31 January 2022

Double trouble or twice as nice? Crookwell's St Mary's Primary School welcomes three sets of twins

| Clare McCabe
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Elaine and Grace Hannan.

Identical twins Elaine and Grace Hannan ready for kindergarten. Photo: Lisa Barlow.

It will be double trouble or twice as nice for teachers at Crookwell’s St Mary’s Primary School as three sets of twins start school for the first time.

Identical twins Elaine and Grace Hannan, Pepper and Bailey Reeves, and Adrian and Khloe Pickett are all heading off to big school in the Southern Tablelands town.

After a fun-filled six-week holiday, Elaine and Grace are keen to put on their uniforms, pack their school bags and walk through the school gates.

School principal Sarah Lowe says the enrolment of three sets of twins is remarkable.

“I have never in 25 years of teaching had three sets of twins enrolled in one class. It is quite remarkable,” she says.

“St Mary’s Primary School is currently experiencing a rise in enrolment numbers due to our continued exceptional results, explicit teaching and learning programs based on the science of learning, targeted intervention strategies and in-depth professional development programs.”

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The three sets of twins are among the cohort of 33 new kindergarten students starting school at St Mary’s; Sally Croker and Alison Cummins will teach them.

For some of their activities, the class will break into two groups in two separate classrooms and for some lessons, they will stay as a group with their two teachers and support assistants.

Lisa Barlow says her daughters have a competitive streak and an outgoing personality, and they can’t wait to start school.

“Gracie and Elaine are both excited,” she says.

Pepper and Bailey Reeves

Five-year-old twins Pepper and Bailey Reeves are ready to start school. Photo: Elle Reeves.

Lisa and her partner, Tom Hannan, share their daughters’ excitement and say they are happy that the girls have each other.

“I’m excited for the girls to start big school and try something different, but I’ll miss having them around,” Lisa says.

“The benefit for them both might be making their own friends as individuals … and being able to learn to share their friends.

“They are bright little girls and love being outdoors. I think being inside learning a lot of the time might be a big adjustment.”

Elaine and Grace attended a local preschool for a few days a week to help transition to big school. Lisa has been working with the girls to recognise their numbers and phonics (sounds of letters) and teaching them how to read.

Adrian and Khloe Pickett

Six-year-old twins Adrian and Khloe Pickett. Photo: Jennifer Evans.

“Elaine likes learning about numbers and words; Gracie likes numbers, letters, words and the alphabet,” she says.

She says the girls struggle to maintain focus reading if their sibling isn’t interested.

“I’m looking forward to learning strategies for that once they get up and going at school.”

As for the girls, both are excited about playing with their friends, including the other sets of twins.

“They are also excited about playing on the slides,” Lisa says.

New health protocols will be in place for teachers and students returning to the classroom, making returning to school a little different in COVID-19 times, however the staff at St Mary’s are excited to start a new year of face-to-face learning.

“As we have learnt from the past two years, we need to be flexible and to remain positive for our students and their families,” Sarah says.

“Staff are prepared to jump back into MSTEAMS, our Remote Learning platform, if and when the need arises.

“One way or another, our students will still receive the very best well-rounded education possible.”

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Christine Brennan2:41 pm 31 Jan 22

Good luck with the year ahead. Crookwell High School had a class with five sets of twins. Approximately 2011 and in a class of around 56 students. Surely that must break a record!

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