Adults and Children — Partners in learning


Active learning — whether planned by adults or initiated by children — is the central element of the HighScope Preschool Curriculum. Children learn through direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas. Trained childcare practitioners who understand child development and how to scaffold the important areas of learning in the preschool years offer guidance and support.

The preschool component of the HighScope Curriculum includes

  • A set of teaching practices for adult-child interaction, arranging the classroom and materials, and planning the daily routine.
  • Curriculum content areas for 3- to 5-year-olds.
  • Assessment tools to measure teaching behaviours and child progress.
  • A training model to help childcare practitioners implement the curriculum effectively.

Teaching Practices in the High/Scope Preschool Curriculum

In the High/Scope approach the childcare practitioners and children are active partners in the learning process. This balanced approach to adult-child interaction — also called “intentional teaching” — is critical to the effectiveness of the program. It includes techniques for encouraging learning in specific content areas as well as strategies for helping children resolve conflict.

The space and materials in our High/Scope room is carefully arranged to promote active learning. The room is divided into interest areas organised around specific kinds of play; for example, block area, home area, small toy area, book area, sand-and-water area, and art area.

High/Scope practitioners give preschoolers a sense of control over the events of the day by planning a consistent daily routine that enables the children to anticipate what happens next. Central elements of the preschool daily routine include the plan-do-review sequence, small- and large-group times, greeting time, and outside time.

Key developmental indicators. The curriculum is built around practitioner- and child-initiated learning activities in five main curriculum content areas: approaches to learning; language, literacy, & communication; social and emotional development; physical development, health, and well-being; and arts and sciences. Within these areas are 58 key developmental indicators (formerly called “key experiences”) — observable early childhood milestones that guide practitioners as they plan learning experiences and interact with children.

Developmentally oriented instruments for assessing child progress and program quality. The Preschool COR (Child Observation Record) is used to evaluate child progress in High-Scope Preschool Programs. In addition, HighScope’s Preschool Program Quality Assessment (PQA) offers a powerful tool for evaluating program quality in seven key areas: learning environment, daily routine, adult-child interaction, curriculum planning and assessment, parent involvement and family services, staff qualifications and staff development, and program management.