Question of the Week:
My identical twin girls are in the same kindergarten class at a small school and are doing very well together. But my husband has been transferred to a different city and the girls will be going to a much larger school next year. I want them to stay together in the same class next year but I’m afraid the school will separate them. I have to enroll them next week when I meet with their new principal. Any advice? —J.C.R.
Answer: Don’t assume that your daughters’ new school will arbitrarily separate them. More and more school administrators are educating themselves on the special needs of multiples. First order of business, however, is to call the new school directly and ask what their policy is concerning siblings and classroom placement. If they tell you that it’s their practice to separate all multiples, ask to see the policy in writing. (Few have such written guidelines.) Next, contact your daughters’ current kindergarten teacher as well as the school’s principal and ask them both to write letters outlining how well your daughters functioned together in class. For instance, ask them to comment on your daughters’ social development, and how they interact with a variety of children, not just with each other.
If during your meeting with the new principal, she advocates for separation, listen and address each of her concerns calmly. Point out that there are no published studies indicating that placing twins together has an adverse affect on the children. (In fact, there are several research papers that suggest just the opposite. Google “classroom placement and twins” to see what’s available. Many are published in research journals and will require a small fee to access.) You may also explain that since your daughters will need some time to adjust to their new city and school, you’d prefer to have them together. If she still balks, ask if you can place them together on a trial basis. (The thinking here is that your daughters will do so well that the principal will all but forget about the situation.) If you still meet with resistance, you can always try calling the superintendent of the school district and ask for a meeting to state your case directly.
In the meantime, however, you should be prepping your girls for the day when they will ultimately be in separate classrooms. You can successfully accomplish this by regularly spending one-on-one-time with each daughter separately and encouraging each to pursue her own activities, sports, and hobbies.