Working Paper, 2021
High-quality, early childhood education (ECE) experiences can improve children’s learning trajectories and produce long-term social returns. Yet, there is also evidence that ECE effects are variable and do not always persist. There is therefore a need to deepen the research base on what constitutes a ‘high quality’ ECE experience. This need exists on at least two levels—first, to identify which structural features reliably deliver effects, and second to capture the in-classroom processes those structures make possible. This paper provides a case study using an intensive in-classroom data collection effort—a total of 114 all-day class observations with every minute coded for content area(s) and activity type, and up to 14 repeated observations per teacher over a two-year period. In this instance, the data allow us to gain important insights into how teachers leverage time differently when one structural feature of preschool programming—length of the preschool day—changes.