Illinois kids to start kindergarten at earlier age - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois kids to start kindergarten at earlier age

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Lura Ottolini, pre-school teacher who says kids should start school as early as five. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS) Lura Ottolini, pre-school teacher who says kids should start school as early as five. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS)
HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - Children in Illinois must start kindergarten by the age of six, according to a new Illinois law.

The cut off age used to be seven.

Illinois senator Kimberly Lightford sponsored the bill. She believes the new mandate will keep children from falling behind their peers.

Lura Ottolini of the greater Carterville, Illinois area is a mother of two and a grandmother. She's also a pre-school teacher at the Trinity Lutheran Early Childhood Learning Center in Herrin, Ill.

Both of Ottolini's children started when they were five years old.

"I don't think they should start any later [than 7], Ottolini said.  "Because they're ready, especially if they've been to preschool and I think every child should go to preschool."

Ottolini also stressed the importance of pre-school. She said kids "are sponges" and the earlier they start, the better off they'll be.

"I would like for children to go to preschool before they go to school," Ottolini said.  "I think pre-school should maybe even be a requirement."

Critics to the unfunded mandate say enrollment numbers could increase, according to the Associated Press.

Although, enrollment numbers would most likely financially impact larger school districts.

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