SPRINGFIELD – All Illinois children will now have equal access to full-day kindergarten thanks to a new law championed by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford.

“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.”

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.

Currently, it is optional for school districts to offer full-day kindergarten. Lightford’s law provides full-day kindergarten options with developmentally appropriate play-based learning opportunities for families throughout the state.

“Full-day kindergarten provides families with comprehensive, stable learning environments so children can be prepared for the demands of early elementary school,” said Lightford. “Families in all corners of the state deserve to have that opportunity and option available to them.”

House Bill 2396 was signed into law Wednesday.