Credit: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

This week, thousands of Colorado students will be going back to school.

Three of the districts starting school today are Cherry Creek, Adams 14 and Mapleton Schools. For some parents, things will be a little different this year. It’s the first day for free all-day kindergarten in Colorado after a new law was passed- something that could drastically change the lives of many families.

Before this legislation, parents throughout the state of Colorado had three options for full day kindergarten – none of which were ideal.

One option was half day kindergarten, leaving parents to figure out care for the rest of the day. Another option was full-day kindergarten, which meant parents inevitably paid full tuition. The final option was for school districts to shift money away from other programs and put it towards full-day kindergarten to offset the cost for parents so they would not have to pay.

Colorado mom Keyly Buchanan is preparing her five-year-old twins Nolan and Lydia in the Cherry Creek School District. She says her twins were already in preschool all day, so it was important for her to continue with the full-day format. Because full-day kindergarten is now tuition free, her family is now saving $7,000 a year.

“I’m a working mom and my husband works full-time too, so our children are already away from us during the day, so I just think it’s a really good opportunity for them to start getting a good education early on to prepare them for school,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan says she’s not just excited for her family, but for all families who will now be able to experience full-day kindergarten.