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My knee-jerk reaction is, I would never want any school to split up my twins, and they are only 3 months old! Although perhaps it is better? Please update if you find any well-researched substantiated info? (Yup fairly OCD myself..) Thanks, Paula

No good reason really to split them up, especially when they really are babies. 4 years old is still quite young, there is plenty of time to split them up later if you decide to.

Hi Tertia - have just finished reading: "Emotionally healthy twins" by Dr. Joan Friedman (she has just been to South Africa and gave a talk at SAMBA in JHB) - she advocates splitting twins in school, actually from a very young age to each develop on their own. I would suggest reading it (can order from Amazon) - maybe it will give you some comfort that it is the way to go. Am planning to review the book on my blog soon.

I don't care what the specialists say about splitting up twins/triplets etc. How the hell do you co-ordinate 2 teachers, 2 different sets of homework, etc. Much easier if they have the same teacher with the same homework. I am not going to let them split up my triplets - they can split up in high school when they have to choose their own subjects.

I dont agree with separate classrooms for twins. They should just separate them in the classroom. It is already a new environment for them and twins are a little more attached to each other than other siblings. Independence will come with time and as their confidence grows and they form new friendships.

My husband is twin and he and his brother were always split up. It actually worked out great. Although they are best friends, they went to different universities in different states. The kids will be fine!

Ok I am going to go against the grain here and say as a early years teacher I feel it is better to separate Adam and Kate. It is better for them to develop their own individual identities in the classroom environment. They will have their own teacher, their own stories to tell from their class. I don't know your children personally but from your descriptions of them, it would allow Kate to be more independent and become a real leader without having to take Adam into consideration and Adam will with time and help from his teacher become more independent. However please keep in mind that they will still be doing lots of things together, Year assemblies etc, and they will still see each other out on the playground where most of the social interaction takes place between the kids once they get to big school. If you take into consideration that they spend all their time outside of school, weekends and holidays together, it may not seem so bad that they spend a few hours a morning during the school week apart to develop as individuals.

Of course this is only my opinion and feel free to disregard any of it. And I also wanted to add that Big School is scary! I felt so terrible leaving my daughter there having to carry her own bag, change for PE, pack her own lunch away, but you know what she loves it. I still feel sick on the first day of every year when she gets a new teacher, but she just adjusts (sometimes quicker than others) and moves forward.

I think choosing the right school is the most important thing. A school that welcomes parent participation and input. Make sure you ask all the questions that are important to you, especially if you are considering a private school. Our daughter is in a private school and I just feel like if I am paying more I should be getting more and have more say as to how she is educated.

I also wanted to say earlier that having Max will help you let go of Adam and Kate a little more. When I had my second it helped me to maybe see more clearly that my oldest daughter was growing up and needed a little more independence. It was a little easier - not a lot - just a tiny little bit.

Anyway good luck, it is not easy, but what stage it??
Take care

we took turns splitting up our trio - jasper alone first and the girls in one classroom and then jasper and sela together and carys alone so she could develop her own friends and "world" and while it is a bigger headache, and i don't even want to start in on what it is going to be next year when they are in p1, it has been the best thing for them, especially jasper and carys.

the kids are at a Lordy school also, and one of my non-clapping friends whose son was at the school was driving through traffic one day and said a less than complimentary thing to a fellow that cut in front of her rather sharply. ned replied sweetly, "but mummy, the Lord loves a cheerful giver!!!"

sorry you can't take the drugs this time round...even if you don't need them they're still nice. smooches.

Yasha is in school since her birthday (we do bigschool from 4 up wards) and she loves it... Our boy girl neighbour twins have been going since januari aswell in split classes and they do get very confused that the stories are not the same but mom feels they really like not having to share the teacher. They keep fighting aobut whose teacher is the nicest ;)

On a different note - I know you will appreciate this.
A friend of mine had triplet girls yesterday at the Panorama hospital. They are so big all 3 and mom are going home on Saturday. Dr Haylen was their f/specialist.

