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How do children learn in a High/Scope "active learning" setting?

Since we believe that children learn best by pursuing their personal interests and goals, children in High/Scope settings are encouraged to make choices about materials and activities throughout the day. As they pursue their choices and plans, children explore, ask and answer questions, solve problems, and interact with classmates and adults. In this kind of environment, children naturally engage in "key experiences"---activities that foster developmentally important skills and abilities. 

What does a High/Scope preschool setting look like?

The space, and materials in a High/Scope setting are carefully selected and arranged to promote active learning. The center is divided into interest areas organized around specific kinds of play. For example, a center might include separate areas for block play, art activities, house play, small toys, computers, books and writing materials, and sand and water play. In each area materials are organized so children can get them out easily and put them away independently. High/Scope does not recommend or endorse specific preschool equipment or materials, but instead provides general guidelines for selection.

How is the day organized in a High/Scope preschool?

High/Scope adults give children a sense of control over the events of the day by planning a consistent routine that enables children to anticipate what happens next. A central element of the day is the "plan-do-review sequence," in which children make a plan, carry it out, and then reflect on the results. The daily routine also includes times for small- and large-group experiences and time for outside play.

How do adults interact with children in a High/Scope preschool?

High/Scope teachers and caregivers are trained to participate as partners in children's activities rather than relate to children primarily as managers or supervisors. High/Scope training emphasizes positive interaction strategies: sharing control with children, focusing on children's strengths, forming authentic relationships with children, supporting children's play ideas, and adopting a problem-solving approach to social conflict.

How does a High/Scope preschool program teach math and reading skills?

High/Scope preschool teachers not do not directly teach math, reading, writing and other academic skills through sequenced activities, drills, workbooks, or other "school-like" activities. Instead adults provide experiences and materials that help children develop the broad language and logical abilities that are the foundation for later academic learning. For example, to encourage children's beginning reading and writing skills, teachers create a print-rich environment and provide opportunities throughout the day for children to listen to stories, explore books and other print materials, and work with writing tools and materials. To promote math abilities they provide materials that enable children to use beginning skills in counting, comparing numbers, and one-to-one correspondence. Teachers use the High/Scope key experiences in language and literacy and number to help them recognize and support the learning opportunities in these important pre-academic areas.

How do High/Scope teachers handle discipline?

High/Scope teachers avoid using punishment and reward as tools for managing children's behavior. When behavior problems arise, they avoid isolating the child, instead encouraging the child to discuss the problem with the adult or with others involved. This problem-solving approach helps children develop social skills and become more aware of the impact of their actions on others.

Are art and music important parts of High/Scope programs?

Art and music are part of every day's activities in High/Scope programs. Art and music materials are available for children to use freely at work time in most High/Scope classrooms. Many of the small-group experiences planned by High/Scope teachers involve art materials; large-group experiences usually involve music. Adults use High/Scope's key experiences in creative representation and music to highlight ways they can support the important abilities children are developing in these areas.

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