HighScope's Educational Approach emphasizes "Active Participatory Learning." Active learning means children have direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas. Children's interests and choices are at the heart of HighScope programs. They construct their own knowledge through interactions with the world and the people around them. Children take the first step in the learning process by making choices and following through on their plans and decisions. Learning and development are anchored by long-term, trusting relationships with caregivers, who are close at hand to support the children as they play.
The HighScope routine helps the children answer questions by providing them with a consistent schedule of events they can depend on and understand. A consistent daily routine allows time for children to pursue their interests, make choices and decisions, and solve "child-sized" problems in the context of ongoing events. A variety of active learning periods provides children with a range of experiences and interactions. These active learning experiences include:
- Greeting Time: This is time for the entire group to share important information and announcements.
- Large Group: Children and adults come together for singing, movement and music activities, story-telling and re-enactments of stories and events. Participating in large group gives children and adults a chance to work together, enjoy one another, and build a collection of common experiences as it is building a sense of community.
- Plan, Work, & Recall: This three-part time block is generally the longest and most intense block of the day. It is designed to build on and strengthen children's interest capacity for initiative and problem-solving skills.
- Plan - Each child begins by deciding what to do and sharing these ideas with their teacher. Planning by children encourages them to connect their interest with purposeful actions.
- Work - Children begin what they have chosen to do with the appropriate materials and continue until they have completed their plans or changed them.
- Recall - Children meet with the teacher to share and discuss what they have done. Recalling helps children reflect on, understand, and build on their actions.
- Small Group Time: This time is reserved for children to experiment with materials and problems in an activity adults have chosen for a particular purpose. In this small group setting, children use materials and encounter problems that they may not experience on their own while the teacher has the opportunity to observe, join, support and challenge children and learn new things daily about each child.
- Outside Time: This time is designed for vigorous physical play. Outside time enables the children to play together, invent their own games and rules, and become familiar with their natural surroundings.
- Transition Times: Transition times are when children move from one time period or experience to the next. Transitions occur as children move from home to the early childhood setting and as they move through segments of the routine in the classroom.