Gurnee-based Woodland Elementary District 50 will offer full-day kindergarten in the 2015-16 academic year, with officials citing support for the program in a community survey.
More and more school districts are offering full-day kindergarten. About 76 percent of kindergarten students statewide now are in class all day, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.
District 50 board members at a meeting Tuesday approved the expanded kindergarten. Parents will continue to receive the option of enrolling their children in the half-day kindergarten next year.
"We are thrilled to implement a full-day kindergarten program at Woodland," District 50 Superintendent Joy Swoboda said in a statement. "The additional time in school gives the students a solid foundation, which helps shape their academic journey in our district."
Woodland's kindergarten enrollment for the 2014-15 school year was 556 students as of Wednesday, spokeswoman Jennifer Tempest Bova said. She said the district "strongly encourages" parents to enroll their students in the all-day kindergarten next year.
District 50 received overwhelming support for the full-day kindergarten in a community survey distributed in May, officials said. Children attend kindergarten at Woodland Primary School on Gages Lake Road in unincorporated Lake County, just outside Gurnee.
Members of a committee that studied full-day kindergarten made a presentation to the Woodland school board earlier this year. Board members were told research has found children who spend all day in kindergarten scored higher on standardized tests and had more grade level promotions.
Committee members also cited research showing greater social growth and interactive skills of students in full-day kindergarten. Those on the committee included Steven Thomas, District 50's assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.
"There is little dispute about how much better full-day students do when compared to half-day students at the end of the school year," Thomas said.
There will be no special fee charged for Woodland's all-day kindergarten program, which is expected to provide additional instruction in social studies, science, reading and writing.
Round Lake Area Unit District 116 is among the school systems in Lake County that moved to full-day kindergarten this year.