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. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
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