There are many good guides available locally about how to prepare children for preschool and what makes a child ready for preschool. Skills such as knowing their name, their age, basic colors, drawing and counting skills, holding a crayon etc. are not specific to multiples. However, it may be important to assess these skills relative to their prematurity. There are also some more specific things for multiples. The start of school may be too late for parents to begin thinking about their multiple birth children developing “mature dependence”. An awareness of our model may help parents and professionals to reflect upon the relationship between the children and to instigate strategies to encourage “mature dependence” in readiness for school.
Some twins are so close that they seem like a couple or unit and may even respond to both names interchangeably. Separation is not necessarily linked to the development of individuality. Children are actually in school for a short time and most of their pre-school development is in the home. It is important to help multiples develop as individuals by:
You may choose to talk to the preschool in terms of:
Starting school is a major step for all children, but for multiple birth children, there are issues that teachers and parents may need to take into consideration. The parent/teacher questionnaire we developed is a useful tool for finding out about the needs of multiple birth children when they start school. Use of the questionnaire helps teachers and parents to make decisions e.g. about separation based upon the assessment of the children both as individuals and as multiples.
And are the parents ready?
One set of quadruplets I know, who have an older brother, were enrolled in a preschool when they were 3 years old. Their mother commented to me that it was a very important milestone in their lives as a family, and that “It did them a world of good. They learned at an early age to socialize with peers, and their speech improved.” She also particularly enjoyed the fact that she could go back to work, which she enjoyed, and had missed.
Teachers and parents need to share information before multiples start school.
Click here to download: School Readiness Questionnaire (Word document)
Click here to download: School Readiness Questionnaire (PDF document)