There's a double spring in the step of these siblings, as they eagerly make their way towards the school gates for the first time.
The group has known each other since they were babies and are all part of Sutherland Shire Multiple Birth Association (SSMBA), which provides support for families who have multiple children.
They recently had a practice run in their school uniforms at Ador Reserve, Rockdale, where they walked hand-in-hand, ready for the big day.
A new school year begins on February 1. It's a short week to kick off the start of Term 1. The youngest pupils of the school will begin a little later than their older peers, to ensure a smooth transition.
President of SSMBA Lauren Smith, said all the kids shared a close bond. "The majority of these kids have attended same playgroups for five years. We run school age multiples programs and they will continue to do that," she said.
Her daughters, who are going to St Declan's Catholic Primary School at Penshurst, are identical twins - and there's been some creative thought behind helping their teacher tell them apart.
"They're the only twins at their school in Kindy this year," Mrs Smith said. "I bought them blue and white bows - Madeline loves blue. But when they have hats on, I can't tell them apart. But they are chalk and cheese - one very academic and one amazing in imaginary play."
Isla will no doubt share her name with perhaps quite a few girls in her class, and most definitely at her school. It's the most popular girl's name in NSW, tied first with Amelia. "My mum actually called Isla to tell her [it was the most popular]," Mrs Smith said. "Mum's name is Lisa so she always thinks we named Isla after her, and just rearranged the letters. We are yet to tell her she's wrong. It was always my husband's favourite name."
Mrs Smith said her girls, who turned five at the end of January this year, were excited to begin school.
"None of the other kids from my mother's group are sending their kids to school yet - they are starting at age six," she said. "I didn't know if I was doing the right thing at first as some other kids in their class will be almost a whole year older than them.
"But we had a long chat with their daycare educators and director for their input - and they said they were ready," she said. "They have great social skills - they can get through arguments with their friends, they are able to write their name and hold a conversation.
"There will be tears from me - but I know they will have a twin to turn to."
Carla Mezei, mum to Konan and Eva, is sending her kids to Kareela Public School. "They just turned five - on Christmas Day," she said. "If I left them in childcare another year I think they would get bored. I want them to be in the same class and because they are boy/girl twins, they will have different friends anyway."
TIPS FOR STARTING SCHOOL
- Walk or drive past the school regularly before school starts and be positive
- Remind children they will go to school each weekday, not just on the first day
- Embed routines in the summer holidays like getting up on time
- Practise how to dress independently - uniform, socks and school shoes
- Don't overload the school bag
- Pack a healthy lunchbox with lots of easy to open snacks and a water bottle
- Practise social skills and ask open-ended questions
- Explain hygiene behaviours and practise going to the toilet
- Reassure your child it's OK to tell the teacher what they need and how they feel
- Read with your child for 15 minutes every day.
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