This study examines the allocation of instructional time in pre-Kindergarten (pre-K), focusing on the differences between half-day and full-day programs in one public school district. Using data from the Full-Day Pre-K Study (FDPK) randomized control trial, we conduct an in-depth descriptive analysis of 114 full-day classroom observations, coding for content and activities, and up to 14 repeated observations per teacher over two years. Our findings reveal substantial variation in time allocation between half- and full-day classes, notably the inclusion of nap time in full-day. Importantly, we discover notable differences in the amount of time dedicated to instructional and non-instructional activities, suggesting potential dissimilarities in learning opportunities across the school year. This study highlights the complexity of time use in early childhood education (ECE) settings, as a substantial portion of classroom time is devoted to activities with mixed content delivery. Our findings offer crucial insights to policymakers trying to understand the implications of extending pre-K programs from half- to full-day.
Recommended citation: Denker, H. & Atteberry, A. (2024). “Where has all the time gone? Describing time use in full- vs. half-day pre-Kindergarten”. Under Review.