A colleague of mine after 2 years of trying and now 5th IVF heard today his wife is expecting twins (they were at Tygerberg). First scan was today and all is well.

Hi Tertia, we've met before at OT. If it is the same school that my boys go to, then don't worry. The two Grade R classes are right next to each other and the teachers are very understanding and accommodating.

My son is only a handful of days older than your two, he started RR in January at "Big School" and adores it - so much so I've been woken up at 5:30 am with "Can we go to school now?!!?"

Thankfully they keep them separate from the "uniformed big kids," which helps (me).

Never been a twin or raised them - had numerous friends / classmates who were - seemed that identical twins were always split, and usually same sex, but that boy / girl were kept together.

I think if they were identical it would be very advisable. With boy/girl I could see it both ways. From a selfish perspective, for my own sanity I'd want them in the same.

Good luck :-)

Isn't Grade R and grade 0 the same thing??
My son started Grade R this year at a big, posh school - and with us having just moved from a small village in England, I was petrified. For him- and for me! (You haven't seen Yummy Mummy's unti, you've met the crew from this school!)
Anyhoo - all is going well - and he has 1 twin in his class, the other twin in another class. Their mom says it's been the best thing ever for them - especially for the quieter one who has come into her own! (And this is coming from a mom who almost didn't send her twins to this school because of their policy to split up twins)
So - it's OK to feel nervous, we all do - but it will work out in the end!
P.S : I've started a new crew at school - "the slummy mummy's!" Much easier to contend with!

LOL Kirsty.
I also have a friend with twin boys who were split in Grade R already. She was extremely anxious about it as well and almost didn't send them to the school because of that particular policy. Now she says that it was the best thing ever for the two of them. The confident twin has become more confident and independent and the whiney twin has really flourished as well.
Sending kids to school is hard. I cried on my son's first day (not in front of him obviously), and what made things worse was that he kept asking me when I would leave cos all the other mommies were busy leaving. Needless to say, when I got to the car, I just let it all out.
Your anxiety and freak out is a perfectly natural reaction. After all, they are now entering a different phase in their lives.
It will be ok.

I understand where you're coming from with the anxiety, but there really are a LOT of benefits, already stated above. Adam will still know where Kate is, she's just in another room. And he may need a little help from the teacher to gain some confidence, but many kids do at this age, not just twins.

I have always kept my boy/girl twins together and will do so for a few more years. They will be in third grade. They are separate individuals with their own friends and own personalities. They are not co-dependent, and do not "need" each other to function. They stay together because they can. Why not have a loving, caring person there with you to experience the school day with you? Why separate just because if there isn't a strong reason to? All of their teachers have totally supported it and continue to say there is absolutely no reason to separate them as they are their own persons anyway with different sets of friends and interests. Of course the added benefit is not having the separate homework issues, but as a non twin sibling, or twins in separate classes you WOULD have those issues. Two non multiple children have two different grades, two different teacher/homework issues, etc. it is done by normal families all the time. I don't see twin families having any more of a challenge dealing with it. It is the same challenge faced by anyone with more than one child.

Ours are going to kindergarten in the fall, although they won't be 5 yet. They have been in preschool and pre-K in the same classroom. It's been good because they feel a little more secure with each other there.

The elementary school doesn't allow twins in the same classroom. This was a bit of a headache because one of my sons gets speech and OT and he is not allowed in the CTT classroom (1/2 special ed and 1/2 general population) because of it. So they had to put my other son in the CTT classroom and then my kid with speech and OT is in the regular class. There are only two classes that are English-only so there were only two choices.

My son that has speech delays is actually very confident and quite the leader. He does his own things and often the other kids come to join him as he is having so much fun. My other one is very social but a bit clingy. He is always attached to me when we are together. He is the one I worry about, even though he is very verbal, he is also very needy emotionally. I am hoping that knowing they are both in the school together will keep him grounded and not scared. I will probably go home and cry though. I feel like crying just thinking about each of them out there in the world alone.

