Activity settings and daily routines in preschool classrooms: Diverse experiences in early learning settings for low-income children

Allison Sidle Fuligni, Carollee Howes, Yiching Huang, Sandra Soliday Hong, Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines activity settings and daily classroom routines experienced by 3- and 4-year-old low-income children in public center-based preschool programs, private center-based programs, and family child care homes. Two daily routine profiles were identified using a time-sampling coding procedure: a High Free-Choice pattern in which children spent a majority of their day engaged in child-directed free-choice activity settings combined with relatively low amounts of teacher-directed activity, and a Structured-Balanced pattern in which children spent relatively equal proportions of their day engaged in child-directed free-choice activity settings and teacher-directed small- and whole-group activities. Daily routine profiles were associated with program type and curriculum use but not with measures of process quality. Children in Structured-Balanced classrooms had more opportunities to engage in language and literacy and math activities, whereas children in High Free-Choice classrooms had more opportunities for gross motor and fantasy play. Being in a Structured-Balanced classroom was associated with children's language scores but profiles were not associated with measures of children's math reasoning or socio-emotional behavior. Consideration of teachers' structuring of daily routines represents a valuable way to understand nuances in the provision of learning experiences for young children in the context of current views about developmentally appropriate practice and school readiness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-209
Number of pages12
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child-directed activity
  • Instructional quality
  • Preschool quality
  • School readiness
  • Teacher-directed activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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