SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Beginning in 2027, every school district in Illinois must establish a full-day kindergarten program under a new law signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday.

“Full-day kindergarten is an essential step towards getting young Illinoisans off to the best possible start in their education, which has long-lasting positive effects on reading, math, and social skills,” said Pritzker. “From Smart Start to school funding to early childhood, we’re investing heavily in our state’s youngest residents because we know that every investment we make now is paid back multiple times over by engaged and educated citizens.”

According to the National Education Association, children in full-day classes show greater reading and mathematics achievements than those in half-day classes.

Nearly 80% of schools in the state already offer full-day kindergarten classes, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

The law would phase in over two years, so schools can seek tax increases for the transition.