What is Highscope Curriculum; How Does It Focus On Nurturing Children?
What if there was evidence-based research that focused on key aspects of early education that could set children on the path to success? What if led by this research, a robust curriculum could be developed which improved lifetime outcomes for children? This is exactly what HighScope does.
Even before being a curriculum, it is a mission that aims to close the opportunity gap by providing high-quality early childhood education. HighScope’s robust research has shown that early education makes a significant difference all the way into adult life. With this conviction, HighScope has been supporting children across the world & leading the discourse on education. As leaders in early childhood education for over half a century, HighScope strongly believes that every child deserves high-quality early education & that each child should have the opportunity to realize his or her full potential. It is when early education supports every child that the world will witness the transformation.
With evidence gathered through extensive research over 50 years, the HighScope Curriculum empowers educators & works at transforming the lives of children. HighScope research reveals that children who receive the right early education tend to reap the following benefits in life:
✔️ They are better prepared for school
✔️ Display self-regulation
✔️ They are known to have higher graduation rates
✔️ Find stable employment & draw higher salaries
✔️ Can create stable home environments
✔️ Are well-adjusted & engaged civically
The strength of the HighScope curriculum lies in the fact that it is designed not only to offer a rich academic foundation but also to empower the children with essential life skills such as:
✔️ Decision Making
✔️ Problem-Solving, and more
Some of the goals of the HighScope Curriculum include:
- Ensuring that children become independent and are confident problem solvers & decision-makers.
- That they gain knowledge as well as skills in academic, social, emotional & physical domains.
- To ensure they can plan activities and carry them out themselves.
- Ensure they have self-regulation skills that last them through adulthood.
This is made possible on account of its learning objectives as well as its effective adult interaction strategies. The framework that supports children’s learning from ages 3 to 5 years is based on 58 key developmental indicators. Some of the development indicators include:
✔️ Teachers are provided with a child development filter so that they can choose activities & interactions appropriate for them.
✔️ Teachers are enabled to have reasonable expectations from children.
Play is the primary mechanism for learning.
✔️ Teachers are empowered to be intentional when it comes to planning for the class as well as individual children.
Overall, the HighScope preschool Curriculum is focused on eight broad content areas. These are:
✔️ Various approaches to learning
✔️ Social & emotional development
✔️ Physical development & health
✔️ Language & communication
✔️ Creative Arts
✔️ Science & Technology
✔️ Social Studies
Importantly HighScope’s focus isn’t just on what to teach but also on how to teach it. The big emphasis is on fostering child creativity, confidence & independence. This necessitates active learning. The 5 strong ingredients of active learning include:
✔️ Materials- Children are provided with age-appropriate materials that they can explore.
✔️ Manipulation- They are encouraged to handle different materials & ideas.
✔️ Choice- Children choose materials, play partners, play ideas & more.
✔️ Language & thought- They learn to communicate both verbally & non-verbally.
✔️ Adult Scaffolding- Adults support the child’s thinking & challenge them to move to the next stage.
What does all of the above mean in terms of the classroom?
The teacher has the power to change the trajectory of a child’s life. In the classroom, however, teachers act as partners & there is shared control between adults & children. While children make their discoveries and follow through on their intentions, teachers support and challenge children. The process, therefore, is that of Plan-Do-Review which helps the children build school readiness skills.
The overall approach followed by teachers is that of scaffolding & helping children grow. When it comes to issues such as conflict resolution, teachers use a problem-solving approach as opposed to jumping in to solve the conflict for the child. Similarly, teachers use encouragement as opposed to praise.
The classroom is equipped with open-ended materials that encourage the child to explore these materials & carry out their intentions.
The overall focus is on the child’s strength as teachers help develop the child’s imagination through play. The child’s learning is enhanced based on their developmental levels.
There is a framework for the day that offers a wide variety of experiences. Some of these include:
✔️ Individual & social play
✔️ Small & large group activities
✔️ Self-care skills
The classroom and daily routines are designed to help children develop competence and support social interactions. Due emphasis is paid to conflict resolution skills & for children to gain control over their emotions & thoughts. Overall this leads to better executive function that becomes a part of the child’s persona.
Teachers communicate with & work collaboratively with parents to partner with them & involve them in the child’s learning.
There is an ongoing assessment that is made through anecdotal observation. In turn, it helps the teacher to gauge the child’s progress & plan meaningful learning experiences.
The focus of the HighScope curriculum, therefore, is to promote the child’s overall development & to offer learning that has lasting benefits into adulthood.
To Sum Up
At Footprints, we follow the HighScope Curriculum with its play-based & child-centered approach, as we want to ensure that all children have the best chance at lifelong success. At our preschool, our well-trained teachers go all the way in ensuring that the child’s learning is enhanced. Most importantly we ensure that the child falls in love with the process of learning. School readiness & overall positive child outcomes are a natural corollary of the approach.
Here’s to elevating early education & changing the world, one child at a time!