In accordance with NAEYC recommendations, the Weekday Program uses the High/Scope curriculum to mold the activities that the children do in order to teach the whole child. The curriculum fits seamlessly with our Child Observation Record (COR) wich is based on High/Scope Key Developmental Indicators (KDI) that we use for planning and for assessment.
Visit www.highscope.org for a full review of the curriculum
The following answers a few common questions.
All About High/Scope — FAQs
By Ann S. Epstein, Ph.D., Director, Curriculum Development
We receive many inquiries each week, either through our Web site or e-mail address, asking about High/Scope Foundation “basics.” Even persons who know about High/Scope in one context, such as research, are curious and even surprised to learn about our other activities, for example, staff training or publishing. But the majority of queries concern the hows and whys of the High/Scope early childhood educational approach. That’s why we’ve put together the following list of questions and answers, starting off with a brief summary of how we got started and all that we do and then highlighting the major components of how we approach educating young children.
What is the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation?
The High/Scope Educational Research Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization, established in 1970, with headquarters in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Foundation promotes the development of children and youth worldwide and supports educators and parents as they help children learn. The Foundation's mission is to lift lives through education. High/Scope engages in the following activities:
· Develops curricula (instructional programs, professional development programs, and assessment instruments)
· Trains teachers, caregivers, and youth workers
· Conducts research in education and interprets and publishes what it discovers
· Publicly supports programs and policies that benefit children and youth
· Publishes educational books, videotapes, and other materials
What is the High/Scope Curriculum?
High/Scope's educational approach emphasizes “active participatory learning.” Active learning means students have direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas. Children’s interests and choices are at the heart of High/Scope programs. They construct their own knowledge through interactions with the world and the people around them. Children take the first step in the learning process by making choices and following through on their plans and decisions. Teachers, caregivers, and parents offer physical, emotional, and intellectual support. In active learning settings, adults expand children’s thinking with diverse materials and nurturing interactions.
How does the High/Scope approach differ from other early childhood programs?
The High/Scope educational approach is consistent with the best practices recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Head Start Performance Standards, and other
guidelines for developmentally based programs. young children. High/Scope teachers keep these indicators in mind when they set up the environment and plan activities to encourage learning and social interaction. They also form the basis of High/Scope’s child assessment tool — the Preschool Child Observation Record (COR).
What are High/Scope’s goals for young children?
High/Scope is a comprehensive educational approach that strives to help children develop in all areas. Our goals for young children are:
· To learn through active involvement with people, materials, events, and ideas
· To become independent, responsible, and confident — ready for school and ready for life
· To learn to plan many of their own activities, carry them out, and talk with others about materials and plan experiences that children need to grow and learn.
What does a High/Scope program setting look like?
The space and materials in a High/Scope setting are carefully chosen and arranged to promote active learning. Although we do not endorse specific types or brands of toys and equipment, High/Scope does provide general guidelines for selecting materials that are meaningful and interesting to children. The learning environment in High/Scope programs has the following characteristics:
· Is welcoming to children
· Provides enough materials for all the children
· Allows children to find, use, and return materials independently
· Encourages different types of play and learning
· Allows the children to see and easily move through all the areas of the classroom or center
· Is flexible so children can extend their play by bringing materials from one area to another
· Provides materials that reflect the diversity of children’s family lives
What happens each day in a High/Scope classroom?
High/Scope classrooms follow a predictable sequence of events known as the daily routine. This provides a structure within which children can make choices, follow their interests, and develop their abilities in each content area. While each High/Scope program decides on the routine that works best for its setting, schedule, and population, the following segments are always included during the program day.
This three-part sequence is unique to the High/Scope approach. It includes a 10–15-minute small-group time during which children plan what they want to do during work time (the area to visit, materials to use, and friends to play with); a 45–60-minute work time for carrying out their plans; and another 10–15-minute smallgroup time for reviewing and recalling with an adult and other children what they’ve done and learned. In between “do” and “review,” children clean up by putting away their materials or storing unfinished projects. Generally, the older the children, the longer and more detailed their planning and review times become. Children are very active and purposeful during “do” time because they are pursuing activities that interest them. They may follow their initial plans, but often, as they become engaged, their plans shift or may even change completely.
