High Scope: A Constructivist Approach (page 2)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Classroom Arrangement

The classroom arrangement invites children to engage in personal, meaningful, educational experiences. In addition, the classroom contains three or more interest areas that encourage choice.

The classroom organization of materials and equipment supports the daily routine—children know where to find materials and what materials they can use. This encourages development of self-direction and independence.

The teacher selects the centers and activities to use in the classroom based on several considerations:

  • Interests of the children (e.g., kindergarten children are interested in blocks, housekeeping, and art)
  • Opportunities for facilitating active involvement in seriation, number, time relations, classification, spatial relations, and language development
  • Opportunities for reinforcing needed skills and concepts and functional use of those skills and concepts

Arranging the environment, then, is essential to implementing a program’s philosophy. This is true for Montessori, High/Scope, and every other program.

Daily Schedule

The schedule considers developmental levels of children, incorporates a sixty- to seventy-minute plan-do-review process, provides for content areas, is as consistent throughout the day as possible, and contains a minimum number of transitions.

The plan-do-review process is an important part of the High/Scope approach and is one worthy of your particular attention. The plan-do-review is a sequence in which children, with the help of the teacher, initiate plans for projects or activities; work in learning centers to implement their plans; and then review what they have done with the teacher and their fellow classmates.


Teachers keep notes about significant behaviors, changes, statements, and things that help them better understand a child’s way of thinking and learning. Teachers use two mechanisms to help them collect data: the key experiences note form and a portfolio. The High/Scope Child Observation Record is also used to assess children’s development.


The High/Scope curriculum comes from two sources: children’s interests and the key experiences, which are lists of observable learning behaviors. Basing a curriculum in part on children’s interests is very constructivist and implements the philosophies of Dewey, Piaget, and Vygotsky.

A Daily Routine That Supports Active Learning

The High/Scope curriculum’s daily routine is made up of a plan-do-review sequence and several additional elements. The plan-do-review sequence gives children opportunities to express intentions about their activities while keeping the teacher intimately involved in the whole process. The following five processes support the daily routine and contribute to its successful functioning.

Planning Time

Planning time gives children a structured, consistent chance to express their ideas to adults and to see themselves as individuals who can act on decisions. They experience the power of independence and are conscious of their intentions. This supports the development of purpose and confidence.

The teacher talks with children about the plans they have made before the children carry them out. This helps children clarify their ideas and think about how to proceed. Talking with children about their plans provides an opportunity for the teacher to encourage and respond to each child’s ideas, to suggest way to strengthen the plans so they will be successful, and to understand and gauge each child’s level of development and thinking style. Children and teachers benefit from these conversations and reflections. Children feel reinforced and ready to start their work, and teachers have ideas of what opportunities for extension might arise, what difficulties children might have, and where problem solving may be needed. In such a classroom, children and teachers are playing appropriate and important roles.

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