HARTFORD (AP) -- The state Education Board has approved a plan to move up the date on which children must be 5 years old to enroll in kindergarten.

Under the decision made Wednesday, children would need to be 5 by Oct. 1 to enroll in kindergarten, rather than by the current date of Jan. 1.

The result would be fewer 4-year-olds in kindergarten classes.

A department spokesman tells The Courant that under current rules, kindergarten classes often have a wide disparity in ages and development levels.

The new cutoff date would ensure kindergartners are closer together in age, allowing for more targeted lessons, helping close the academic achievement gap and bringing Connecticut in line with the most other states.

The decision needs final approval from lawmakers.