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High Scope Approach | Overview and Implementation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 2376 words Published: 3rd Jul 2017

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This paper will be talking about the High/Scope Curriculum Approach. The philosophy under the High/Scope Curriculum Approach is children should actively be part of their learning with the help and support of teachers/educators. The High/Scope philosophy believes that children are better learners when they can touch, manipulate, and explore. I will also explain the ways this model promotes the teaching and development of young children, the theoretical influences of High/Scope, and other important elements, such as planning, observation, and implementation.

In this paper, I will review the types of assessments and documentations strategies used to evaluate on-going learning, and finally use the ELECT document to evaluate how the High/Scope Curriculum supports the six core principles.

Theoretical Influences

David Weikart is the educator that thought and organized the High/scope Curriculum.

The main theorists behind the High/Scope Curriculum are Jean Paget and Vygotsky. Early in the development of the High/Scope Curriculum, the work of Piaget became influential and the curriculum was renamed the cognitively oriented curriculum. Also, Vygotsky socio-cultural theory had influenced the High/Scope Curriculum. The High/Scope Curriculum is based on the child development ideas that children learn better when they are actively engaged. From there the High/Scope create key experiences for teachers to help children in their learning process. The environment in the High/Scope is organized with developmentally materials/activities based on the needs and interest of children in the program.

The main component of the High/Scope in the preschool area is related to key experiences that are divided into three sectors and each sector include learning experiences

1. Social and emotional development, including recognition and solution of problems, understanding routines, expectations, and communicating with others.

2. Movement and physical development, including block building, climbing, ball throwing and catching, and play with manipulative.

3. Cognitive development, including representation, language, classification, seriation, number, space, and time.

The key experiences that shape the curriculum give opportunities to new experiences and can also be used for planning, assessments as wells as observations tools.


Observations in a High/Scope are beneficial for children, educators as well as for parents. Through observations, teachers find out about children’s needs and interests while interacting, asking open ended questions and participating in activities with children. Observations are done through the COR which is the Child Observation Record to assess children growth and development. Anecdotal notes are taken in a daily basis and are used to complete the COR. The Child Observation Record (COR) is based on the 58 key developmental indicators. Usually, this is done by educators that know really well the child and work with on a daily basis. Teachers evaluate children as well as their own performance.

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It is very important for educators to have written observations of their work, not only as written evidence to show parents how their child is progressing but also as a way to help parents identify how they can help in the process. Observations are done better if all educators in the program are observing the children in the room at the same time. This way educator can gather and draw comparisons from their observations and evaluate or reevaluate activities and key experiences that needed to be worked on in the future.


A main component of the High/Scope Curriculum Approach is the plan-do-review sequence. Teachers set up the environment with developmentally appropriate materials and the children first decide what materials they want to work with and what they wanted to do. Children plan with the educator in a group of 3 or 4. Educators speak to each child by taking turns while sharing ideas about their choices of activity and material. Planning time last about 10 minutes. After planning, children carry out their own initiatives by choosing materials or friends to work with and have freedom to execute their own thought. Educators supervise, interact, and support children in their learning skill. Educators also assist children in the problem solving.

In the High/Scope setting, learning experiences are determined by both children alongside with teachers which means children decide and pick their own activities and teachers ask questions, add challenge to it, and support children in the learning. The curriculums plans are recorded through daily observations by teachers using the COR. Daily observations help teachers keep track of their work with children as well as their won performance.

The role of the team in planning is very important in a High/Scope Curriculum. By working together as a team, educators will share their observations to see if they came across with the same information. I also think team work is important in the choice of materials provided children and finally important to the success of the program.


High/Scope Curriculum Approach always follows specific structure to implement curriculum. The daily routine is fragmented into segments and each segment is planned depending on the needs of the program. The daily routine is made of:

  • Arrival and greeting
  • Plan-Do-Review time
  • Large group time
  • Small group time
  • Outside time
  • Transition time
  • Eating and resting time

The space is High/Scope is organized into different areas that will be relevant and motivating for children learning such as block areas, dress up areas, kitchen areas, book areas, rest areas, art areas, etc. All areas are all labeled in a way so the children can understand for example pictures of different items. I think this a good way to support early literacy. The materials are selected by the teachers so they are well organized and also labeled with pictures, photographs, or real objects. Materials are available all the time to children.

The use of time is very effective in the High/Scope Curriculum. There is a time for planning which lat 10-15 minutes and the work time is approximately 45-60 minutes. 10 minutes to recall, 15 to 20 minutes small group time, 10 to 15 minutes large group time and finally 30 minutes of outside time. The time frame allows teachers to cover all sequences of the daily routine. It will also allow children to have consistency in their routine.

