The High Scope Difference
The HighScope Curriculum uses a carefully designed process — called “active participatory learning” — to achieve powerful, positive outcomes.
As teachers, parents, and educational researchers have discovered, the HighScope Preschool Curriculum not only helps young children excel in language and cognitive learning but also promotes independence, curiosity, decision-making, cooperation, persistence, creativity, and problem solving — the fundamental skills that help determine success in adult life. This is what we mean by The HighScope Difference.
The Preschool Program
In individual classrooms, each day begins with a brief service of worship. Students participate in prayer and scripture to set the tone and expectation for the day. Then students gather for Circle Time where they are engaged in a variety of songs and movement. During the day, we highlight stories from the Old and New Testament as well as special units around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Monthly, students are taught and have many opportunities to practice a scripture related to the monthly Bible Story. These scriptures are used to impact the hearts and behaviors of our children. Art projects, dramatization and non-linguistic representation are used to deliver and reinforce the lessons. Throughout our activities we work to inspire affection for the Lord as our loving, heavenly Father.
Each week we introduce a “focus” letter of the alphabet. However, students are exposed to several letters daily during Circle Time. We use a combination of a phonics-based and whole language approach. Students learn the letter sounds and practice writing the upper case and then lower case letters, as their abilities grow. Students explore the letter through stories, manipulatives, work sheets, art projects, observations, games, acting, listening to tapes, seeing words written, songs, poems, and more. Language development comes from listening and speaking as we do these things throughout our day. Students are exposed to the basic sight words and are encouraged to read them in real life situations.
The students also compose their own stories by dictating to older students who come in at planned times to act as scribes. This is the students’ first exposure to composition writing, and is a good learning experience for the older students as well. Care is taken throughout the language arts curriculum that each child may learn at his/her own skill level. This allows children to gain confidence in their abilities and to see that each person has his/her own strengths. They learn to encourage and support each other.
We use brain-based research to create the instructional lessons. Based on the 12 Principles of brain-based learning, instruction is delivered using hands-on, real life situations to ensure a solid foundation in number sense. Marzano’s strategies: Similarities and Differences, Graphic Organizers, Cooperative Learning, Summarizing and Note Taking, and Non-linguistic Representation are used daily to teach all mathematical concepts and skills. Students are engaged in math games, learn songs and poems about numbers, hear stories with numbers, write numbers, count, create mind-maps using mathematics in many different, real-world situations. This method utilizes the brain in a way that is naturally designed for learning. The mathematics program covers the following general subjects, accommodated to the students’ states and needs:
- Nonstandard Measurements
- Patterns and Functions
- Clocks and Calendars
- Data and Chance
Students also learn about some interesting number facts and recurrences in the Word.
Our science curriculum provides many opportunities to explore and emphasize the wonders of the Lord’s creation. And our social studies curriculum is intimately connected since the human race is the Lord’s greatest creation. We help the students expand their awareness of the world around them as well as people of the world, both living and historical. Marzano’s strategies: Similarities and Differences, Graphic Organizers, Cooperative Learning, Summarizing and Note Taking, and Non-linguistic Representation are used in the delivery of instruction. The science and social studies is a spiraling curriculum: the topics are taken up again in elementary school in deeper and expanded ways to accommodate growing minds. Over the course of the year, the subjects we study are:
- Ocean & River (Atlantic Ocean and Surrounding Rivers)
- Sun, Moon, Stars, Earth, Peninsula
- Identifying Seasons and Match Weather
- Food/Nutrition (Food groups)
- Basic body structure (Name locate body parts)
- The Five Senses
- The Earth & Recycling
- Plant Life
- God, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
- The Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (Character Studies)
- Native Americans and Pilgrims (November)
- President, Vice President, and Mayor of Norfolk
- Veterans and Our Country
- Subdivision, City (Norfolk) and State – Identify and locate
Instead of teaching art as a separate subject, we integrate artistic activities throughout each day. Students work with various media to enhance studies in all subjects. Some of the media used include paints, clay, recycled boxes and paraphernalia, crayons and pencils, fabric, and weaving. (This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but gives you an idea of the variety of exposure.)
Music has a big part to play every day in our classroom. We learn songs for worship. Songs teach us letters, rhymes, numbers and other ideas. And certain types of music are played during the day to indicate what time of day it is and what we are doing. One example being that quiet music is played during “Quiet Time.”
Of course character development happens throughout the day as the children learn to handle themselves in a group. For some students this is the first experience of being part of an organized group. Teachers help guide them in making good choices and in sorting things out when problems arise. The Bible is used as the standard for teaching, correcting and rebuking. The children learn that the Lord loves them always, and with the Golden Rule, “You shall love the Lord your God…and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-40
Each day there is time for the valuable and popular activity of free play. This allows each child a chance to develop a sense of self-initiation and exploration and to learn to interact with classmates, developing important social skills. Free play times happen twice throughout our day – once in the classroom and at outside/indoor play time. We also have time for guided play which builds physical and social skills. This includes circle games, movement to music, hopping, skipping, jumping, and running games with simple equipment.
Quiet time provides some down-time for the students. They are required to be on their mats and stay quiet, both quieting their minds and their bodies so that they may recoup physical and mental energy used during their busy morning. No interaction is allowed among students during this time which allows everyone a time of rest before resuming with the afternoon activities.
Following are brief descriptions of special events and times throughout our school year:
- Field Trips – these enhance the absorption of some of the things we learn in the classroom. We will take virtual trips, walking trips, and bring organizations into the center throughout the year.
- Performances – There are usually at least two times in a year when parents are invited to see their children perform in a play or singing group: The Christmas and End-of-year Program. These times are favorites and are always remembered by the parents and children.
The endeavor in our students’ first years of formal learning is to offer them a happy experience so that learning is fun, and that the things they learn can be used to enhance their lives and the lives of others.
Before & After Care
The Extended Day (before and after care) program is designed to meet the needs of working parents. Extended Day provides the opportunity for children to arrive three hours before school begins and to remain engaged at school for three hours after school is dismissed. At Extended Day, children may arrive as early as 6:00 a.m. and receive care until 6:00 p.m. for no additional charge.
The Extended Day program is staffed with highly qualified teachers who are trained to meet the needs of individual children. The morning session provides students with a choice of resting, reading, music and movement, and crafts. The after-school session includes snack time and time for students to begin homework, receive tutorial services in the core subjects (reading and math), and enjoy indoor/outdoor play. At Blue Ribbon Results, Extended Day allows working parents to provide for their families while knowing that their child is having an awesome experience in a loving and nurturing environment.
Morning Extended Care
6:30 am – 9:00 am
Quiet Time / Prepare Snack / Role Play / Crafts / Table Games
After School Care
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Organized Group Games / Evening Snack Time / Role Play / Crafts / Music and Movement