All About HighScope (page 2)
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 how's and why's 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. 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 educational approach?
High/Scope is an "active learning" educational approach. 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. Within this broad framework, however, High/Scope has unique features that differentiate it from other early childhood programs. One is the daily plan-do-review sequence. Research shows that planning and reviewing are the two components of the program day most positively and significantly associated with children's scores on measures of developmental progress. The second feature is the 58 High/Scope preschool key experiences which define the content areas of the preschool curriculum. These are the social, intellectual, and physical experiences that are essential to young children's optimal growth. The key experiences are organized into ten content areas that comprise social development (initiative and social relations), visual and performing arts (creative representation, movement, and music), reading (language and literacy), and math and science (number, classification, seriation, space, and time). High/Scope teachers keep these key experiences 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 High/Scope 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:
- 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 what they have done and what they have learned
- To gain knowledge and skills in important academic, social, and physical areas
High/Scope provides children with carefully planned experiences in reading, mathematics, and science. For example,the High/Scope Early Childhood Reading Institute insures that early learning and staff development in the area of literacy are compatible with the latest findings from research and practice. Our key experiences in mathematics are aligned with the early childhood standards of the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics. Studies continually demonstrate that children in High/Scope classrooms show high levels of initiative. Teachers further support social development by helping children learn how to resolve interpersonal conflicts. The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development stresses that all these areas of academic and socioemotional growth are essential for school readiness.
Does the High/Scope approach work?
Almost 40 years of research shows that High/Scope programs advance the development of children and improve their chance of living a better life through adulthood. National research with children from different backgrounds has shown that those who attend High/Scope programs score higher on measures of development than similar children enrolled in other preschool and child care programs. The Foundation is perhaps best known High/Scope Perry Preschool Project study comparing low-income children who attended our program with those who did not. As adults, preschool participants had higher high school graduation rates, higher monthly earnings, less use of welfare, and fewer arrests than those without the program. For every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education, society saves $13 in the cost of special education, public assistance, unemployment benefits, and crime. Research also shows that High/Scope training with teachers and caregivers is highly effective. In a national study, teachers with High/Scope training had higher quality programs than did similar teachers without such training. Higher quality programs were in turn linked to better developmental outcomes for children.
Reprinted with the permission of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation. © 2007 All rights reserved.
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