Siblings at the Same Childcare/Preschool, or Not?

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Siblings together in same preschool classroom?

October 2006

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?

Hi. I was in your position last year and decided to put all three of my kids ( 4 1/2, 2 1/2, 2 1/2) in the same small Montessori school/class and it has been wonderful. They can play and work together when they feel like it and do their own thing at times as well. It's nice for them to share experiences, friends, teachers, etc. and as a parent it's certainly easier as well
--Mom who has been there

My 2 children started in a Montessori classroom when my daughter was 2.25 and son 4.5 and have done beautifully. My son had started the year prior before my daughter joined in. With the way the Montessori curriculum is laid out, as I'm sure you are familiar, the children choose the ''work'' that they are interested in. My children work independently of eachother and then come together for a circle time, snack, lunch etc. My son looks after my daughter in the classroom, but they both have their own experiences and gravitate towards other children. It's a joy having them in the same classroom and I realize this will probably be the only time this will occur. According to their teachers they are both developing wonderfully and are getting a lot out of the Montessori program. Last year there 4 sets of siblings in the classroom and all did really well together. I think it's great! Good Luck! Lori

My four year old daughter and two year old son are in a small, multi-age classroom. There are a total of 12 kids. I love that they are overlapping in ''school'' for one year. Actually my daughter rarely plays at school with her younger brother as she is far more interested in the girls in general or with older kids (but she does enjoy the younger ones too). My son is just happy to be there and will play with anyone. There are a couple of other sibling pairs at the school as well and it seems to work for all the families and it does make drop-offs and pick- ups very easy.
Two Together Works


Keep older sib in the same daycare, or preschool?

November 2005

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

Hi. My boys both attend the same small home based pre-school, they are older than yours, 4 and 2, but having them in the same program has been amazing. They have bonded so much with each other, they still fight as siblings will but I've noticed that they are able to resolve a lot on their own and my husband and I do less mediating and are not constantly playing referee. They sleep in the same bed now (their choice not ours), wake up and entertain one another, get snacks for one another, and generally show some new found compassion for each other. I really can't explain it except to say that 4 and 2 is so much easier than 3 and 1 and the time spent away from us and with one another has really solidified their relationship. Besides all that I really couldn't fathom driving to two separate locations to pick up and drop off my kids.
very happy

Is it a bad idea to put siblings in the same preschool?

December 2004

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.)

Thanks! Anonymous

My son and daughter attended the same preschool for 8 months (until she started kindergarten.) I think my son had an easier transition because his sister was there, and she liked having him there too, for company. (Neither of them are shy.) The only downside is that he was quite sad when she left, and would much rather be in kindergarten with her.

Also keep in mind that two different preschools will have two different schedules, which can be a big hassle for the parents. Karen

My kids are on their second year in the same preschool, and it's been totally fine ... they have a close relationship outside of school and play really well together. (They are 2.5 years apart in age). I think the younger one would have been heartbroken to be separated from his big brother, and I _know_ I'd have gone stark raving mad trying to keep up with parental obligations at TWO schools, not to mention the misery of double drop-offs and pickups. My advice: Don't complicate your life unnecessarily. Start the younger one in the same school, and if there's really a horrible problem, you can switch. Sara

My sons go to the same preschool. For about six months, they went on separate days. They liked going to school, but sometimes my younger one would want some time with me when I dropped him off. Now they go together and I can tell that they are happier that way. Drop off time is never a problem. Sometimes I think that we push are children too much to be independent - they're preschoolers for PeteUs sake! As adults, don't we like going into social situations with a partner? anon

We had both our boys in the same preschool for four blissful months. Then the older one went to Kindergarten. We were going to wait to put the second in after the first, but the teachers convinced us to have him start while his brother was still there to ease the transition. They were right... it was MUCH easier to get him to adjust since he had his big brother to keep him company! After the first day or two the little one stopped following the big one around all of the time and made friends with the other kids. Sometimes they played together, sometimes they didn't. It was no big deal. they were in separate classes for part of the day so they had their own space.

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!

I was really surprised at your dilemma because I don't know of any parent with two preschool children who would even consider sending them to separate preschools at the same time if they were happy where they were! The first question I had was whether the people who were offering their opinions were ever in the same situation.

The reasons for having the two children in the same preschool are simple. 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

Sisters in same preschool?

November 2002

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

I had two kids in the same preschool class, and it worked fine. The summer before my older son went to kindergarten, my two-year-old joined him at the Snuggery, which has 25-30 kids. I don't think they spent much time together. The older one played elaborate pretend games with his friends, and the younger one sat nearby or sat with other younger kids and played his own games. The transition to preschool really was easier because my younger son already knew the place and had the reassuring presence of his older brother for a few months. Jennifer N.