At Premier Learning, Early Childhood Education Center, we use the HighScope Curriculum. HighScope is an active participatory learningprogram that teaches children to learn through hands-on experiences using many different materials, events and ideas. Teachers work alongside their children to encourage learning through verbal and nonverbal communication. They also provide many different interesting materials to work with while offering thoughtful and warm interactions. At first glance, a HighScope classroom may seem chaotic, but after observing for a few moments it soon becomes obvious that the children are very purposeful and self-directed in their activities!
Daily Routine: HighScope provides a daily routine that lets children know "what will happen next" each day while enjoying an environment that allows them the freedom to make their own choices and follow through on their own plans and decisions through different activities. When children are provided with the opportunity to make choices, it gives them a positive sense of self-worth and confidence. Children who have self-confidence have a feeling of internal worth that allows them to work cooperatively with others and welcome challenging experiences. The daily routine was created with children's needs and interests in mind. Throughout the daily routine, children will participate in group play, individual play, large group activities, outdoor time, socialize during meal times and assist their teachers and peers with cleanup, all while exercising their large and small muscles and having fun!
Classroom Setting: Interest areas are provided for the children and are organized around specific kinds of play such as: the house area, block area, toy area, book area, art area and the writing area. These areas allow children to play with things that interest them while actively learning many new things each day. Areas are organized in a way that allows children to easily choose, sort and return toys and materials on their own.
Plan-Do-Review: During planning time, children decide where they will play and what activities they will participate in. The "do" part of this process is also known as work time. Children begin actively engaging in their activities of choice within the different interest areas throughout the classroom. After work time is complete and clean-up has taken place, children gather together to review and recall their activities. They reflect on their actions and what they learned. During this time, they are using language to organize their thoughts and ideas and sharing them with others. What children decide to share with others is an example of what they found most meaningful in their experiences. Throughout the Plan-Do-Review process children are becoming involved with the world around them. They learn that they are able to think on their own, make decisions and solve problems. They also gain positive experiences while enhancing their language and vocabulary and develop a strong sense of purpose.
Key Developmental Indicators: HighScope has identified 58 Key Developmental Indicators (KDI's) which are behaviors that define the important learning areas for young children. The KDI's are organized into eight categories: approaches to learning; social and emotional development; physical development and health; language, literacy and communication; mathematics; creative arts; science and technology; and social studies. These KDI's are useful when designing the classroom setup, encouraging children as they play with others and for planning daily learning experiences and activities. If you would like to see a full list of all 58 KDI's, please ask when you come in for a tour!
Group Activities: Each day teachers plan and create activities that involve the entire group/class. Children will learn about many different subject areas and topics. Subject areas include: math, science, reading, writing, language, creative arts, music and movement, and physical and social development. All group times provide children with the opportunity to explore and play with new materials and learn about many exciting topics. Each activity is developed with each child's capabilities and interests in mind.
Child Assessment: HighScope utilizes The Preschool Child Observation Record (COR) to assess children's learning progress. Each day, teachers take notes and create brief descriptions of what they observe, describing each child's behavior throughout the different interest areas within the classroom. The COR helps teachers understand and evaluate each child's development and progress. This allows teachers to better plan activities around each individual child's development helping the classroom as a whole progress together.