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High Scope – Early Childhood Education Approach

by 高莫娜 Mona

The High Scope curriculum is a child centered developmentally appropriate approach which promotes active learning. David Weikart of United States was the creator of “High Scope Approach” in 1960’s. The philosophy behind is based on “child development theory” and research, originally based on the works of Jean Piaget and John Dewey. Its curriculum draws upon the work of Lev Vygotsky.

The High Scope Wheel

Basis Concepts of High scope Approach:
Active Learning : It emphasizes active participatory learning. It means students have direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas.
Learning Environment : The classroom is divided into well-defined interest areas that typically include a house area, art area, block area, toy area, and other areas that reflect the children’s interests.
Daily routine:  Classrooms follow a predictable sequence of events called the daily routine. The daily routine in a High Scope classroom includes plan-do-review, small- and large-group times, outside time, transition times, and eating and resting times.
Plan-do-review : A key component of the High Scope approach is the plan-do-review sequence. Children first plan what materials they want to work with, what they want to do, and whom they want to do it with
Adult-child interaction: Both children & teacher are active partners. This process of learning is also called “Intentional Teaching”.

Curriculum Content:
The curriculum is built around teacher- and child-initiated learning activities in five main curriculum content areas:
1. Approaches to learning
2. Language, literacy, & communication;
3. Social and emotional development;
4. Physical development, health, and well-being; and
5. Arts and sciences.

Child Observation Record is used to evaluate child progress.
In addition, High Scope’s Preschool Program Quality Assessment (PQA) offers a powerful tool for evaluating program quality in seven key areas:
1. Learning environment
2. Daily routine
3. Adult-child interaction
4. Curriculum planning and assessment
5. Parent involvement and family services
6. Staff qualifications and staff development, and
7. Program management.

Does the High Scope Approach really work?


  1. It offers a framework that provides support for children with autism in many ways.
  2. It produces lasting benefits for children, families and society. Conflict Resolution Children who had experienced the High Scope Approach as adolescents and adults showed:
    • Increased social responsibility.
    • Increased chance of higher economic status.
    • Improved educational performance
    • Increased commitment to long term relationships.


  1. children are expected to know more and more each year by the time they get into kindergarten. Sometimes it is hard to prepare them if you are strictly using High scope.
  2. It is fine for children with speech delays as you model, use words to describe their actions but if a child has no delays then they might need to learn in a more traditional method.

Every approach has its own limitations but the effectiveness of High Scope is undeniable. High Scope is the ultimate form of emergent curriculum. It is a custom made program which has been shaped and developed by research and practice over a forty year period. It aids teachers developing a daily plan to strengthen children’s skills and create lessons based on child’s interest.

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