Whether your children are ready to go to school or still have a year or two before they attend, being a parent of multiples poses a unique decision that you will need to discuss before registering your children for school. Should I keep my multiples in the same class or should I separate them?
Multiples in the Classroom
If you talk with other mother's of multiples you will most likely hear strong arguments for both sides. This topic is one of those that MoM's (Mother's of Multiples) seem to have very strong feelings about.
A few benefits of keeping multiples together:
There are many benefits to keeping multiples in the classroom together especially through the elementary school years.
- The bond your multiples have together is one reason to keep them in the same classroom. Separating multiples, especially for the first time, can add to the anxiety and stress of starting a new school, and can actually hinder their learning experience.
- Convenience is another benefit to consider. Some people may view this point as selfish but having the same schedules, homework assignments and being able to attend field trips together can be very beneficial. Sharing the same class can also make parent-teacher conferences easier, as well.
- There's no secret that competition thrives between multiples and this can be an advantage when it comes to their academics. Having a healthy competition between multiples can help your children strive to work harder and get better grades.
A few benefits of separating multiples:
- While the special bond multiples have is a great reason to keep them in the same classroom it can also be a distraction. Multiples are siblings and at this young age, it can be difficult for them to leave their family ‘baggage' at home when class starts.
- Even if parents and teachers make an effort not to vocalize the differences in achievement, children may still notice them and can be sensitive to them. If one child begins to read before the other, the child struggling could feel as they are being labeled as the bad student. Labels like this hurt self-confidence. Being allowed to grow and develop individually in separate classes can help in situations like these.
- Finding individuality is important for multiples and many believe separating multiples in the classroom provides the best opportunities to develop their own friendships and establish their own identities.
Which way is best?
There is no one right answer.
There are countless studies you can find online regarding this subject and in the majority of the studies the answer comes down to this; you know your children best and you, the parents, should make the decision based on your children's individual personalities.
An unfortunate growing trend.
An unfortunate trend is for individual schools and even some states to take it upon themselves to make the decision of separating multiples in the classrooms for the parents.
Policies and laws forcing the separation of twins as early as Pre-K are not beneficial to families of multiples. In fact, forcing separation can make children hate school and feel as they are being punished for being a multiple. Many advocacy groups urge schools to have a flexible policy and to consult with parents if, and when, separation is necessary.
What can I do?
- The best thing you can do is to ask questions and be prepared.
- You may want to start looking at state laws and individual school policies the year prior to your children registering.
- If your school has a set policy regarding multiples in the classroom, ask to see the policy in writing.
- Be sure to submit your classroom requests in writing to the correct person. Find out who makes the final decisions on the classroom lists.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. Call your local MoM's group for advice and support if needed. You'll find at least one MoM who has been there and done that.
- You are your children's advocate. Be prepared to fight, if needed, for what you believe is best for your individual children.
- Ask your children what they prefer. Talk to them about their preferences and why they feel they way they do.
Once you make your decision if you want your multiples in the classroom or not, remember to work closely with your school and teachers and to monitor your children's progress. If your children are having difficulties with the classroom arrangement, be open to change. Every child is different and every situation is different. The children, and that they feel secure and comfortable in their learning environment is most important.