High/Scope Preschool Curriculum for our Infants, Toddlers, Preschool
The High/Scope program is based on the theory that children need active involvement with people, materials, ideas, and events. It is a curriculum of "shared control" in which adults and children learn together. Like Montessori, the core belief is that children learn best by pursuing their personal goals and interests. In High/Scope, however, children are encouraged to make their own choices about materials and activities — teachers are trained to support this independence and decision-making. The High/Scope approach is newer than the Montessori approach but has four decades of research proving its effectiveness in promoting children's development.
In the classroom
The High/Scope curriculum identifies 58 key experiences preschool children should have. The experiences are grouped into ten categories:
Creative representation — Imitation, recognition, role playing
Language and literacy — Talking, describing, scribbling, dictating stories
Initiative and social relations — Making choices, problem-solving, relationship-building
The High/Scope Preschool Curriculum is the preschool component of High/Scope's research-based system of education for the preschool and infant-toddler years. The curriculum has a set of teaching practices for adults, content areas for children, assessment tools to measure teaching behaviors and children's progress, and a training model to help adults use the curriculum to support children's development.
Active Learning. The curriculum is based on the belief that children learn best through "active learning," direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas. Children are encouraged to "construct" their own knowledge by pursuing their personal interests and goals, guided by trained adults who understand the important learning areas for children in the preschool years. Active learning is central to all the activities in the program, whether planned by adults or initiated by children.
Daily Routine. High/Scope teachers give children a sense of control over the events of the day by planning a consistent daily routine that enables children to anticipate what happens next. A central element of the preschool daily routine is the "plan-do-review sequence"; other key elements are small- and large-group times, greeting time, and outside time.
Preschool Curriculum Content. In a High/Scope setting, children explore, ask and answer questions, solve problems, and interact with classmates and adults as they pursue their choices and plans. During this process they engage in teacher- and child-initiated learning activities in 10 child development content areas. Within each content area are "key experiences" that foster developmentally important skills and abilities. There are 58 key experiences for the preschool years. The 41 key experiences for the infant-toddler years are sometimes used in High/Scope preschool programs that also serve developmentally or chronologically younger children.
“The High/Scope Curriculum works because it empowers children to follow through on their interests purposefully and creatively. In the process, children develop initiative, interest, curiosity, resourcefulness, independence, and responsibility-habits of mind that will serve them well throughout their lives.”
Mary Hohmann and David P. Weikart in Educating Young Children