State Could Soon Decide When Your Child is Ready to Start School - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

State Could Soon Decide When Your Child is Ready to Start School

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Illinois lawmakers may soon decide when your child is ready to start school.

In a bill that State House lawmakers passed by a vast majority vote, children who turn 7 during the school year would be required by law to go to school.

This new change would mean kindergartners that turn seven during the school year would have to start that year when they are still six.

Local dad Nick Smith has a daughter in kindergarten now. She started at age five. And he says it can teach them a lot at a young age.

"Kindergarten is very important to the social and emotional and educational development of a child in that they learn to interact with other children," said Smith. "They learn how to act in school. They learn how to respect their teachers and administrators."

Right now, the law says they have to go when they are seven.

But to put a 7-year-old into kindergarten, Madison School kindergarten teacher Kathy Taylor says, puts a huge age-gap in the classroom.

"The maturity level," said Taylor. "There'd be a huge difference between a five and a seven-year-old. And I would really be concerned even though they may be capable of doing the same thing academically, socially the way they would approach anything would be so different."

Smith, who has a child in kindergarten now, says starting at a younger age has many advantages.

"I think it's very important for kids to start as soon as possible having that interaction with the other children and with their teachers and basically just learning how to learn," said Smith.

But State Representative Mike Bost, who opposes the bill, says only a parent knows whether their child is ready to go to kindergarten or not.

In Quincy Schools, kids that turn five by September first attend kindergarten. So this bill only affects parents who choose to wait to send their kids. This bill also affects seven year olds that miss school frequently with no excuse.

In fact, Illinois School Code already says kids have to go to school when they are seven.

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