What Is High Scope
For more than 40 years, HighScope Educational Research Foundation has provided programs that enhance the learning and development of children starting at infancy. The principal goals are to promote learning and development of children and train educators and parents as they help children to learn. HighScope works to improve the life chances of children and families by providing and promoting high-quality educational programs and services. Decades of research confirms that the HighScope educational approach and training model are successful in enhancing child and adult development and improving quality programs. In a HighScope program, children learn through active involvement with people, materials, events and ideas. Below are the overall guidelines for the curriculum.
Active Participatory Learning in the HighScope Curriculum
The National Education Goals Panel in 1995 stated that school readiness is enhanced when children are provided with play-orientated, exploration activities where they can interact, make choices and participate in their own learning. The HighScope curriculum has all these components in their active participatory learning concept. The learning circle has five key components:
Materials: the program offers supplies of diverse, age-appropriate materials. The materials are appealing to all five senses and are open-ended in the way that they can be utilized. The materials lend themselves to being used in a variety of ways and help to expand each child’s individual experiences and stimulate their thought process.
Manipulation: Children handle, examine, combine and transform materials and ideas. The children make discoveries through direct hands-on and “minds-on” contact with the materials. “Minds-on” contact enforces the idea that children are not just manipulating the toys but actually using their thinking skills throughout the process of their play.
Choice: Children choose materials and other children to play with, change and build on their play and plan activities according to their individual interests and needs.
Child Language and Thought: Children describe what they are doing and their overall understanding. They use communication skills both verbally and nonverbally as they think about what they are doing and make changes to their overall plan.
Adult Scaffolding: This means that the adults support children’s current level of thinking and development and help support them to advance to the next stage. In this way the adults in the child’s life help the children in gaining new knowledge and developing problem-solving skills.
The principles that guide the HighScope Curriculum are illustrated in the wheel below. Active Participatory Learning is at the center highlighting the importance of child initiative and the key indicators of development. The other four components of the wheel focus on the adult responsibilities needed to enhance the center of the wheel.