Twins (triplets and multiples) in Kindergarten: same or separate classrooms?

The Question:
What does everybody think about twins in kindergarten?
Separate them or keep them in the same class? I have two sweet girls coming in to K in Sept. Mom wants them together but the school is suggesting they be put in separate classes. The girls are very different and one has special needs. I would love to hear everyone’s opinions!
The Answers:
Jill Schwitzgebel
 I have fraternal twins of my own, and I chose to separate them in kindergarten, as one was somewhat dependent on the other in preschool. I have had several sets of twins together in my classes though, and it has been fine and they function very independently. Is the school recommending separation because they have some knowledge of the girls from preschool and they think it would be better or “just because”?
Diane Henderson
 I am an identical twin, 54 years ago they separated us. I remember it today like it was yesterday. I cried all day, was devastated and HATED kindergarten. It was the school’s choice not my parents. My mom was livid and could do nothing. My sister faired a bit better, but also did not like school. She was the dominant twin and 10 minutes older. Since the school did not have 2 classes of anything after that, we were together from then on. Nightmare over. I had twins 5 times in my teaching career. I always left it up to the parents. Only in one instance did I suggest mom might think of having the more dominant one separate in first grade, as I thought it would be better for the struggling one, and only if it was OK with the struggler. To her surprise the struggler wanted to be separated and excelled in 1st grade, being able to shine on his own.
Melissa Coleman
In my opinion, if we are truly differentiating for all students, there should not be blanket policies in place about separating twins. As a parent of two sets of twins, I know that my fellow twin moms give it great consideration and usually lose some sleep over it before deciding whether to keep their kids together or separate them. I believe that their input should be valued and honored by the school. I have even had quads and quints together in my class and it worked because I was willing to treat them as individuals.
I have also had sets of twins together and separated and it worked out fine. If things really aren’t going well, I would hope the school would consider a mid-year switch if it’s what’s best for the children.
Melissa Coleman
One piece of advice: if you have multiples, do their conferences separately. Schedule the parent for back-to-back appointments and talk just about child A, then about child B, trying your best not to compare them. The parents might be comparing them in their heads or may go home and compare the report cards, but laying out their report cards and talking about them side by side leads to obvious comparisons and I don’t think it’s fair to the kids and sort of treats them like a package deal.
Christina Rolsma
They should be together even their personality is different.
Kristi Suggs Bishop
I am a twin and I think it’s very important for each to learn to be independent, Unless special needs are involved…
Stephanie Lee Jaros
 Separate them. One usually depends on the other. Parents always want them together, but in my experience, it’s more beneficial if they’re apart.
Lisa Johnson Lewis
As a mother of identical twins and having taught many sets of twins in my teaching career, I would like for my boys to be separated. However this case is a bit different. It seems the mom is more comfortable leaving them together. It is a lot of responsibilitly for the one twin to have to “look out” for the other. Perhaps she would like to be in a separate classroom. Is there any way to watch them in a social setting and to get the opinion of the twin without the special need as to whether she wants to be in the same class as her sister?
 
Kellie Walshaw Evans
 I have twin boys; their home Lang is German! I thought it would be a problem. But, it has worked out wonderful. It is hard not to compare!
Elizabeth Ann
i had a twin in my K class who was separated, and you wouldn’t have even known they were sisters. they never talked about each other or anything, until they were at recess and sometimes played together. i also had a pair of twins in the class one boy and one girl who also didn’t really play together. i guess it really depends on the personalities. if one has special needs it might be a good idea to keep them together so the other twin can help out.
Christa Brown Brubaker
It really depends on parental wishes here. Like Sally, I am the only k teacer in our small private school so there is no choice. We have had a parent choose us because her boys had to be separated by another school’s policy. There were conflicts with different things happening in the different rooms (one got to do more things than the other.) I have never had a problem with twins together. They form their own friendships. My own twins did exceptionally well in the same class ( and still do now that they’re in the third grade!)
Tracy Muckler-Manley 
I work in a catholic school and have triplets in my class! I have them at separate tables and do whatever I can to make sure they are socializing with others rather than just themselves.
