Educator perceptions of free-flowing routines in early childhood education and care

Publication Name

Journal of Early Childhood Research


There is ongoing interest in free-flowing routines in early childhood education and care settings (ECEC), however little is known about educators’ perceptions of free-flowing routines. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of educators regarding free-flowing routines. A focus group and five semi-structured interviews were conducted. Four main themes were identified: learning outcomes, learning opportunities, team characteristics, and pedagogy and practice. Free-flowing routines may offer additional affordances for children’s learning compared to structured routines, such as greater independence and agency for children, sustained time to engage in child-led learning, and deeper engagement in learning. Quality pedagogical practice was perceived as being highly important in free-flowing routines. It is recommended that ECEC settings implement an aspect of free-flowing routines for part, or all of the day, and be open to the learning opportunities that this may present for children. With further research, there is potential to better understand routines that best support children’s learning and development in ECEC, as well as opportunities to influence national and international policy and curricula.

Open Access Status

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