When it comes to school years, there are issues to consider with multiples that are different than parents who do not have multiples. The most common question at the school level is whether to keep multiples together in the same class or separate in different classes.
The research shows that schools tend to lean toward separating multiples once they get to school, as they believe it enhances their individual learning. However, parents tend to feel the opposite way. Parents often report that they want their multiples in the same classroom as an emotional support. If the emotional support is present, parents feel the academics will naturally follow.
Unfortunately, there is not one clear-cut correct answer. Rather, how to decide the classroom situation depends on the children, the family and the school. Let's exam some issues to consider when making this complicated decision:
· When children progress together in developmental milestones, they often rely on each other for support. If multiples rely on each other and offer emotional or social support to each other, being in the same classroom can be a benefit.
· Sometimes, when multiples are separated, it can cause undue stress, anxiety, depression or general angst. If these situations occur, it can be best to have the children together.
· As a family, parents often report that a teacher can get to know the family and the family dynamics better when multiples are in the same classroom. Therefore, enhancing their educational experience.
· If multiples have different skills levels, it might be advantageous to have them in separate rooms. This division will let each child get the attention they need to develop academically and help to avoid comparisons to each other.
· If a multiple is more talkative than the other or a multiple talks for the other, that might be a reason to have separate classrooms. Each child needs to have their time to shine and develop their academic skills.
· Sometimes, when multiples have been placed together they are too silly or distract each other from learning. If this is the case, separate classrooms may be beneficial.
So, think about your children as well as their academic and emotional needs. Then, before the start of the school year, talk to your school principal about classroom placement. Some school districts have policies about classroom placement of multiples, so check your school district to see if there is already a policy in place. If there is, still take the time to talk to the administrator and see if there is some wiggle room within the policy.
The decision you make is an ever-changing one. Perhaps in the early years, it seems best to keep the kids together, but as they advance in grades, it may seem better to separate them. Or, the reverse might happen. Just know that the decision you make is a fluid one that can change with the needs of your children.
With an open mind and an open heart and facts about your children in hand, you will make the right decisions at the right time for your children.
Also, trust in the educational professionals at your children's school and be open to their observations and suggestions, too.■
Tracy Christman is a psychologist with MPS and the mom of two boys.