Gymea Bay, Carlton South and Tharawal public schools welcome excited first-timers to school life

On the first day of school this year, it will be three times the fun, yet triple the nerves for the Bartolo family.

Lucas, Sienna and Liam are ready as ever to start Kindergarten.

The triplets will walk through the front gates of Gymea Bay Public School, leaving behind a teary mum, Aimee, and dad Paul.

The family is part of the Southern Sydney Multiple Birth Association, which provides support to families of twins, triplets, or more.

Within the association, there are two sets of triplets and 11 sets of twins starting school in 2019 in Sutherland Shire, and three sets of twins starting school in St George.

It has been a busy rollercoaster ride of preparation at the Bartolo home in the past month. But one thing is for sure – excitement levels are peaking.

“The kids are nervous, but also excited,” Mrs Bartolo said. “We can’t wait to see them flourish but we are a bit sad that they will be going all at once – our house is going to feel very empty on school days. 

“But it’s a transition and it will be great to see their personalities shine through.”

Hopefully the boys won’t be up to their tricks she says, trying to fool who’s who.

“The boys do try to trick people...especially if they are wearing hats,” she said.

“They are also all so different. Sienna and Lucas are inseparable  – if you see one, the other is not far behind. Ever since I was pregnant they were next to each other.

“While Liam is happy to hang out with his brother and sister but he also likes doing his own thing. He is always wanting to learn new things and know how everything works and why. Sienna loves art and craft and she loves drawing. Lucas always want to play games and loves climbing.”

All three will be in the same class.

“But we have asked for them not to be seated at the same table in class and group time,” Mrs Bartolo said. “We thought for their first year it would be best.

“They’ve got each other and a few of their friends from daycare are also going to the same school so that’s a bit comforting for them.

“I will definitely be the mum wearing her sunglasses at drop off time so the kids don’t see the tears as we say goodbye to them.”

Carlton South Public School will welcome twins Andrew and Lily Bridge.

Their mother, Lissa Cheng, says they are ready for ‘big’ school.

“I’ll be very sad...they were born three months early so this is another huge milestone for them, but it’s an exciting year,” she said.

“They are already familiar with the school because they have vacation care on site.”

She says her son and daughter will be in separate classes. 

“We feel it’s important that they develop at their own pace and feel a sense of independence,” she said.

“But they both enjoy doing taekwondo and swimming together as their extra curriculum activity.

“Andrew is a very sociable and energetic little boy who loves Lego and playing with trucks. Lily is the shy one. She likes to draw, paint and learn to write.

“The house will be very quiet now. We look forward to hearing their stories about their day at school.”

Pupils with disabilities are also eager to shine in the classroom alongside their new soon-to-be-friends.

Opening a new chapter: Jai Griffiths is excited to be starting school alongside his big sister, Keira Reid, 9. Picture: John Veage

Opening a new chapter: Jai Griffiths is excited to be starting school alongside his big sister, Keira Reid, 9. Picture: John Veage

Ilawong’s Jai Griffiths is beginning his Kindergarten journey at Tharawal Public School.

After being diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma at two years of age, Jai will join mainstream education, thanks to the support of intervention therapy he received from the Shepherd Centre.

It was not that long ago that cancer had spread to 22 parts of his body, but now after bouts of positive treatment, his condition vastly improved.

But it also meant he lost vision in his right eye, and cannot hear higher pitched sounds. 

“He’s a little character,” his mother Hayley said. “He’s outgoing, confident, with a big personality and has a knack for socialising.”

Jai will join big sister Keira Reid, 9, at the same school, on January 30.

TIPS FOR PARENTS

  • Invite your child to participate in packing their lunchbox, so they feel involved in their new school routine. 
  • Try not to have a rushed start to the morning, so you arrive at school happy and excited.
  • Talk about some of the rules at school – like putting up their hand to speak or asking a question.
  • Take some time to talk with your child about their first couple of days at school, and continue going back to this conversation in the early weeks.
  • After a tiring day at school, organise simple activities at home to help your child relax.
  • Meet other families outside of school to enable your child to build friendships.

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