An Illinois Senate Committee is exploring lowering the compulsory school age in the state. Children must currently start attending school by the age of 6, but the committee is exploring whether to lower that age to 5.
Dr. Brenda Dixon of the Illinois State Board of Education says the board supports the idea: “Kindergarten not only provides children with opportunities to strengthen early math and reading skills through guided play and activities, but also to grow socially and emotionally by interacting, sharing, and exploring with other children. Our children that do not attend any formalized schooling until First Grade struggle, because they are expected to perform on the same level as children that attended kindergarten and pre-school.”
Dixon says that a Kindergarten For All law would also help even the field for kids who don’t have access to early childhood daycare and education, as well as preschool programs. If the measure is approved by the General Assembly, about 3,000 more kindergartners would attend public schools in the state next Fall.