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Siblings & School
Next fall, my son will be 3.75 years old and my daughter will be
2.5 years old. I am thinking of enrolling them in a small
Montessori school with only one classroom (mixed ages, 13 kids
total). I like the school and it's small size- does anyone have
experience having sibs together in one classroom? They both
love each other and get along for the most part but my son can
be somewhat bossy towards his sister (typical big brother) and
she holds her own (doesn't let him push her around). I want
them both to have a good experience- this will be his 4th and
last year of preschool and her first year of preschool
Mom of Together and Happy?
I have two sons, ages 2 years 9 months and 8 months. They are both in day care,
the older in a great in-home day care with kids starting at age 18 months and the
younger in a small in-home day care with kids younger than 18 months (many of
whom are siblings of ones in the other day care). Looking ahead to next fall, when
the younger will be ready to enter the older one's day care, I am wondering what to
do. My question is, is it better to have the two brothers together in day care for a
year before I move the older to pre-school, or immediately move the older to
preschool when I move the younger to his daycare? Will the older resent the
younger for ''taking his space''? Will having the two together be a bonding
experience or cramp their individual styles? Will having other sets of siblings at the
day care help or hurt? It's hard to say what their personal interactions will be like a
year from now, given that the younger is still pretty young, but schedules must be
planned pretty far in advance these days....
Exploring my options
My 3-year-old daughter is in a very nice preschool, which takes kids from just under age 2 through pre-kindergarten age. She has an 18-month-old brother, and I had just assumed we'd be sending him there too (and, unless there's a good reason not to, would very much like to do so), but friends and relations have started making comments suggesting it's a bad idea to send two kids to the same school. My daughter is quite shy and slow to form friendships, but has been getting more and more comfortable in social situations since starting at this school. My son, on the other hand, is gregarious and pretty easy-going. I'd be curious to hear about others' experiences in having both kids at the same preschool (or in deciding to split them up), especially in a situation where the elder child is shy and the younger is not. Will it be hard for her when he starts coming, or possibly ''too easy'' -- lessening the need for her to learn to make her own social bonds? She WANTS him to join her there; it's only this sudden rash of third-party comments that has us wondering.
A version of this question was last asked in 2002, and it got only one response; I hope it will get more answers this time! (I've also read the ''separating twins in preschool'' item, but I think the twin situation is rather different.)
Also keep in mind that two different preschools will have two different schedules, which can be a big hassle for the parents. Karen
The teacher also gave us the option of putting them next to eachother at nap time, but based on bedtime at home we decided against it.
I can't wait until they are both at the same school again! It was nice knowing that they had eachother if something went wrong. Plus, pickups took less than half as long as they do now. Go for it!
The reasons for having the two children in the same preschool are simple. Logistics...you only have one drop-off and pick-up destination. Financial ... many preschools offer discounts for siblings. Emergency... God forbid in the event of a major disaster you can focus on one decision.
Those are the simple reasons. I had two children at the same preschool and would not have done it otherwise even without the above considerations. Transitioning to preschool is always difficult, for both the parent and the child. Having a sibling there can make a huge difference. At our preschool (Claremont Day), our older son was allowed to comfort his younger sister when she needed his support, which was really a relief to me. The two were always treated as two separate people (they have quite different personalities). Because of their age differences, they were in separate rooms, so I got two separate reports when I asked about each child. I also was able to get feedback from each child about how they thought the other's day went in addition to their own. I got to know all of the teachers at the school, which was important to me. I also got to know more kids and parents, which I would not have been able to do as well given the morning and afternoon rush of having to go to two separate schools. The children each developed their own set of friends and socialized on their own, so we felt no issue with dependency.
Your children spend their time together as a family, and I assume you would not consider sending them to separate elementary schools. A good teacher will treat your child as an individual regardless of whether or not they are familiar with the sibling. There is no way in my wildest imagination that I can imagine anyone wanting to send their children to separate preschools based on the feedback of others.
Listen to your own instincts. If you are happy where you are,
like the school and how it is treating your older child and feel
it is a good match for your younger one, then go for it. It
will be easier for you in many ways and your children will be
fine. If you are uncomfortable and feel the school is not the
right match for your younger child, then by all means you should
look for a different school for #2. In my experience, having
both children at the same school provided added value to each
child and to me.
Mother of two
My older daughter (currently 3) is in her second year at a home- based preschool. She goes 3 mornings per week. The school is mixed ages 2-5, with 12 kids and 2 teachers. I plan on sending her there next year as well for her third and final year before she goes to kindergaarten. I am now trying to figure out where to send my younger daughter, who will be 2 in the fall. It obviously would be convenient for me to be able to drop them off at the same location, plus I love and trust the school and teachers. It would also be great for my younger daughter who is familiar with the school and teachers because she comes with me to drop her sister off and pick her up. Also, she often has anxiety about being left with new people, so a different school might be a more difficult transition. However, I am worried about giving my older daughter her own space. At home my kids can play together nicely for limited periods of time, but there is a fair (although decreasing) amount of conflict, especially as the younger child (currently only 16 months) wants to do whatever her sister is doing, and has the tendency to destroy whatever is being built, painted, etc. The school does have several different indoor and outdoor play areas, and occasional separate outings for the older kids. I am interested in hearing from parents who sent their kids to school together (in the same classroom, not separate classrooms at the same school)and how it worked. Thanks. Ronnie
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