Shannon Frey 
I have had several sets of twins in my class in the past few years and it has worked out great. This year, I have a set of triplets and they should have been separated. Two of the triplets were recentlyclassifued and it has been like having three early, early preschoolers in my rooom. Theyrequire so much extra attention and tie. Personally, I feel when they are the same sex they should be separated. One always becomes the more dominant one that talks for the other(s). Sorry I went off on a tangent!
Meridith Meyer Johnson 
Separate to let each shine in their own unique way!
Alison Haig Navarrete
Depending on your state, there may be legislation that gives parents the right to keep twins together if desired. www.twinslaw.com lists the info by state
Samantha Tharpe 
We had triplets in kindergarten this year. They were well behaved and their mom was great.
Peggy Vaughan Grier
 I have had several through the years…most were fine. One set of boys would’ve been better separated…very dependent. No matter how much I separated them they were like magnets….together again. I have a brother and sister this year. One a behavior problem the other a dream student. They were very independent but always felt like they were always wanting to tell me things first. Also felt like the more obedient one tires of hearing all the issues with the other. I am recommending they separate them for first.
Carmen Smith Brown 
I have only had one set together and it would have been better if they were apart. Would usually get in trouble because of stuff they did together. Recommended they be seperated which the parents agreed to and it has been a good thing as I still stay in regular contact with.
Lisa Ferron Collins
 Just spent a year with two adorable twin boys. Both VERY smart! They did well together after a time. At first I could not separate them into separate groups at center time, they had to be next to each other in line etc. If not, the tears would start. They definitely are connected in ways I can not possibly begin to understand, and the separation issue has improved as the year has gone on. It took some tough love, but now they are fine. There is still some drama involved though, when one is upset and cries, the other does too. Which means twice the drama. That being said, I am recommending that they be separated next year, they are both completely fine when one of them is absent from school, secure in their friendships. Time for them to shine as individuals!
Michelle Roscoe Spatafora 
I have seen many sets together in my time and it is never been a good thing for them in the end!
Linda Cannella Miller 
I have had many sets of twins in Kindergarten with good outcomes. Children at the Kindergarten age are just becoming independent at the age of 5-6- they need the extra time with their twin to help them become stronger and more independent learners.
Karen Kerns 
I just had a twin in my class. Her sister was in another room. I think it was good because it allowed them to each grow on their own. They have plenty enough time together- let them explore and make new friends on their own.
Bette LoPresti 
I also agree that it should be up to the parents. I have a set of identical twins this year and also have a girl whose twin is in a different class. All seem to be doing fine. I did put my twins at separate tables and they sit away from each other on the rug, but I have not had a problem with them wanting to be together. The parent says she will probably separate them for the rest of their school career, but felt it important to let them be together in Kindergarten. As far as conferences go, I did do the conferences together, although I like the suggestion to do them back to back so you can focus on one child at a time. The one downside of separating twins is when there is an activity, like Orientation or our end of the year celebration, since the parent can’t be in two places at a time. If the twins are in the same room, that makes it easier on the parent during those kinds of activities.
Karen Frook Hunt
 I’ve taught a few sets of twins and never was a problem at all!!! Go with what the parents want.
Sharon Bohn
 Last year I had a set of twins together. This year in 1st grade they are in separate classes and loving it. I think it certainly depends on the children involved.
Melissa Vitali 
One year I had a set of twins that were seperated and another set that mom insisted that they had to be together (my district lets the parents choose). The set that was seperated did so well! You could see the growth both academically and socially. The other set did okay acdemically but they struggled socially becasue they wouldn’t speak to the other kids and since they were identical it was difficult to tell them apart and they would not correct you!
Lisa Dester Gray
We have several sets of twins in our school. As a kindergarten teacher, I believe the parents know the children the best and should always guide the school in whether they should be together or in separate rooms. I have spoken with the families as the year progresses and they have either decided to keep them together or even separate them for future grades. I have never had problems with them being together and have found ways to keep them apart within the classroom so I didn’t have issues with them being together.
Susan Rouse 
Our school/principal lets the parents decide coming into Kindergarten. I think it usually depends on the children and situation.
Liz Standring Hagerty 
Thank you so much for all your valuable input! Our school is ultimately going to go with the parents’ wishes but they are “suggesting” it would be best to separate the little girls. They are not identical twins and have been together in preschool without any problem. I am going to make sure the parents know it is their decision and they must be comfortable with it and they know their children best.