In the High/Scope Curriculum, educators play an important role. They are responsible of setting up the environment, providing appropriate materials that are age and developmentally appropriate. They are also there to work alongside with children, encourage, guide, and support them in the learning. Educators use quality tools to observe children on a daily basis and also maintain a relationship between children’s family and the program. Finally, I will say that the way teachers conduct themselves in the High/Scope environment give children opportunities to build relationship with adult and school friends, in order to build confidence and self esteem.


Assessment is very essential in the High/Scope Curriculum. Educators use the Child Observation Record to measure children development and growth. Educators take anecdotal notes at a daily basis to record the children activities and behavior while playing.

The assessments help teachers and directors to measure the quality of the program. Quality of a program includes the learning environment, adult child interaction, daily routine, curriculum planning, assessment, parents’ involvement, teacher’s qualifications, and development and program management.

Learning environment, is it inviting for children to learn? Is the space well arranged and are the materials appropriate for age level? Are there different segments in the daily routine that show what is coming next, planning has to be well balanced to meet learning goals and objectives. Are the children assessed with the right tools? Is the learning environment inviting and open for families to be involved in their children’s learning? Do teachers have some training to improve and update their skills? Is the program management supportive of the staff for professional development, dealing with stress related to work and offers some type of appreciation and recognition to teachers. Assessment is vital, it help improve the work environment for children and teachers.

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Documentation is very important in the High/Scope environment because it provides educators with a lot of hands on that they can utilize to improve their work, to keep families informed of their children work or progress. Documentation can also be used to provide community/social workers some information that can help in needed situations. Documentation goes from Child Observation Record, photographs, portfolio children’s work to a recording material. Documentation is a valuable tool and can be used as proven facts all the time if well kept. However every documentation should be personal to every child, confidential and can be used cautiously.

ELECT Principles/Curriculum Model: High Scope

1.) Early Childhood Development sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior and health

In the High/Scope Curriculum, children are given the opportunity to make choices, be responsible for their choices and think about it in the plan-do-review process. By allowing children to do so, they are learning important skills like communication with others, sharing ideas and critical thinking, and confidence. Those skills will be used throughout their life.

2.) Partnership with families and communities strengthen the ability of early childhood setting to meet the needs of going children

  • Parents/families are welcome in the program to ask they’re children are doing. They can access their children’s art work, portfolios, progress, or any other issues.
  • Parents provide support to children and by the way to teachers. Parent’s involvement helps their children and facilitates learning process.

3.) Demonstration of respect for diversity, equity, and inclusion are prerequisites for optimal development and learning.

  • High/Scope Curriculum is open to all children including special needs children.
  • Children are respected as a whole individual for the choices and ideas
  • Parents and families involvement in the program can be used as a learning opportunity. Example: Art, dance, cooking project, song, form other cultures.
  • In a learning program, respect for diversity equity, and inclusion are important to integrate while planning and implementing because it gives a child a sense of recognition, confidence and self-esteem.

4.) A planned curriculum supports early learning.

  • In the High/Scope setting, teachers set up the environment depending on children’s interests
  • Observations are done to assess children’s learning and growth.
  • The plan-do-review process allows educators/children to have a feedback of their work, and this can be used to see what works or did not work.

5.) Play is a means to early learning that capitalizes on children’s natural curiosity and exuberance.

  • In the High/Scope Curriculum, play takes very important place. Children experience new skills through play and play requires manipulation, exploration, and achievement.
  • Educators support children in their play, ask questions to help or increase children’s learning, add more challenges to it, and also help children in problem solving approach.
  • Educators also play alongside with children. Play is the main activity of childhood and we cannot separate play from children because I considerate play as 1st learning tool for children.

6.) Knowledgeable, responsible early childhood professional are essential

  • Educators observe children at a regular basis to identify their needs, level of learning, and growth.
  • Educators organize the environment and materials that are age appropriate for children.
  • Educators work in small/big group with children depending of the activity. By working in a small, teachers get to know better and identify their needs.
  • Educators support children’s learning and behavior with positive guidance.
  • Teachers assess children learning as well their own performance.
  • Educators maintain a relationship with families and community/social services
  • Knowledge and experiences in the fields are needed to perform effectively in the program.


1.) It’s important to give opportunity to children to explore their environment and build knowledge around it.

2.) Maintain a relationship with parent by sending whether weekly newspaper, asses their children’s wok and parents/teachers meetings.

3.) Integrate diverse cultures and values in the classroom. Take time to assist children with special needs so they can effectively integrate into the learning environment.

4.) High/scope curriculum requires a large input that takes time.

5.) It will be hard to put in place a long project with children.


The High/Scope Curriculum is a very effective curriculum that provides a clear, concise, and constructive learning environment and learning tools for children. It’s also interesting to see how children take care of their own learning with teachers support and build relationship that gives them confidence and helps them develop their self-esteem. From my research, I think the High/Scope Curriculum is beneficial for children today and will allow them to succeed in the future.


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