LANSING — State Rep. Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Township) introduced his first bill today requiring mandatory full-day kindergarten for all Michigan children five years old and older.

“Kindergarten is important for our children because it prepares students to succeed in the first grade and beyond by introducing them to subjects like math, preparing them to be good readers, and developing their interpersonal and social skills” said Sowerby. “Other states currently offer full-day kindergarten and it’s worked well for students and families. It’s time to require Michigan schools to offer full-day kindergarten.”

Kindergarten is not mandatory in Michigan. Sowerby’s bill would require a school district to offer full-day kindergarten just as they do for other grade levels, and a parent or guardian must ensure that their child is attending kindergarten. If a child is five years old on or before September 1, the child will begin kindergarten that school year. If a child turns five after September 1, the child will begin kindergarten the next school year.

“With new third grade reading requirements, it is now even more important that children receive a great early education” said Sowerby. “Research has shown that early childhood education is critical to a student’s educational success, and other studies have shown that children who attend kindergarten are more likely to benefit both academically and socially. We all agree that a good education is important for children, and for our communities and our state, because these kids will one day be our future leaders. We need to make full-day kindergarten mandatory so that we prepare our children and give them the skills they need to be successful in the classroom and the community.”