Do you and your husband ever split your twins up to do activities? Like Marko takes Adam to do some guy things, and you take Kate out for lunch or something? We find our boys really love that and actually grow by leaps and bounds when we do this regularly. Every kid needs one on one time and twins don't get a lot. Just a suggestion.

There's no scholarly evidence on EITHER side of the question, especially for fraternal twins. Separation can be a boon for kids, or it can be a bust: it all depends (surprise, surprise) on the particular kids. It is NOT true that you HAVE to separate to promote individuality. For some kids, if done too soon, the anxiety can make school so much more difficult that they shut down. For others, they blossom.

In general, these days, the recommendation from researchers is that kids start out together and then separate after kindergarten. FWIW, most principals seem not to have heard this news at all. We thought we would keep our kids together through kindergarten but after a very successful two years of preschool together, we realized that our kids were ready to be separated right away. They have loved having their own spaces and teachers right from the get-go.

It really all comes down to what's best for Adam and Kate, and only you and Marko and their current teachers are going to be able to answer that question. You can always change your minds, too, you know.

The Australian Multiple Birth Association supports a separate website full of reserach on the topic at

The US National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs has a booklet:

Multiple Births Canada also sells a booklet on school placement:

The British Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) sells several booklets about parenting school-age twins, too:

Good luck, once you get through this Big Question, you'll have passed through the last big Twin Milestone before the teenage years!

I think that parents of twins should be the one's making the decision about whether their children should be in the same class or separate classes, not some blanket rule by the school. Current research shows that many twins do better if they are in the same class rather than being split up. For some research on the subject, check out www.twinslaw.com. The website was designed to support people in various states in the US who are trying to get laws passed that give the parents input into whether their children are put in the same classroom. It has a lot of research regarding the issue that is very useful. My girls are a few months younger than Adam and Kate and I intend to keep them in the same class next year. We might separate them at some point, but I do not feel they are ready yet.

My twin nephews were split up when they were younger and it was a VERY good thing for them. Curtis was an attention getter and calvin was very quiet as a young child. Calvin came out of his shell because of the split. They now are 13 and are in the same classes do to living in a small town. It is not working having them in the same class. They play off of each other to much and get into a lot of trouble. I feel splitting them is a VERY good thing for them.

My 3 y/o b/g twins were separated per my request. I wanted them to be able to fend for themselves. It has worked out perfectly. Plus it gives them a chance to miss one another and have stuff to talk about after school.

I was just writing about school enrolment myself, it totally completely freaks me out. Check the post out if you like. I started seeing blue dots and feeling dizzy when I read the words "big" and "scary" and "uniform" in your post, so unfortunately I didn't finish reading it and don't know what particular concerns you have other than maybe being freaked out. Just thought to say that you're not the only one.

twins have a special bond. placing them in separate classrooms does not weaken that bond. i think it strengthens them as individuals.
that said, if you prefer to have them together you should talk to the school. you know them better than anyone and you should be the one to decide. i believe that recent studies show that keeping twins in the same classroom does not do them any harm...

My 1st baby turned 13 today - so stop your freaking whining. (just kidding ya!) She started her period 2 weeks ago and I've been a crying mess since! LOL

I wouldn't split them up until they need to be based on the different levels in the classrooms which here in the states isn't until 3rd grade. Even though they don't play together, they know in the back of their minds that the other is close by! We have a family here with quads - they did 2 and 2 for years.

Are there "requirements" for the children to attend church? Many of our Christian schools here (US) have that. God is coming for you through Adam and Kate.

I'm sure that your *babies* will look like really big, big children to you as soon as max is here.
to the splitting: I think this is not a bad idea, but mabye more important for twins of the same sex. I would also think of how much more work it is for you to deal with two classes, two teachers, two different school excursion dates etc. (this is meant as a question. is it more work? depends on how the school is organized, isn't it?)

