At The YMCA, we follow the HighScope curriculum. The HighScope curriculum is hands-on and allows the teacher to set up a planned routine and children to play independently through different interest centers. This framework allows children to make choices and solve problems with the guidance of the teachers. It also allows the teachers to build lesson plans around the children’s interests. Please read more about the highlights of the HighScope curriculum below.
Teachers act as partners, working alongside children and communicating with them both verbally and nonverbally to encourage learning. Key strategies for adult-child interactions are sharing control with children, communicating as a partner with children, scaffolding children’s play, using encouragement instead of praise, and taking a problem-solving approach to supporting children in resolving conflicts.
To create a predictable and active learning environment, teachers arrange and equip the classroom with diverse, open-ended materials that reflect children’s home, culture, and language. The room is organized and labeled to promote independence and encourage children to carry out their intentions.
A consistent framework for the day provides a balanced variety of experiences and learning opportunities. Children engage in both individual and social play, participate in small- and large-group activities, assist with cleanup, socialize during meals, develop self-care skills, and exercise their small and large muscles. The most important segment of the daily routine is the plan-do-review sequence, in which children make decisions about what they will do, carry out their ideas, and reflect upon their activities with adults and other children. These higher-level thinking skills are linked to the development of executive functions, which are needed to be successful in school and life.
Ongoing child assessment is also an underlying component of the HighScope Curriculum. Objective anecdotal observations of children collected throughout children’s natural play allow teachers to assess child progress and plan meaningful learning experiences.