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Early Childhood Educators Welcome New IL Law

At the Scribbles Center for Learning, Dr. Erika Hunt is not worried about the law change that now says when kids are six years old; they need to be in kindergarten.
BLOOMINGTON - A new Illinois law could affect some classrooms across the state this next school year. Children must now enter kindergarten by the time they're six years old, instead of seven.

At the Scribbles Center for Learning, Dr. Erika Hunt is not worried about the law change that now says when kids are six years old; they need to be in kindergarten.

"Will it mean that more kids, more parents might want to get their kids into an early childhood center sooner? That would be great. We would support that,” said Hunt.

Up north in Lexington, district superintendent Curt Nettles believes the kids in town are already jumping into the kindergarten mix early on.

"We already have a pretty good idea of who are kids are going to be,” said Nettles. “When registration comes around the first week of August, we’ll know a little bit more than what we already know, but that won’t change the numbers dramatically.”

While the district has lost some funding to its early childhood programs, he says any downgrades now would be foolish.

"We could see that those at-risk kids in the pre-k program, and the early childhood program, after being in that program, for two years and then going into kindergarten just had a tremendous start and a good foundation," said Nettles.

And this foundation is one that Hunt is excited to show off.

It's the newest addition, being added on to her facility. She says getting kids on the right road earlier will pay off in many ways in the long run.

"They were so behind that they were offering special services by the schools, which are very expensive. So, you are paying for it, one way or another,” said Hunt.

And Hunt, who also works for the ISU College of Education agrees that getting kids started on the right path, will prepare them better for when they're in high school.

"The earlier that you can expose a child to an early childhood experience and, some more formalized based learning, the better off they'll be in the long-term success in life,” said Hunt.

Nettles says the new law really doesn't have a lot of teeth to it. If parents decide they want to home-school their children, they can go at a different pace if they fill out the appropriate paperwork.


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