High Scope: A Constructivist Approach
The High/Scope Educational Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization that sponsors and supports the High/Scope educational approach. The program is based on Piaget’s intellectual development theory. High/Scope provides broad, realistic educational experiences geared to children’s current stages of development, to promote the constructive processes of learning necessary to broaden emerging intellectual and social skills (High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 1989).
High/Scope is based on three fundamental principles:
- Active participation of children in choosing, organizing, and evaluating learning activities, which are undertaken with careful teacher observation and guidance in a learning environment replete with a rich variety of materials located in various classroom learning centers
- Regular daily planning by the teaching staff in accord with a developmentally based curriculum model and careful child observations
- Developmentally sequenced goals and materials for children based on the High/Scope “key experiences” (High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 1989)
Basic Principles and Goals of the High/Scope Approach
The High/Scope program strives to
develop in children a broad range of skills, including the problem solving, interpersonal, and communication skills that are essential for successful living in a rapidly changing society. The curriculum encourages student initiative by providing children with materials, equipment, and time to pursue activities they choose. At the same time, it provides teachers with a framework for guiding children’s independent activities toward sequenced learning goals.
The teacher plays a key role in instructional activities by selecting appropriate, developmentally sequenced material and by encouraging children to adopt an active problem-solving approach to learning....This teacher-student interaction—teachers helping students achieve developmentally sequenced goals while also encouraging them to set many of their own goals—uniquely distinguishes the High/Scope Curriculum from direct-instruction and child-centered curricula (High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 1989).
The High/Scope approach influences the arrangement of the classroom, the manner in which teachers interact with children, and the methods employed to assess children.
The Five Elements of the High/Scope Approach
Teachers create the context for learning in the High/Scope approach by implementing and supporting five essential elements: active learning, classroom arrangement, the daily schedule, assessment, and the curriculum (content).
The idea that children are the source of their own learning forms the center of the High/Scope curriculum. Teachers support children’s active learning by providing a variety of materials, making plans and reviewing activities with children, interacting with and carefully observing individual children, and leading small- and large-group active learning activities.
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