Enrollment data compiled by the Minnesota Department of Education shows that all-day kindergarten is turning out to be a more popular choice for parents than state officials initially thought.

The data, released by the department last month, shows that 57,479 students enrolled this year in all-day kindergarten programs, about 3,500 more students than the state originally predicted.

“Before we made this important investment, just 54 percent of Minnesota children had access to all-day kindergarten,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “Now, during its first year of implementation, 99.6 percent of kids are getting the great start they need in classrooms across our state. This is outstanding news for our kids, and for our state’s future."

In 2013, state lawmakers voted to fund all-day kindergarten. Until then, many school districts charged parents for all-day programming. Those costs could range anywhere from $2,500 to $4,200.

Parents can still opt their children out of full-day kindergarten. Currently, about 238 students are enrolled in half-day programs, the enrollment data shows.