HighScope Educational Approach for Preschool

Preschool SELect Program

Program Design and Implementation Support

HighScope Educational Approach for Preschool is a comprehensive system of teaching practices and educational structures designed to enhance the learning environment and to support developmentally appropriate instruction in prekindergarten. The curriculum fully integrates academic, social, and emotional learning as part of the five dimensions of school readiness identified by the National Education Goals Panel: approaches to learning; language, literacy, and communication; social and emotional development; physical development, health, and well-being; and arts and sciences. The HighScope approach emphasizes active participatory learning, positive adult-child interactions, an optimal learning environment, regular routines, and assessment. The daily routine established by the program incorporates a “plan, do, review” cycle that supports independent learning and assessment and includes both small- and large-group activities. The program encourages teachers to learn about students’ families by making a home visit prior to the child’s first day, as well as by incorporating home-based materials and activities. HighScope provides extensive strategies, suggestions, and professional development around supporting English Language Learners and working with a diverse population of students and families from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Initial training for HighScope varies from 2 to 20 days long, depending on needs and resources. Training is not required, and HighScope offers a train-the-trainer system to support sustainability.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Beginning in the 1960s, HighScope has been evaluated in small randomized control trial (n=123). The sample was followed for 37 years, continuing for up to 35 years after the program.

Belfield, C. R., Nores, M., Barnett, W. S., & Schweinhart, L. J. (2006). The HighScope Perry Preschool Program: Cost-benefit analysis using data from the age-40 follow-up. The Journal of Human Resources, 41(1), 162 –190.