The High/Scope approach began as a curriculum model for preschool at the Ypsilanti Perry Preschool and was later extended to curriculum for kindergarten through third grade. The name was meant to communicate high aspirations and a broad scope of interests. David Weikart is the educator responsible for the thinking and organizing of the curriculum ideas of High/Scope. Early in the development of the High/Scope curriculum, the work of Piaget became influential and the curriculum was renamed the cognitively oriented curriculum. Many people continue to call it High/Scope, however—even though the name was changed more than 20 years ago.
Emergence of the High/Scope Curriculum.
When High/Scope programs first began, teachers were teaching with very direct methods, often instructing children in motor and perceptual skills. With the influence of Piaget's ideas, they began instructing children in Piagetian tasks because they thought that those tasks would move children to the next stage of cognitive development. As Weikart and his colleagues studied Piaget further, the curriculum was based more on the idea that children are active learners and can construct their own knowledge. Teachers stopped their direct teaching and were free to participate with the children in activities. The preschool curriculum recommends key experiences for the children. Those experiences are organized into three categories and within each category are types of learning experiences:
- Social and emotional development, including recognition and solution of problems, understanding routines and expectations, and communicating with others
- Movement and physical development, including block building, climbing, ball throwing and catching, and play with manipulatives
- Cognitive development, including representation, language, classification, seriation, number, space, and time
The key experiences give structure to the curriculum while at the same time maintain a flexibility to accommodate new possibilities. Teachers can use these experiences to organize their planning of activities. They also are linked to how both children and program are assessed. Teachers use them as a framework with which to observe children.
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