Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Laura Cutler, Rachel E. Schachter, Clariebelle Gabas, Shayne B. Piasta, Kelly M. Purtell & Nathan P. Helsabeck (2022): Patterns of Classroom Organization in Classrooms Where Children Exhibit Higher and Lower Language Gains, Early Education and Development, DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2022.2106766


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License


Previous research suggests that the ways in which early childhood classrooms are organized may facilitate children’s language learning. However, different measures of classroom organization often yield inconsistent findings regarding child outcomes. In this study, we investigated multiple aspects of classroom organization across two time points in classrooms where children made varying language gains. Using a purposeful sample of 60 early childhood classrooms, 30 in which children made higher language gains and 30 in which children made lower language gains, we explored the organization of the physical classroom literacy environment, classroom management, classroom time, and classroom activities. Research Findings: Results indicated that the organization of classroom time and classroom activities, but not of the classroom literacy environment nor of classroom management, differed across classrooms. Differences between classrooms were particularly salient in the fall. Practice or Policy: Findings suggest similarities and differences in the organizational patterns of classrooms, both at the start of the school year and across time. This has implications for how early childhood classrooms are organized to facilitate children’s language learning and highlights the importance of supporting teachers with establishing classroom organization early in the school year. Furthermore, these results emphasize the value of using multiple measures when exploring classroom organization.