Frequenty Asked


Our FAQs are crafted to give educators, parents, and administrators a clear insight into the HighScope philosophy, helping you understand how we nurture young minds for optimal growth and development.

On This Page (Jump To):

The HighScope Curriculum and Approach


Obtaining HighScope Products and Materials


HighScope Conference

The HighScope Curriculum and Approach

How did HighScope get its name?
HighScope’s founder, the late David Weikart, relates that the name was chosen “at the end of a long evening of heady and serious discussion about [the program’s] purpose and goals.” They chose “high” to signify their aspiration level and “scope” to describe the breadth of vision they hoped to achieve.
How does the HighScope approach differ from other early childhood programs?

The HighScope educational approach is consistent with the best practices recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Head Start Program Performance Standards, and other guidelines for developmentally based programs.

Within this broad framework, however, HighScope has unique features that differentiate it from other early childhood programs. One is the daily plan-do-review sequence. Research shows that planning and reviewing are the two components of the program day most positively and significantly associated with children’s scores on measures of developmental progress.

A second unique feature is our curriculum content, the social, intellectual, and physical building blocks that are essential to young children’s optimal growth. Our content areas are organized in eight main categories that correspond to state and national learning standards; the categories are (1) Approaches to Learning; (2) Social and Emotional Development; (3) Physical Development and Health; (4) Language, Literacy, and Communication; (5) Mathematics; (6) Creative Arts; (7) Science and Technology; and (8) Social Studies.

What does a HighScope program setting look like?

The space and materials in a HighScope setting are carefully chosen and arranged to promote active learning. Although we do not endorse specific types or brands of toys and equipment, HighScope does provide general guidelines for selecting materials that are meaningful and interesting to children. The learning environment in HighScope programs has the following characteristics:


  • Is welcoming to children
  • Provides enough materials for all the children
  • Allows children to find, use, and return materials independently
  • Encourages different types of play and learning
  • Allows the children to see and easily move through all the areas of the classroom or center
  • Is flexible so children can extend their play by bringing materials from one area to another
  • Provides materials that reflect the diversity of children’s family lives
How do I know if HighScope aligns to my program standards?

HighScope’s Key Developmental Indicators and assessment tools can be aligned with the teaching standards and child outcomes required by states, school districts, and federally funded programs. The HighScope Curriculum and Approach can also be aligned with the early childhood standards of virtually every local school district or state department of education. To find out if HighScope aligns with early childhood standards in your state, visit

Obtaining HighScope Products and Materials

Does HighScope offer professional learning?
HighScope has conducted training in all 50 US states and in more than 20 foreign countries. We hold an annual international conference in Michigan as well as several regional conferences throughout the year.

Professional learning courses are held at individual program locations, online, and at our headquarters in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where we operate a Demonstration Preschool visited by hundreds of educators each year. To accommodate different training needs and schedules, HighScope offers a variety of face-to-face and online courses ranging from one day to multiple weeks. Training combines theory with practical application. HighScope curriculum courses cover all aspects of understanding and implementing the educational approach with children. Adult training courses enable those in supervisory positions to train and support staff at their own agencies as they use the HighScope model.

Permissions and Reprints
All of HighScope’s books, DVDs, and other materials, including the contents of this website, are protected by copyright and trademark laws. You must obtain permission to reproduce materials published by HighScope. The following list provides you with information about how to obtain permission to reproduce HighScope materials:

Research Projects
For permission to reproduce or modify HighScope materials in research projects, please contact the Research department at

Library Reserves
For library reserves or interlibrary loans, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

If you want to reuse materials from HighScope-copyrighted articles, books, training manuals, brochures, DVDs, and other materials by republishing that material in another form (including electronic forms), send a written request to the Publications department at A fee may be assessed for republication.

Training Materials
If you are a trainer or other educational staff member of a Head Start, public school district, child care center, or other nonprofit organization and would like to make copies in limited numbers that will be distributed free of charge for in-house workshops, please contact the Publications department at

HighScope Assessment

How does HighScope evaluate program quality?
A proven model can only benefit children if it is implemented with high levels of fidelity, which is why we accredit programs and certify teachers and trainers with the Program Quality Assessment (PQA). Trained evaluators observe in the classroom and interview program staff to record objective notes and complete ratings on 63 dimensions in seven areas: learning environment, daily routine, adult-child interaction, curriculum planning and assessment, parent involvement and family services, staff qualifications and staff development, and program management. The PQA is also an excellent tool for staff development, because detailed examples of “ideal” implementation are built into the scoring system.
How does HighScope assess child development?
HighScope assesses child development using COR Advantage, HighScope’s research-validated child assessment tool. By observing a broad range of behaviors over several weeks or months, COR Advantage provides a more accurate picture of children’s true capabilities than tests administered in one-time sessions. Using the COR Advantage content areas as a framework, teachers record daily anecdotes describing what children do and say. Two or three times a year, teachers review these anecdotes and rate each child at the highest level he or she has demonstrated so far on 34 items in eight areas of development. Children’s COR Advantage scores help teachers design learning opportunities tailored to their level of development. Instead of only giving parents abstract scores, teachers share anecdotes illustrating what their children are doing now and how they will continue to grow.
Do you have a question that we haven’t answered? Reach Out.