Collage by Amy Kotara
Class of 2020 has a record amount of twins and triplets. 12 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets started Kenston 12 years ago! The article below appeared in the Chagrin Valley Times back in 2007.
Published in the Chagrin Valley Times
September 13, 2007
Twins, triplets, quadruplets sure way to boost school enrollment
Savannah, Shelby and Sydney Brownfield, all wearing denim dresses, ponytails and sporty Mary Janes one day last week, just started kindergarten at Gardiner Early Learning Center in the Kenston School District.
While they’re the only triplets in their class, they have plenty of company among sibling sets starting school this year.
“There were four sets of twins during the mass kindergarten registration last March,” Principal Marilyn Kahle said “Afterward, as people kept coming in to register, we noticed there was another set, and then another.” By the time school started the last week of August, many more sets of twins had been enrolled, she said.
The school’s kindergarten class now boasts nine sets of twins, along with the Brownfield triplets. The sets comprise 21 of the 231 kindergarteners at the school. “That’s one class,” Mrs. Kahle said.
The number of twins is surprising since, there were only two sets last year, she said. They were among fewer than 200 kindergarteners – one of the smallest classes in recent years, she said.
While the triplets are all in April Eyler’s class, most of the twins – who are mainly fraternal, rather than identical – won’t be sitting in class together.
“We generally recommend that they come in as individuals in separate classrooms,” Mrs. Kahle said. There are some exceptions, she said. “Kenston doesn’t have a policy, and our recommendations are based on the individual set of twins.”
In all but one case this year, the twins were separated, she said. School is a competitive environment, she said, and students enter “a whole new stage of learning.” It’s an opportunity for each twin to be “part of a new group,” she said. “For some twins, it’s a positive experience and separation time.”
That doesn’t mean they have to be separated all day, she said. “For our full day kids who are twins, we put them with teachers with similar schedules so that they can have lunch together. This allows them to reconnect with their twin during the day.
Gretchen Patrizi, whose fraternal twin sons, Hank and Sam, attend half day kindergarten, said she’s happy they are in separate classes.
“At first, we were going to keep them together. Then we listened to the school and all the reasons for separation. They were right on. We hope they are always best buddies, but it’s good for them to have their own friendships too,” Mrs. Patrizi said.
“If parents want their twins to be together, that’s fine too,” said Mrs. Kahle. Kindergarten is a time of transition, and, if one is very dependent on the other, it might be best to put them in the same class, she said. “Once they’ve made the transition to school, we separate them when they move to first grade.”
Splitting up the triplets couldn’t have easily been accomplished, since they attend half day and there are only two half-day classes in the morning and afternoon.
Mrs. Brownfield, who moved with her family from Aurora to Bainbridge just two weeks ago, said the twins are excited to attend school and love their teacher.
While they’re in the same class, each of the girls has a different favorite activity at school, she said. Sydney loves to play with Polly Pocket, and Savannah enjoys stories.
“I like going on the school bus,” Shelby said.
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