Author: Beth Pettrey
About our twins
Our girl/boy twins, Claire and Owen, have always had a disruptive relationship towards each other. Prior to school we had not had an opportunity to trial splitting them up as neither our daycare nor our Kindy (or preschool in other states) had separate rooms to suit their age bracket. At Kindy they managed their behaviour towards each other by making sure they never sat next to each other during group time (i.e. normally opposite sides of the circle) as they would distract each other. When it came to school we had already decided to spilt them into separate classes, however, this was reinforced when Owen told us directly that he didn’t want to be in the same class as Claire. Considering this was literally the only comment he ever made about going to school we thought it was important to validate his comment!
About our school
Our school has nearly 600 students and has four Prep (the first year of school in QLD) classes. Additionally, there are four sets twins in their year, two of which have been spilt up and two sets which have remained together. Owen has G/G twins in his class and Claire has one of the split twins in her class. Our school will always have more than one class per grade, so we will always be able to have them in different classes if we decide this is best for them.
Things to consider when having your twin in separate classes
- We were asked at the Prep interview who of their Kindy friends we would like in our class at Prep. There were five children from our Kindy attending our school. However, once the classes were allocated, Claire ended up with 4 of their Kindy friend’s and Owen only had one in his class. So consider who each twin friend’s are and don’t be surprised if there’s not an even split. For us, Claire having the “friend’s” wasn’t a bad thing, as she would have had more of an issue if they were all in Owen’s class. Whereas Owen didn’t particularly care who was in his class.
- The Prep information night was held on the same night, but held by the individual teachers in their individual rooms. My husband, Matt, works FIFO and was away at the time. Rather than flit between different rooms and potentially miss important information, I had to rope in my brother in law to attend one and take notes for me while I attended the other one.
- Check how far their classrooms are apart – ours are in adjoining classroom and do have a connecting area between the two classroom but parents aren’t allowed to use this so we have to leave one classroom and go outside to classroom during drop off and pick up. For pick up at the beginning I stood outside between the classrooms so both of them could see me. The teachers knew to look out for me, as they are not allowed to let them go until they physically see someone is there to collect them.
- The teachers and parents will not automatically know that they are twins, so it is worth mentioning to the teachers so they understand why you are potentially ducking in and out. Some of the parents didn’t know until their birthday in July that they were twins!! It was also strange to be call just ‘Claire’s Mum’ or just ‘Owen’s Mum’ after 5 years of being Owen and Claire’s (or the twins) Mum!
- Claire and Owen are capable of forming their own friendships, but due to their volatile relationship Claire likes to try ‘borrow’ Owen’s friends and make them hers but thankfully this has diminished as the year has gone on.
- Readers and sight words – both children have pretty much stayed at the same level for both, so this has made it easy for homework and has reduced any potential for argument. Readers often show up in one classroom, and a week later in the other room, so you do think you live a bit in groundhog day. Sometimes they go to class already knowing some of the books, (not a bad thing in our world!)
- Our Library days are different so I’ve put a reminder in my calendar to make sure Owen took his books back on Monday and Claire on Thursday. Also need to keep an eye on which book belongs to which child to ensure they go back on the correct day. As the year has gone on they know what day is their Library day and books so not as big an issue. PE days are also on different days, so they need to wear their sports uniform on different days.
- One thing that surprised me is that each teacher does things quite differently, for example with their reading groups. One teacher uses parent helpers (Owen) and the other the other teacher doesn’t (Claire). As parents, Matt and I have both volunteered for Owen’s class, which has raised questions from Claire as to why we don’t come to her class, so we have had to explain to her that her teacher hasn’t asked for parent helpers. She’s happy with this explanation but it’s worth finding out what each Teacher does if you’re looking to volunteer.
- Swimming lessons were both on the same day so I would go a volunteer for both class (not in the pool just spotting from the side) as it was either both classes or neither class to stop any questions or fights.
- Birthday Party’s – we have made an effort to only send the invited child to the party, but now most people know they are twins the invitation is often extended to both of them. Also I think because Claire has befriended a lot of Owen’s classmates then the connection between the two classes is stronger.
- Parent Teacher Interviews – don’t do back to back timeslots as we tried this for the first interviews and one of our teachers was running late so we missed the next interview slot so had to sit around to be slotted back in. I now do them with one interview timeslot in between and then you don’t feel rushed to be at the next interview.