lightford 050423SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford is leading a measure to require all schools in the state to provide an option of full-day kindergarten.

“Kindergarten is pivotal for children’s learning journey,” said Lightford (D-Maywood). “Full-day kindergarten classes across the state will ensure equal access to early learning opportunities for all our families.”

Currently, it is optional for school districts to offer full-day kindergarten. Parents who live in districts without the option of full-day kindergarten are often faced with additional barriers to preparing their children for early elementary school. These barriers include, but are not limited to, mid-day transportation, loss of income due to being home with the child or finding additional childcare, and ensuring developmentally appropriate activities are being provided throughout the day.

Lightford’s measure would provide full-day kindergarten options across all school districts. Full-day kindergarten would be developmentally appropriate and provide opportunities for play-based learning.

“Full-day kindergarten has shown to boost academic gains and prepare children for the social and emotional demands of early elementary,” said Lightford. “This can provide students and their families with sufficient supports and opportunities in their early education career.”

House Bill 2396 passed in the Senate Education Committee and heads to full Senate for further consideration.