want to do the wrong thing. :(

  4. We seperated ours as well. Our kids (just turned 3 this monday) are very independent so I thought they would do fine without each other. Plus, one seems “sunnier” than the other, and the less “sunny” one seems to draft of all the good vibes from the “sunnier” one. After 2 weeks of preschool, their teachers tell me that they are both doing very well and they think they will benefit from each having their own class. I am just glad that kids won’t have to be confused about which one is which (they are identical) There was a little concern, when one would tell me that she wanted to be in the other’s class but that has stopped. They both started with no tears, BTW. I don’t know if its related to preschool, but the less sunny one seems to be a bit more forward when it comes to first contact with people. Like she’s more confident that people will like her without her sister. Good luck to all!

  5. My kids are in separate Kindergarten classes (they were together for preschool). It’s going fine, though there has been plenty of “why does HE get to do that?” or “why do I have to do this?”

    And don’t even get me started on the fact that the two teachers had a different count for what day of school it was (how is that even possible???) That caused a fight every day, as both were certain their teacher was the one who knows how to properly count. I brought it up at their first open house this week, and luckily one teacher changed to match the other :) Funny what causes the problems with separate classrooms. Not that they miss each other, but that there’s a different school day count…

  6. Good move as most research indicates that B/G twins do much better separated. And although the research indicates that having most twins together will not hurt them academically or have an impact on their developing individuality, I believe strongly that if twins CAN be separated they should be. There are so many subtle problems with having them together. I wrote why in a blog post two months ago.

  7. My boy frat twins are only 4 months old, but I’m already thinking that when it comes to preschool it might be nice to have one go M/W and the other T/Th. That way I get some one-on-one time with them. We’ll see what happens in the next few years though!

  8. Christina (two posts above) — can you refer me to the research you refer to? I’m confused, because your first two sentences seem to contradict each other (they do much better separated…but being together won’t hurt them). Thanks!

  9. Our MZ girls are in the same preschool classroom and will share a kindergarten classroom next year. Their preschool teacher says there a no issues with them sharing a classroom. They sit at different tables and choose to play with different children, but also interact well together. That information coupled with the fact that they have major anxiety issues and it took 4 traumatic months for them to adjust to preschool in the first place, there is no freaking way we will be separating them unless they ask. I don’t see that happening since we’ve already mentioned that some twins go into different classes and they had a major anxiety attack just talking about it.

  10. Our 3 year old b/g twins have been in a structured program since just before they turned two. But their preschool only has one room per age group. So they’re together most of the day. There are times when they separate off a few kids at a time so then they split my kids up.

    Regardless of what goes on now, the schools we are likely to send them to next gender seperate all kids by middle school at the latest (and some as early as first grade) for religious reasons.

  11. That’s awesome! My boys are in the same kindergarten class, and I think it’s been good since they are more confident when they can see each other. But if I had to make a 3-year commitment, I would have really struggled with the decision. I’m glad your kids are doing so well!

  12. I have twin girls who are almost 7. They are in 1st grade and enjoy being in different classes. They started out in the same preschool and were together for 2 years. I seperated them in K and they did great. It is hard to have the teachers do different things but I just think about it being like I have 2 children in different grades. Since I am an educator I had a lot of questions/anxiety about this myself, but my girls were able to lead me in the right direction.

  13. My 3 year old B/G twins also just started preschool in separate classrooms, and while I was a bit worried about this beforehand, they are doing just great. They like each having different things to tell me, and each other, about their teachers, classmates, and activities. It’s interesting that they seem to have similar characteristics to your children – bossier sister, more outgoing brother. Is this a typical pattern for B/G twins?

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