My friend had two daughters in the same grade (they were 10 months apart in age). They were in kindergarten together and the "smarter" daughter would answer questions posed to her sister. They separated them into different classes in Grade 1. They were so different. One was lean and very smart and the other was not-so-lean, but not fat, and average smartness. She wished they were separated in kindergarten because having one sister "protect" the other did affect her other daughter. Today, the oldest is working an nice office job, handle money well and doing very well. The other barely graduated from alternative school and works at an ear piercing shop in the mall with 2+ kids (unmarried and due with 3rd kid in June).

I've got twin girls, 3 and for both their sakes9 not mine for sure!!) I think it will be better for the younger one to go into different classrooms for elementary school. For preschool they'll be together and hopefully by the time they are ready for biig school we'll all be ready and enthusiastic about how great it will be for the quieter, more shy one to blossom.Good luck with your decision + great news about Max.

Gah, we wrestled with the issue of splitting up the twins right from the get go. In preschool it was a non issue because there was no freaking way I was gonna shuttle back and forth to the school four times a day but once kindergarten hit we had to decide. Our school district has no set policy, they let the parents decide. This is good because really, it depends on the kids and who knows them better than their parents, right? But we made the wrong decision. We kept them together because they were each others best friends and they freaked out when they were apart.

After grade 2 we separated them because they were fighting non stop all the time - I think it was just too much togetherness all day at school and then all the rest of the time at home. Now we have almost 13 year olds in different SCHOOLS because they are desperate to be individuals instead of THING1andTHING2 - a unit. Which is how the other kids saw them, interchangeable and as one kid in two bodies. Thing 2 has struggled with this more than Thing 1 because he is not as strong a personality and I think it would be different had we separated them right from the beginning.

But they're identical twins which is a whole 'nuther ball game than your kidlets! Good luck, this is a killer issue that I think all parents of multiples struggle with. Parenting = guilt no matter what you do. :-)

I think it a bit sad if twins can't cope without each other. They may be a twin but they are still individuals and should learn to have some independence. They will still see each other at lunch time, after school and all evening after all. But then I have a single kid and so probably don't realise the bond between twins - or maybe it is just a crutch they have learned to lean on. Won't it do Adam some good to know and realise that he is OK when his sister is not there beside him all the time? Maybe it will do a lot for his confidence to realise he can cope with things on his own.

Tertia, here in the US we have schools that recommend or require splitting twins and some that don't. My almost 4 year old twin boys attend the French Amercian School of San Diego - bilingual, very multicultural, lots of languages being spoken in addition to French and English. I love my school because they leave it up to the parents to decide. They quickly approach parents with ANY issues, and I trust that if they thought based on the boys' personalities or progress that splitting them up would be better, then I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to consult us. I always have to laugh about the comments about developing INDIVIDUAL IDENTITIES - my boys and I know Kate and Adam could hardly be more different one from the other. Is it overwhelming to be together so much, or do they lack confidence when separated? I don't find with mine that either is true. They love splitting up for certain activities but also miss each other quickly. I would be upset if someone suggested separating them at this age (as a policy, without good reason based on their specific developmental needs). I would rather save that for later if they express interest in going their separate ways. I always get a little sad seeing a parent drop off an upset child at school - from my perspective being together for comfort and familiarity is one of the joys of twins - and let's face it - we as twin parents and the twins themselves have alot of hardships (sharing your things and parents' attention from Day 0) - shouldn't we reep the benefits too?

SO EXCITED about Max! Chrysa

last year there was an interesting class at my kids' school. one of the grade 1 classes ONLY had twins.....8 pairs!

btw, for what year are you enrolling them? aren't they a bit young for grade R?

It is totally ok to freak out about big school. My son is in 3rd grade and this year I am sending my daughter to kinder, and I am still freaking out! I think we will probably be anxious every time they grow up a bit more.

I can see how you would be nervous! All the backpacks and uniforms would be intimidating to me too.

For us non-South Africans can you try to match up Grade R and 0 with other systems? What is the age, for instance? Is it mandatory?

