I just realized - duh! - that my choices are reflective of a full-time working mom. You may only be looking for part-time daycare a few hours a day or a week. That makes a huge difference.
If I were with my kids most of the time during the week, I would definitely not want to use the daycare provider we use. I would want those minimal hours away from me to be more active & structured.
It is precisely b/c we're away from the boys all day during the week that the small, in-home, grandma-like setting is so important to us.
I'm not sure why that had to be an afterthought for me, but there is is.
My original post may have little value if you're looking for part-time daycare. Same with preschool. The kids who don't need full-time care just come for the morning or afternoon preschool sessions with the teacher, & aides & before/after care aren't even an issue for those kids & their parents.
So yep, I would lean toward action & learning if it's just part-time daycare. JMHO.