A couple weeks ago, we had a guest speaker come to our club’s General Meeting to talk about Kindergarten Readiness. It’s part of a two-part series we offer our members every year. The second part is on Preschool readiness. One of these sessions includes a professional speaker from Parents Place and the other is a panel of parents from the club sharing their own perspectives and knowledge. For the first time this year, we had a professional speaker for the Kindergarten session and a panel of parents for the Preschool topic (switched from last year).
The Kindergarten session was not only eye-opening, it was somewhat of a relief. The speaker focused on the fact that the greatest preparation we could give our kids for Kindergarten is to make sure they attain the self-regulation (e.g., pays attention, controls impulses, follows directions), social expression (e.g., curiosity for learning, tells stories, social play) and self-help/motor skills to be successful at the Kindergarten level. School programs focus on the academics, so a Kindergarten teacher is confident a child can and will learn the academics.
Attaining the necessary social skills is of particular concern for parents of multiples, especially those with boy/girl twins. Often, the girls are more settled down than the boys at 3 and 4 years old. Do you split them up? Do you keep them both back? What are the ramifications on later development?
The Preschool session with a panel of parents representing different kinds of schools (e.g., parent participation, structured/academic, traditional/developmental, Montessori, religious, Explorer) demonstrated that there are several ways to attain the social, self-control and motor skills necessary. My girls were in a traditional/developmental school for a year and are now in a structured/academic one. Our motivation for moving our twins to a more structured program was our girls. They were displaying such a curiosity and desire to learn many things. We wanted to channel that desire to learn by putting them in a preschool environment that exposes them to many different areas be it math, art, dance, science, imaginative play and the like. Just as importantly, they had settled down tremendously over the last year – sitting in circle time, following directions, paying attention to the teachers, focusing on a project to completion, expressing their likes and dislikes in an acceptable, non-violent (whew!) way. Their new school presents many things that I would never have thought they could understand or handle at 3 years old…but they do. And they are both blossoming.
One of the questions I had when considering the potential preschools was whether there were other twins or multiples in the classrooms. If so, this gave me a small sense of relief that the teachers would not assume that the girls were alike. Additionally, they knew to split them up at circle time to give one twin more of a chance to work on her own without her sister “helping.” One of my girls is more outspoken and assertive than the other but also more emotionally dependent on her twin. The other is rather laid back and cautious but will quickly stand up for her twin if she thinks she’s being threatened in any way.
With twins, it’s difficult not to compare their development and achievement of certain goals. One twin typically catches on to certain activities or concepts faster than the other. The other is usually only about 3-4 weeks behind. So, the differences are usually not great. But I worry anyway. It’s hard not to. But now, with the enlightenment from the Kindergarten readiness session, I am no longer concerned. In my mind, for preschool, Kindergarten is the end game. So what if one of my girls is not writing her name perfectly every time – at 3 years old. She’s going to “get it.” They’re both going to “get” many things and now I know, much earlier than they really have to. And I am reassured.This is a repost of an original post to Mad About Multiples from 2008. Don't forget to join us tonight, Jan 10, 2013, at 7 PM in the Cambrian Library Community Room located at 1780 Hillsdale Ave, San Jose, CA 95124 for a panel discussion on kindergarten options.