(For instance in the US we have pre-school starting around age 2, through age 4. Some people call age 4, the last year of pre-school, pre-kindergarten or pre-K. Mandatory education starts with kindergarten, approx age 5, followed by 1st -12th grades.)

Also -- I have never been quite clear, when does the school year start/end in SA? In the US it starts in Aug/Sept, ends in May/June. Do you have a big summer holidays in Dec/Jan?

(Not to hijack your question but it is hard to chime in when I don't really know the system there!)

I can see both sides of the splitting them up/keeping them together issue. As one person said- it would be so much easier to have the same teacher/homework etc. although I think it would be hard to always have your grades compared to your siblings. I work for a small family run company and the wife was recently saying how difficult it is sometimes to be with her husband at work/home/weekends. There is very rarely time apart and she said it would be nice to have different experiences and stories to share. I think that would be very true with kids also. Is it really fair for anyone to have to be with another person 100% of the time? Some twins probably need to be split up(especially identicals), I don't think it sounds like Adam and Kate need to be split but it likely would not harm them and could be a good thing in the long term.
Geez, I just remembered that my Dad is a fraternal boy/girl twin! I'll have to ask him what was done with him and my aunt when they were young and how they felt about it. I do know he went off to seminary boarding school for high school(9-12) so they were far apart after that. My Dad has 4 sisters but he has always had a special bond with his twin sister. They even got married and started having kids at the same time although he stopped at 3 and she had 6.

I had words of comfort. But I forgot what I was going to say once I read about the Christian school part because I was cheering over the good chance that you'll come on over to our side. LOL!!!

I actually *am* an educational psychologist, though I generally don't go around touting it. As of yet, I have seen absolutely no concrete evidence that separating twins is better, nor have I seen any research that NOT splitting them up is better. It's quite interesting to me how many educators will love to inform you that it is better to separate twins, without any facts to back it up. All children are different, and it seems to me that your twins (as well as my own) have developed quite separate and unique personalities and it will not cause them permanent emotional harm whichever you decide. My opinion is that parents are the best judge as to when it is best to separate their twins. You know BEST!

Consider yourself consulted:)

Hi Tertia

From my previous comments here, you will know that I also live in Durbanville and quite near to where you are, if I am guessing the school correct (I don't want to name names, then I wouldn't send my kids there for all the tea in China - no offence, and willing to elaborate in a private email if you so wish!) Can recommend a WHOLE load of other schools for you if you so wish!


My twin boys are together since they started daycare at age 1 months, and will stay together at least until age 14. Both preschool and school have a "split-the-twins" policy but I asked to keep them together and all teachers agree that they are doing very well.
My official reason was that ShyTwin would feel better (i.e., go without violence) if SocialTwin was with him.
My _real_ reason was to have to learn 25 less names of schoolmates and their mothers, attend 25 less birthday parties/year, etc.
Don't worry too much, your kids will be fine either way.

There are definite benefits to splitting kids up. It really does help with individual development, and gives them the chance to find out who they are instead of just being "the twins". Of twins I went to school with, I found as they grew older they preferred being separate in order TO maintain that individuality. Educationally, it can help reduce distractions, give them opportunities to find which subjects they like separately and so forth. Just try it out and give it a chance. If it is THAT awful, you can always change it back next year. However, I think you'll find it ultimately is a good thing, even if they struggle at first. It may also help alleviate sibling bickering at home, as they will not be with each other constantly.

I have twins who are almost 3 and are in the same pre-school class and will have to be in the same class since there is only 1 class per age.

But the hardest part is, the girls will go to private school and they only have 1 class per grade and we can't split them. Every thing I have heard says split them up. It helps them create their own identity, helps them NOT pretend to not do as well as the twin not doing as well...And they can determine what their interest and hobbies are when split.

I am feeling screwed since we can't split them up, but hell...what can you do. good luck.

I think I love Estraven!

I don't have twins, but I ABSOLUTELY agree about the issue being your convenience. Billie sounds like she knows her stuff so don't let the teachers bully you on doing whatever you think is right.

