All About High/Scope Preschools
High/Scope began as a program for disadvantaged children in Michigan in the 1960s. It’s now a widespread and influential preschool philosophy. Originally created to help poor children develop the skills needed to succeed in public school, High/Scope has been used with good results with elementary-school children, as well.
High/Scope teaches children through hands-on experience, or “active learning.” In this philosophy, the children’s interests and choices lead them to create their own curriculum, which is implemented by interacting with each other and the materials in the classroom. After the children choose what they want to learn, the High/Scope teachers help them with planning and decision-making and make sure the children have the necessary materials and supervision.
What Makes High/Scope Preschools Special?
One feature of High/Scope that sets it apart from other preschools is the daily “plan-do-review” sequence. Here the teachers help the children plan what they want to do during free-choice time and, when the activity is over, help them reflect on what they’ve learned.
Typically, the children plan in small groups with a teacher. They work together to select activities they want to try during their “work” time, and the teacher guides their thinking to create a structured plan for the “work.” The planned activities can include dramatic play, art projects, playing with blocks, or any of a wide variety of typical preschool activities, all done in a 40- to 60-minute time period.
After the activity, the teachers conduct the review time in developmentally appropriate ways. The may have the children draw a picture or have them talk about who they spent their time with.
A Typical Daily Routine
High/Scope preschools follow a predictable routine each day. The basic components are:
- Planning time (10-15 minutes)
- Work time (45-60 minutes)
- Review time (10-15 minutes)
- Small-group time (15-20 minutes)
- Large-group time (10-15 minutes)
- Outside time (30-40 minutes)
- Transition times (including arrival and departure) (variable)
- Eating and rest times (variable)
- Adult team planning time (20-40 minutes)
Within the daily structure, children make choices and do what interests them. As they set out on their plans, they may change course completely, which is fine and becomes part of their discussion during review time. Older children usually spend longer on their plans and reviews since their work becomes more detailed and complex as they mature.
During small-group time, children meet with an adult to work on a group activity that addresses one of the specific High/Scope content areas. These content areas are:
- Social development
- Visual and performing arts
- Math and science
In large-group time, up to 20 children meet with their teachers for shared experiences such as storytelling or music.
Transitions between activities are used as opportunities to teach children how to anticipate new activities and to close old ones.
High/Scope Preschools Are a Good Choice for Children Who …
High/Scope preschools are good for children who:
- Are happiest with a predictable daily routine.
- Enjoy or need opportunities to process their experiences in a group setting.
- Have difficulty making transitions.
- Would benefit from a program that prepares children for grade-school academics.
Learn more about other types of preschools:
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing