What is High Scope?
High Scope is based on three fundamental principles:
-Active participation of children in choosing, organizing, and evaluating learning activities, which are undertaken with careful adult observation and guidance in a learning environment replete with a rich variety of materials located in various classroom learning areas
-Regular daily planning by the 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”.
The Five Elements of the High Scope Approach
1. Active Learning
The idea that children are the source of their own learning forms the centre of the High Scope curriculum. Adults 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.
2. 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. For example, the creative area, the Maths area and the writing area.
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 adults prepare the areas and activities to use in the classroom based on several considerations:
-Opportunities for facilitating active involvement in a range of skills and concepts, such as: number, time relations, classification, spatial relations, and language development
-Interests of the children
We follow ‘Possible Lines of Development’ (PLOD’s), this means where a child has a particular interest staff will provide materials and opportunities to develop this.
A child finding a mini-beats in the garden may then be supplied with magnifying glasses, non-fiction books, clipboard, paper and pencil to make further studies of mini-beasts; Boxes and joining materials are available to make a mini-beast home; storybooks and story sacks with a mini-beast story will be shared; creative materials will be supplied to make mini-beasts. Lots of child-initiated learning can come from one exciting find in the garden!
3. Daily Schedule
The schedule considers developmental levels of children, incorporates a plan-do-review process, provides for content areas, is as consistent throughout the day as possible.
The plan-do-review process is an important part of the High Scope approach. The plan-do-review is a sequence in which children, with the help of the adult, initiate plans for projects or activities; work in learning areas to implement their plans; and then review what they have done with the adults and their fellow classmates.
This is a short adult led time. During message board children are individually greeted, which helps them learn each other’s names but also feel secure as part of the group. The children will estimate and then count how many children are at Nursery that day, think about how many children are absent and total how many children are in class.
Children learn about the adults supporting them that day and any special events will be shared- e.g. Harvest celebration. Children and adults also talk about the weather, the shape of the day and the sound of the day.
Adults explain the class resources on offer and how these could be utilised. Children are encouraged to explain what they are going to do that day. This enables adults to ensure they can best follow children’s ideas and support learning.
As planning develops children’s vocabulary gets more sophisticated as children explain what they are going to do first, what they are going to do next, who they are going to do it with and what they might need.
Children are encouraged to share with their friends their achievements during the session- this could include sharing a picture, model or photograph. This builds children’s self- esteem.
Once again as review develops children can get sophisticated in what they share, for example explaining problems they encountered.
At snack time children sit together to enjoy a drink and healthy snack. Drinks are tooth friendly as children are offered milk or water. A variety of fruit or savoury snacks are offered. Children sit together at a table, which reinforces manners. This is a sociable talking time.
This is where the whole class comes together to enjoy an activity. This is an adult led time, but children can choose the focus or become involved in decision making. Large group could a story, singing, game or even yoga.
Adults keep notes about significant behaviours, changes, statements, and things that help them better understand a child’s way of thinking and learning.
The High Scope curriculum comes from two sources: children’s interests and the key experiences, which are lists of observable learning behaviours, for these we use the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.