HighScope is an educational approach for pre-school children which emphasizes ‘active participatory learning’, and is strongly influenced by Piaget's interactional theory of child development. It aims to build children’s cognitive skills and attitudes by allowing them to construct their own knowledge through interactions with the world and the people around them, with the support of teachers and parents.
The programme originated in the US in the 1960s from the HighScope Perry Preschool project in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The programme impacts on many factors within the pre-school setting which implements it. Classrooms are organised into different ‘areas of interest’, often created and altered with input from the children. Daily activities follow the ‘plan-do-review’ sequence, in which children plan their activities, which materials they will use, and who they will work with, then come together afterwards to discuss how the activities panned out.
The teacher’s role is to facilitate the activities and participate, offering encouragement and support where necessary.
The provider offers face-to-face and online training.
The Blueprints For Healthy Youth Development review rates High Scope as a promising programme for impact on a range of outcomes including academic performance, early cognitive development and dropout rates.
The Best Evidence Encyclopaedia (2009) judged that there were no studies into the effectiveness of High Scope which met its criteria for inclusion.
The Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development evaluation found that children attending the High Scope preschool showed significantly higher vocabulary skills through the two preschool years and the two years beyond preschool.