And really, after having multiple sets of homework and kids to remember and parents it has always made school hell on earth. And the damn birthday parties! And the teacher presents at Xmas and end of term! (I'm a radical, I collect from other parents and we give an envelope stuffed full of cash. Fuck shopping, I have enough to do.)

I do find this btw, to be a hilarious idea that there will always be extra classes and that parents or teachers might have a choice. Most schools traditionally have only one class per grade. And the twins turn out the exact same as the ones in the big school. Always have.

I think that they are just trying to make life hard for families. After nine years of navigating the school system, I just can't believe the crap they make us deal with every.single.day.

Draw the line in the sand now.

We split up our twins at school and they are 4 yrs old. My personal opinion is that it is much better for them to grow up not being scared about being apart. In our case, one is shy and the other is an extrovert. The shy one is really developping his own personality now, rather than hiding behind his chatty twin. And he has made lots of friends. They are in next door classrooms and play together at breaktime, so it is not that scary for them to be separated. Probably harder if you start later in life when they are not used to it.

Our local twins club was responsible for getting a law passed in our state giving the parents of multiples the option. The consensus was that each set of multiples are different and the decision should be made by both the parents and school administrators on a case by case basis. The popular choice here is to place them together for the early years (pre-school, Kindergarten, 1st grade) and when they are old enough, let the kids help you make the decision. Most of kids do decide to split themselves up (or don't really care either way) because by then they have become more independent of each other and have established their own individual sets of friends. There are cases where the kids have to be split up due to disciplinary issues, and then the decision is out of the parents' hands. These cases seem to be few and far in between though and I imagine that the parents would be supportive of splitting them up in those cases anyway.

if one of the kids relies really heavily on the other, the one who is relied on can become stunted. they will be close enough together to see each other often, but far enough apart to grow and learn without the other to lean on overly much. kids need their space like we do, and probably kate supports adam enough at home and socially without needing to do the same at school. dont let her grow up feeling like she is on some way responsible for adams wellbeing.

I teach in a private elementary school in the US. While I think there is a little leeway on the exact year it's done, they are usually split up here at age 4. Definitely by 5 or 6. I agree that it is almost always a good thing, though I also think there are exceptions. Just on the little we know of them through the blog, I have to say that Kate and Adam sound like good splitting up candidates.

We separated our twins this year in their 3-year old pre-school class(es). It has been beautiful. As a principal/former teacher, I completely understood when they suggested that they separate them--own identities, less competition, etc.. My husband was much more resistant to the idea. Ask either of us now, though, and we will both tell you it was the best thing that could have been done. My daughter was by far the dominant twin (bossy, a leader) and it has given my son a chance to shine on his own. He has come so far emotionally and socially as a result of not being dominated by her. An added benefit? At the end of the day, they are beyond happy to see one another, whereas when they were in the same class, they were rather tired of each other by the end of the day.

Every mother freaks out a little when her child starts "big school" or kindergarten - I certainly did. Don't feel badly, but do keep your sense of humour about the transition. :)

The question of whether to separate your twins at the new school is a difficult one, and will take some time and research to decide what to do. Naturally you will want to make a decision that is best for each child.

You can argue against the school "policy" if you feel it's wrong for Adam and Kate. What works for one set of twins may not work for another, so it's better for the school and parents to make this decision in consultation, considering the best interests of the individual children. It's a decision that you will need to consider again every year, as the children grow and the school circumstances change. While you might want to keep them together this year, by grade 2 or 3 the children might prefer to have their own separate classrooms with their own teachers and different friends.

There is a great deal of information (based on research, not just anecdotes) on Multiples In School at this website www.twinsandmultiples.org
You can click on Preschool and on The School Years and find many sections of great information, and an excellent downloadable checklist to use when discussing each child with a teacher or school administrator. This website won't tell you what to do, but will give you important factors to think about, and some pros and cons to separating or keeping together.

Best of luck with whichever school you choose, and whatever classroom placement you decide on. I'm sure you will find a great situation for your delightful children.

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