During this time a small group of ideally 6–8 children meet with an adult to experiment with materials and solve problems. Although adults choose a small-group activity to emphasize one or more particular content areas, children are free to use the materials in any way they want during this time. . The length of small group varies with the age, interests, and attention span of the children. At the end of the period, children help with cleanup.
Large-group time builds a sense of community. Up to 20 children and 2 adults come together for movement and music activities, storytelling, and other shared experiences. Children have many opportunities to make choices and play the role of leader.
Children and adults spend at least 30 minutes outside every day, enjoying vigorous and often noisy play in the fresh air. Without the constraints of four walls, they feel freer to make large movements and experiment with the full range of their voices. Children run, climb, swing, roll, jump, yell, and sing with energy. They experience the wonders of nature, including collecting, gardening, and examining wildlife. During extreme weather or other unsafe conditions, teachers find an alternative indoor location for large-motor activity.
Transitions are the minutes between other blocks of the day, as well as arrival and departure
times. Our goal is to make transitions pass smoothly since they set the stage for the next segment in the day’s
schedule. They also provide meaningful learning opportunities themselves. Whenever possible, we give children
choices about how to make the transition. For example, they may choose how to move across the floor on their way
to small-group time. With a consistent daily routine children know what is going to take place next, and it is not
unusual for them to announce the next activity and initiate the transition.
Eating and resting times.
Meals and snacks allow children to enjoy eating healthy food in a supportive social setting. Rest is for quiet, solitary activities. Since both activities happen at home as well as school, we try to respect family customs at these times as much as possible. Our main goal is to create a shared and secure sense of community within the program.
How does High/Scope help children learn how to resolve conflicts?
Conflict is inevitable during the course of children’s play, whenever they become frustrated or angry. This does not mean children are bad, selfish, or mean. They simply have not yet learned how to interpret social cues, understand other viewpoints, or match their behavior to the situation. To help children learn how to work out their disagreements together, High/Scope teachers are trained to use a six-step process to solve problems and resolve conflicts:
1. Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions or language — A calm manner reassures children that things are under control and can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.
2. Acknowledge feelings — Children need to express their feelings before they can let go of them and think about possible solutions to the problem.
3. Gather information — Adults are careful not to make assumptions or takes sides. We ask open-ended questions to help children describe what happened in their own words.
4. Restate the problem — Using the information provided by the children, the adult restates the problem, using clear and simple terms and, if necessary, rephrasing hurtful words.
5. Ask for ideas for solutions and choose one together — Adults encourage children to suggest solutions, helping to put them in practical and concrete terms. We accept their ideas, rather than impose our own, thus giving children the satisfaction of having solved the problem.
6. Give follow-up support as needed — Adults help children begin to carry out their solution, making sure that no one remains upset. If necessary, we repeat one or more steps until all the children return to their play.
How can families use High/Scope at home?
Many of the activities that High/Scope teachers offer in their programs can also be done by families at home. For example, parents can provide many different learning materials, often using everyday objects that cost little or nothing. Parents can encourage children to make plans, carry them out, and talk about what they have learned from their experiences. They can try to be more predictable in their routines so children know what to expect. And they can use the steps of conflict resolution to help children resolve disputes with siblings and friends. High/Scope classrooms welcome visits from parents and encourage them to participate in field trips and other special events. We are especially eager for parents to share things about their families and culture so they can be incorporated into the program’s daily routine. In addition, staff hold regular workshops to help parents understand child development and how it is fostered at school and home. Teachers and caregivers conduct at least one home visit a assessment with the PQA. Anyone with an interest in High/Scope can also join the High/Scope Membership Association to receive updated information about Foundation activities as well as free periodicals and discounts on Foundation conferences and products.
How did High/Scope get its name and what does it mean?
The late David Weikart, High/Scope's founder, relates how High/Scope got its name in his memoir How High/Scope Grew. High/Scope was originally established as a camp program for talented adolescents. Weikart relates that the name was chosen by the camp's founders "at the end of a long evening of heady and serious discussion about [the program's] purpose and goals." They chose "high" to signify their aspiration level and "scope" to describe the breadth of vision they hoped to achieve.
For a more comprehensive overview of the High/Scope, visit the Training and Conferences section of this Web site to find out about training options. For training information, e-mail us