Rita Gregory
 Something to think about: if one child has special needs, others may make assumptions that both do, and so seperation can help everyone see them as individuals. Having a sibling in your class can both help and hinder you. Another thought: the parents will inevitably compare their teachers, which can be difficult in a small school like mine. Sometimes it is easier on the parents to keep track of one teacher’s routines. Their are pros and cons for both.
Deona Kim 
At our school, it is always the parent’s decision. I have had twins every year I have taught – 11 years! They typically stay together in K & some separate in 1st grade. Only if they are too reliant on each other would I suggest separating them in 1st.
Ahnice Randolph Pierce 
I am a kindergarten teacher and a mom of boy/girl twins. At first when I found out that the schools policy is to separate them, I was a little worried. But after the fact, they did just fine. Now, they are in high school and have all classes together.
Lisa Garbin Cornack
 Have had lots of twins and a set of triplets, keep them together in k and then reevaluate for first.
Carol Hartmann Sprague
 I’d definitely separate them. One is probably the leader and the other the follower. I’ve seen first hand that separating makes the follower one stronger. If one has special needs, the other will probably be very protective of the first. By separating and explaining the needs of the special student to the class, the class usually bonds to protect their classmate.
Cindy Tuisku 
We let the parents choose.
Brenda Smith Browning 
Typically parents request to keep them together… easier transition, maybe? I don’t really know why… I’ve never had twins. Our principal tends to honor parent requests. We do what we can with what we’re given.
Mary Emily Noble 
Please go with the parent’s opinion. Mom and Dad have been with the kiddo since day one and the kiddos are just joining your school community. Give credit that mom and dad do know best for their kiddos. I have had 3 sets of twins in my 4 years of teaching Kindergarten and am having triplets next year. I think it makes things easier on mom and dad to not have to know different teacher expectations, routines, schedules, etc.
Janet Auer Baird 
I’ve had both twins and one of a pair. This year I had one twin and her special needs sister was next door. She spent a lot of recesses with her sister, but grew a lot in class with other friends. As the year ends, her mom was glad we split the girls.
Mary Hewitt 
Seperate if possibe I have had twins and if one does better it’s very hard for the other. They don’t gain independence and they need to be themselves.
Jana Stilley Forgach 
I teach kindergarten and I had the best insight from a twin mom who was once a teacher. She had her twins in separate classes for preschool and it was tough because one girl had a good teacher and the other had a great teacher. They had lots of jealousy and arguments at home because one was always doing fun and cool projects and the other wasn’t. It also made it tough on the great teacher because she was doing things to compensate for the good teacher.
Valerie Weyer
 It depends on the children. I’ve had sets of twins and triplets in my class. Some were separated from their siblings and did just fine. Others were in the same class and did just fine while there were some that I felt could have been separated as they always had to do what their twin was doing.
Buena Kaylor 
Depends…if one is dominant over the other…separate and give them both a chance to grow. If they function well and equally…it really doesn’t matter.
Gloria Sanchez Craine 
Parents should decide! We can give our input but it’s up to the parents!
Melissa K. Harris Armann 
I’ve had it both ways. This year I have identical twin boys in my room. They have done fine with each other. Sometimes it makes it easier for the parent. Happy parents make it easier for the teacher.
Sarah Hudson 
Our school puts twins together for K and separates them for 1st, unless parents request otherwise.
Julie Speck
 I would talk to the parents – see if one is dependent on the other if they are both very independent individuals… It really depends on the kids!
Carin Albright McWhorter
 I have had a set of twins in my class nearly every year, a set of triplets twice and half of a set of quads (my area has LOTS of multiples!). Every situation of them being together has been good. My bad experience has been when twins were separated. The parents saw them as the same (even dressed them the same) and they were very different in their abilities. The parents didn’t want to hear or see evidence that the boys were not completely the same & since I had the lower performing/worse behavior twin it was a tough year. I have seen twins that are immature and socially behind and I think they would have problems regardless of the situation. I try to give twins their own space so they can get used to working and learning without their brother/sister. I’ve always done conferences by talking about one child at a time. For the more mothering/nuturing twin I think it is important to teach them to let their twin handle situations. This helps them learn that their twin doesn’t need them to handle things for him/her and the twin learns that s/he can handle situations the twin would have normally taken over.
