Updated: 09/04/2014 9:11 PM
Created: 09/04/2014 7:43 PM KAALtv.com
By: Meghan Reistad
Kids are back in class, and that now includes Rochester kindergartners. Most kids have been in school for a few days, except for 1,328 kindergartners starting today.
"This is our first day of all-day kindergarten and were so excited," said Lincoln K-8 Choice School Principal Jim Sonju.
Last year, Governor Dayton signed a bill to invest 134 million dollars into free, statewide all-day kindergarten.
"It's been in the works for quite a while. I think last year was when we really felt like this was going to happen for us," said Sonju. "When all the legislation was going through, it was exciting to know this was going into effect the year my daughter went to kindergarten,” said Naura Webb.
The change adds time in the day and gives kids a chance to learn more than previous years.
"Basically the same amount of students and staff, just prolonging the day," said Sonju. "In 2.5 hours, when you had two classes, you had about 50 students. It's harder to build those relationships… Now, we can also focus on social skills, social growth some of the fine motor activities… just time to do some more enrichment," said Kindergarten Teacher Karmen Frana.
"It'll give them an edge, having this experience and the time to really process and learn is huge for them,” said Webb.
Naura Webb’s daughter, Mia, also shares in the excitement of all-day kindergarten. "It feels great because I have a new teacher and all my friends are here," said Mia Webb.