High Scope

Key Experiences For Preschool Children

The High/Scope preschool key experiences provide a composite picture of early childhood development, are fundamental to you children’s construction of knowledge, take place repeatedly over an extended period of time, and describe concepts and relationships young children are striving to understand. They occur in active learning in which children have opportunities to make choices and decisions, manipulate materials, interact with peers and adults, experience special events, reflect on ideas and actions, use language in personally meaningful ways, and receive appropriate adult support.

Creative Representation

  • Recognizing objects by sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell
  • Imitating actions and sounds
  • Relating models, pictures, and photographs to real places and things
  • Pretending and role playing
  • Making models out of clay, blocks and other materials
  • Drawing and painting

Language and Literacy

  • Talking with others about personally meaningful experiences
  • Describing objects, events and relations
  • Having fun with language, listening to stories and poems, making up stories and rhymes
  • Writing in various ways: drawing, scribbling, letter-like forms, invented spelling, conventional forms
  • Reading in various ways: reading storybooks, signs and symbols, one’s own writing
  • Dictating stories

Initiative and Social Relations

  • Making and expressing choices, plans and decisions
  • Solving problems encountered in play
  • Taking care of one’s own needs
  • Expressing feelings in words
  • Participating in group routines
  • Being sensitive to the feelings, interests, and needs of others
  • Building relationships with children and adults
  • Creating and experiencing collaborative play
  • Dealing with social conflict


  • Moving in non-locomotor ways (anchored movement: bending, twisting, rocking, swinging in one’s arms)
  • Moving in locomotor ways (non-anchored movement: running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, climbing)
  • Moving with objects
  • Expressing creativity in movement
  • Describing movement
  • Action upon movement directions
  • Feeling and expressing a steady beat
  • Moving to sequences to a common beat


  • Moving to music
  • Exploring and identifying sounds
  • Exploring the singing voice
  • Developing melody
  • Singing songs
  • Playing simple musical instruments


  • Exploring and describing similarities, differences, and the attributes of things
  • Distinguishing and describing shapes
  • Sorting and matching
  • Using and describing something in several ways
  • Holding more than one attribute in mind at a time
  • Distinguishes between “some” and “all”
  • Describing characteristics something does not possess or what class it does not belong to


  • Comparing attributes (longer/shorter, bigger/smaller)
  • Arranging several things one after another in a series or pattern and describing the relationships (big/bigger/biggest, red/blue, red/blue)
  • Fitting one ordered set of objects to another through trial and error (small cup-small saucer, medium cup-medium saucer, big cup-big saucer)


  • Comparing the numbers of things in two sets to determine “more”, “fewer”, “same number”.
  • Arranging two sets of objects in one-to-one correspondence
  • Counting objects


  • Start and stopping an action on signal
  • Experiencing and describing rates of movement
  • Experiencing and comparing intervals
  • Anticipating, remembering and describing sequences of events


  • Filling and emptying
  • Filling things together and taking them apart
  • Changing the shape and arrangement of objects (wrapping, twisting, stretching, stacking, enclosing)
  • Observing people, things, and places from spatial viewpoints
  • Experiencing and describing positions, directions and distances in the play space, building and neighborhood
  • Interpreting spatial relations in drawings, pictures and photographs

Preschool Educational Approach

Active Learning

Children are involved in direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, ideas, and events. While teachers share control and initiative with children, they are guided by 58 key experiences that all children need to have as part of their intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development.

You will see children choosing materials on their own, deciding how they want to use the materials, or maybe just exploring ways to use them. You will also hear children talking about what they are doing or what they have just done.

Adult-Child Interaction

Adults observe and interact with children at their level to discover how each child things and reasons. Adults interact with children in ways that empower children to take control of their own learning.

You will see adults interacting at the children’s physical level: sitting on chairs, sitting or sometimes even lying down on the floor. You will see them observing and listening to children, talking with then about what they are doing and becoming a partner in the children’s play by following their interests and ideas, using the same materials the children are using and following directions given by the children.

Learning Environment

Classroom furniture and equipment are arranged in several clearly defined interest areas that enable children to find, use, and return the materials they need for exploring, inventing, and learning about their world.

You will see clearly defined areas with simple names that make sense to children, like “block area”, “house area”, “art area”, “book area”, “toy area”, and “computer area”. You will also see a variety of materials in each area, and these materials are labeled so the children can easily find them and return then when they are finished using them.

Daily Routine

Each day follows a similar schedule of events, providing a consistency for both children and adults. A daily plan-do-review process is at the core of the High/Scope routine and gives children the opportunity to pursue their own interests, make plans, follow through on them, and reflect on their experiences with peers and adults.

You will see a schedule of events that is consistent from day to day.


High/Scope teachers regularly record notes on children’s behaviors, experiences, and interests. They use these notes to assess each child’s development and to plan activities that will facilitate their growth and development. They also use these notes in parent meetings to help parents understand their children’s development.

You will see teachers taking brief notes throughout the morning on what they see children doing. During daily team planning they will share these observations and record them on the High/Scope Child Observation Record, an assessment tool that helps them to better understand each child’s development. The teachers use this information to plan around children’s interests and strengths for the next day’s activities.

Learning Activities

Planned and spontaneous activities.

Individual and/or small group oriented.

Children are encouraged to pursue their own interests and make choices.

Fully certified teaching staff in a classroom based environment.

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Playing Activities

Indoor and outdoor playgrounds for year round physical activity programs.

2000 square feet of indoor space for play activities and social development.

Classrooms explore the outdoors via our train, exposing them to nature and our environment.

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