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News

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2006

New Early Learning Standards for Kindergarten unveiled Sept. 12 is Kindergarten Day in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Educators and administrators across the state will celebrate Kindergarten Day on Tuesday, Sept. 12, with the unveiling of the newly developed Illinois Early Learning Standards for Kindergarten.

The Illinois Early Learning Standards for Kindergarten were created collaboratively between the Illinois State Board of Education and kindergarten teachers throughout the state. This will be the first opportunity for kindergarten teachers and administrators to access the new standards specifically designed for kindergarten.

The new Kindergarten Standards align with the Illinois Learning Standards and the Illinois Early Learning Standards and help to put kindergarten on the map in curriculum alignment and school improvement planning. The Illinois Learning Standards are statements which define a core of essential knowledge and skills that all Illinois students enrolled in public schools are expected to know and be able to do.

“These standards being unveiled today have been well-researched and are well-supported by front-line early childhood educators,” said State Superintendent Randy Dunn. “This is another major step forward as we continue to emphasize our long-term investment in early childhood education.”

In 2004-2005, there were 145,797 Illinois children attending kindergarten – 80,303 attended full day, while 65,494 went half-a-day. Kindergarten is optional is Illinois.

“Chicago teachers have long had a concern that kindergarten was the only grade level that did not have standards,” said Joyce Davidson, coordinator for Kindergarten programs for Chicago Public Schools. “With the new Illinois Learning Standards for Kindergarten, we now have continuity of instruction, so that any teacher in any school across the state has the same learning goals. And the standards are targets to achieve those goals.”

The new standards are a result of countless hours of research and testing, culminating in more than four years of work. Over 500 teachers and administrators statewide participated in field testing of these standards.

“The Early Learning Standards were developed with all children in mind. Development happens along a continuum and all children fall within a range of having certain strengths and needs,” said Lisa Cipriano, a special education teacher with Valley View Unit District 365. “With the help of support personnel in the school environment, you are able to meet the needs of all children using the kindergarten standards.”

In addition to releasing the standards on Kindergarten Day, training sessions on the standards are being provided at various locations throughout the state in collaboration with ISBE Education and Regional Offices of Education. A complete training schedule can be found at: http://www.isbe.net/earlychi/pdf/training_schedule.pdf

Kindergarten quick facts:

  • Kindergarten may be half day or full day.
  • In 2004-2005, 1,287 schools offered all day kindergarten, while 712 schools offered half day.
  • About 57% of the kindergarten classes in Illinois are all day everyday.
  • If a district establishes a full day program, it must also provide a half day program for those families who want it.
  • Four clock hours may be counted as a day of attendance for kindergarten.
  • Two clock hours may be counted as a half-day of attendance.
  • One clock hour may be counted as a half day of attendance for handicapped children below the age of six.
  • Kindergarten attendance is optional in Illinois. A child does not have to attend school until his seventh birthday
  • Any child who will be five on or before September 1 may attend school at the beginning of the school term.

For more information about the new Early Learning Standards for Kindergarten, visit the ISBE Kindergarten Corner at: http://www.isbe.net/earlychi/html/kindergarten_corner.htm.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777