Liz Cooper 
I have had it both ways. It really depends on how they function together/apart. One of mine was very strong (academically) the other one struggled. One held back on sharing/working to his true ability because he didn’t want his brother to feel bad. We had a set we split because we knew they were a handful together. They both struggled but we only had one to worry about in a room. Another set was together (boy/girl and they could have cared less about being together they were great together.) Really depends on the situation/kids. Best of luck.
Pamela Shine Martin
 I would grant the parent’s wishes, if not it will be an uphill battle all year!
Holly Bertram 
Especially since one has special needs, keep them together in K and then separate in first. I had twins this year and it’s so fun to see the connection. Also I’ve had twins (one with special needs) and it is good for both to be together.
Tammy Nason Tierney 
Keep them together!
Melinda Bachman 
We have always kept twins together the first year, then separate them in 1st grade at our school, unless requested by the parents to separate them. I have had many sets of twins over the past 15 years and I believe it is best for them. By the middle of the year, they usually begin to leave each others side and gain independence naturally, preparing them for 1st grade and developing their own autonomy. At the beginning of school, they are still very united and need each other for confidence.
Ginna Williams 
I have experienced both and I personally feel the twins need to have time to learn and grow independent from each other. Twins naturally want to be together and are put together. This is the time they need to develop on their own.
Penny McGinnis 
We kept our twins together (boy and girl) and decided half way through the year that that would be the only time they would be in class together. 🙂 They were just so comfortable with each other and acted as if they owned the class. They just graduated from high school and loved that they had separate classes. Good luck!!
Cheri Dodson Smith 
I’ve had several sets of twins in k…no big deal! I’ve also seen very successful separation in k….just depends on how it is handled by the parents and the school! It is often easier for mom to have both in same class so that the homework, field trips, projects etc are the same!
Amy Whitehurst Frankforter 
Our two s were separated in kindergarten but were together in preschool. They have loved the individualism of separate classes. But, in first grade, they switched clothes in the bathroom before school and went to each other’s classes! Too funny & great memory!
Robin Barrett Hoff 
I’ve done things both ways. I’ve had identical twins together who ultimately did better separated the next year so the more struggling one could shine in her own ways. But, I’ve had identicals together that did best together. I agree, parents know their kids the best, but it’s good to mention the pros and cons for both options or just make sure they’ve considered them. 🙂
Diana Herron Prkut
 I am the mother of boy/girl twins, and when they started preschool in the school district they were put in different classes, it was a hard year son cried daughter didn’t talk but by the middle of the year they were just fine, no damage was done. Before that they couldn’t do anything on their own. I have had several in my classroom some were fine, but some really need to be in different classes. I know of one parent who had them in the same classes till 6th grade when they hit middle school in 7th grade they didn’t know how to work with out the other it was very sad.
Jean Eller
 Keep them together. Your life is hectic enough.You need notes, events, homework from one teacher not two…take it from a K teacher. Keep YOUR life simpler.
Tracey Yamaguchi Matsui 
As a parent of girl twins, I’d want to separate them. As a K teacher, we’ve always put twins & triplets in separate classes. However, they are put with “teaming” teachers. That way, the parents have teachers who do the same things (same homework, field trips on the same day etc.). Also, the twins get to see each other since our rooms are open (meaning my team mate and I share a large room with cubbies that separate our rooms)
Tonya Richards 
I had twins for about month in Pre-k and they would not do anything with the class. One even hid behind things to avoid others. But once we put one in another class they both began to grow socially and academically.
Jennifer Gaynor 
I have had many twins over the years – separate and together. It has usually worked out fine either way. We usually let parents decide whether to keep them together or not. The only problem I’ve noticed with twins who were in the same class is that sometimes one twin may be functioning at a higher ability level, and I feel that the other twin picks up on that. If they were in separate classes, that may be less of an issue. But even so, it usually works out fine. I have twins (boy/girl)in my class now, and they don’t seem to notice each other most days. I also have a twin (girl) whose brother is in another class, and I think that was a wise choice because they seem to bicker and fight fairly often.
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