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I've got one child in kindergarten and another one that will begin there next year. The way it works is that the youngest ones have a group for themselves, with ages from 2½ to around 3½. From 3½ until school age, they're all in mixed groups, what they call "family groups".

When your second child starts kindergarten, he'll go into a young group first, but then we are facing a choice between letting him stay in the young group until he is the oldest, or putting him into a family group sooner than that. Based on the experiences with the first child, it's not fun to be the oldest in a young group, so "graduating" sooner to a family group seems preferable.

Now, the question:
There is more than one family group. Should we put our second child into the same group where his older brother already is, or should we put him into a separate group? What are the pros and cons of each alternative?

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One note for those of us in the US: "Kindergarten" in the US is typically used to mean "5 year olds initial school year", but in other countries often means what we would call "preschool", which is what is intended here from what I can tell. –  Joe Jan 24 at 15:19
    
Huh, fun: In my universe, kindergarten is for ages 2½-6 while preschool is just that final year before school. Go figure! :-) –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 24 at 17:28

2 Answers 2

I would say it depends on what kind of relationship your children have with each other, and how well they get along with other children.

For example, my four year-old daughter is extremely introverted. My six year-old son is extremely extroverted, yet socially awkward. This makes them a great pair in a group of other kids. My daughter has someone to help her not be afraid to participate, and my son has someone to be his friend when his attention-seeking doesn't work.

Other children might play fine with their siblings at home, but really need the time apart when in a larger group. The only way to really tell is to try them out at a few larger social gatherings and see how they react.

A case could be made that it's character-building to force them to be apart and find other friends, but there's going to be plenty of time for that, and sooner than you think. Go for whatever arrangement they are most comfortable with now.

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As much as a case could be made that it is character building to be apart, you could, with some kids, argue it is character building to be together too. Great answer though I agree. –  balanced mama Jan 11 at 15:40

As always, a specific case calls for a specific answer. You would have to say more about your children for us to make some prudent suggestions.

In general, for kindergarden, I'd say: put them in the same group. Especially if there are "family" groups. It will make the experience much easier for the younger one, to have a sibling already there. Less stress and crying, faster adjusting to the new environment, and a friend to go to in case of problems. Besides, if you split them, and all other siblings stay together, your kids may feel badly because of that.

You might consider switching groups after some time, if there are groups better adjusted for the younger one's age. Once he's adjusted (but before he had made good friends?).

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