All About HighScope (page 3)
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.
Who uses High/Scope?
The High/Scope approach serves the full range of children and families from all social, financial, and ethnic backgrounds. The approach is used in public and private agencies, half- and full-day preschools, Head Start programs, public school prekindergarten programs, child care centers, home-based child care programs, and programs for children with special needs. The High/Scope approach for grades K–5 is used in dozens of school districts around the country and is approved as a Comprehensive School Reform model. High/Scope's summer residential program for teens, the Institute for IDEAS, is one of the few out-of-school programs recognized by the Program Effectiveness Panel of the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to the programs throughout the United States using High/Scope, High/Scope Institutes operate in Great Britain, Ireland, Mexico, The Netherlands, Singapore, and Indonesia.
What do teachers and other adults do in a High/Scope program?
In High/Scope programs, adults are as active in the learning process as children. A mutual give-and-take relationship exists in which both groups participate as leaders and followers, speakers and listeners. Adults interact with children by sharing control with them, focusing on their strengths, forming genuine relationships with them, supporting their play ideas, and helping them resolve conflicts. Adults participate as partners in children's activities rather than as supervisors or managers. They respect children and their choices, and encourage initiative, independence, and creativity. Because adults are well trained in child development, they provide 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 and recommendations 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
- 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 and follow their interests. 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.
- Plan-do-review time. This three-part sequence is unique to the High/Scope approach. It includes a 5-10-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 5-10-minute small-group 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.
- Small-group time. During small-group time, 5-10 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 key experiences, 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. 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.
- Outside time. 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.
- Transition times. 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.
Reprinted with the permission of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation. © 2007 All rights reserved.
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