Early Education Revolution: Illinois to Mandate Full-Day Kindergarten Programs by 2027


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SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a groundbreaking law requiring full-day kindergarten programs by the 2027-28 academic year. 

House Bill 2396 requires every district to offer full-day kindergarten, along with a half-day option promoting “developmentally appropriate” play-based learning. Research shows that children in full-day programs excel in reading and mathematics compared to their half-day counterparts. The law recognizes diverse family needs, allowing families to choose half-day kindergarten if they prefer. Districts unable to offer full-day programs can apply for a waiver, extending the implementation date by up to two years, subject to specific criteria.

A Full Day Kindergarten Task Force will conduct a statewide audit to facilitate planning and implementation. Illinois State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Tony Sanders, expressed enthusiasm, emphasizing the importance of play-based kindergarten in academic and social-emotional development. 

The focus on early childhood education sets the stage for a brighter future for Illinois’ youngest citizens, aiming to ensure all students receive the early learning opportunities needed to thrive. Educators, families, and policymakers anticipate the lasting benefits of full-day kindergarten for the education system and the state.


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