Why Gretchen's House is proud to use the
High/Scope Active Learning Curriculum . . .


An Ideal Choice for Pre-K Programs

As a comprehensive, research-based system — one that includes child instruction, staff development, and accountability assessment — High/Scope meets the needs of states and school districts seeking a proven Pre-Kindergarten model and is currently used by the Department of Education in the state of Michigan as guidelines for quality early childhood curriculum.


What is High/Scope?

Beginning in the early 1970s and continuing to the present day, High/Scope has used rigorous, long-term research to document the powerful, positive effects of childhood learning on later life and to identify best practices in educational settings. The High/Scope Curriculum emphasizes adult-child interaction, a carefully designed learning environment, and a plan-do-review process that strengthens initiative and self-reliance in children and young people. Teachers and students are active partners in shaping the educational experience that enhances each young person's growth in the foundations of academics as well as in social-emotional, physical, and creative areas.


What research tells us how valuable High/Scope is to young children's learning:

The IEA Preprimary Project Study was conducted in 15 countries, in order to identify teaching practices that influence children's language skills and ability to reason at age 7. Results of the study, which appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of the Early Childhood Research Quarterly, identified four teaching practices that were consistently related to positive child outcomes across all 10 countries that had data at age 7. Controlling for family and cultural influences, researchers found the following:

  1. Children's language abilities are enhanced when early childhood teachers allow them to choose many of their activities on their own.
  2. Children fare significantly better in language skills development with teachers who have achieved a higher level of education.
  3. Children's thinking skills improve when they spend less time participating in activities as a whole group.
  4. The more equipment and materials available in preschool settings, the better the outcome in terms of children's cognitive performance.

The Perry Preschool Study: A Long-Term Study of Adults Who Received High-Quality Early Childhood Care and Education Shows Economic and Social Gains, Less Crime. Among the study's major findings in the economic area are:

  • More of the group who received high-quality early education than the non-program group were employed at age 40 (76% vs. 62%);
  • The group who received high-quality early education had median annual earnings more than $5,000 higher than the non-program group ($20,800 vs. $15,300);
  • More of the group who received high-quality early education owned their own homes; and
  • More of the group who received high-quality early education had a savings account than the non-program group (76% vs. 50%).

In the High/Scope Perry Preschool program, children participated in their own education, by planning, carrying out, and reviewing their own activities as part of their learning experience.


The H/S Preschool Curriculum Demonstration Project compared the outcomes of three curriculum approaches: The H/S and Nursery School Approaches emphasized child-initiated activities, while the Direct Instruction approach focused on academics. Children in H/S programs significantly outperformed children in comparison programs in the following areas: initiative, social relations, motor development, and overall development. They also tended to outscore children in comparison programs in cognitive development.


If you would like more information about the High/Scope Curriculum and Active Learning please talk with the teachers and or Director at your center. Much of the information on this flyer was taken from the High/Scope website: www.HighScope.org. Below are some frequently asked questions that families have about the curriculum and how their children will be prepared for the transition from preschool to kindergarten. At Gretchen's House we understand the concern that families feel and hope that the information provided on this handout shows just how much we care about ensuring that each child leaves Gretchen's House ready for success in elementary school.


Why are the children just playing? Where are the academics?

Research shows that children learn best when they are allowed to make many of their own choices, and when they spend less time in large groups. This looks like play to us as adults, but it is the work of childhood. Children at Gretchen's House are given access to explore a rich environment which supports learning in language, literacy, social, physical, arts, sciences and mathematics. It's good to remember that what constitutes a good learning environment for older children does not necessarily translate into a good learning environment for young children. Young children are still in the midst of massive brain development. Things like swinging, rocking and spinning, (called vestibular stimulation) are critical to growing a healthy brain. So the next time your child is reluctant to leave the playground, you can tell yourself that while you'd like to get home, your child is getting a little smarter with every swing!

How will my child learn to sit and listen?

Sitting and listening isn't something that children learn as much as it is something that their bodies gradually grow into. At Gretchen's House we provide opportunities for children to try these skills out at our large and small group times, but we understand that time, growth and development are the real determining factors. It's also clear from research that the less time a young child spends sitting and listening, the better his/her scores are on cognitive tests at age seven.

Will my child be ready for Kindergarten?

There is a lot of pressure on parents these days to be certain that their child is ready for kindergarten. At Gretchen's House we provide a quality, research-based curriculum that prepares children to be ready learners. The Michigan State Board of Education has published quality standards that are consistent with the High/Scope Key Developmental Indicators (KDIs). The State uses these same standards to judge the quality of its own early childhood programs, such as Head Start and The Great Start Readiness Program.

I know you guys are doing the right thing, but since the schools are "pushing down the curriculum," shouldn't you adjust to prepare the kids?

Sadly, the current practices in some schools, primarily because of No Child Left Behind, are often not developmentally appropriate for young children. We do our best to prepare children for school by giving them the best possible learning environment that we can, while we have them. It's a stretch, but if you knew you were going to be starving in a year, would you stop eating now? No, you would eat as much healthy food as you could to prepare for the lean times ahead. At Gretchen's House we are feeding your children's minds and bodies with as much research-based healthy, active learning as we can, so that they are as capable as possible for their transition to kindergarten.

What about conflict resolution?

Resolving conflicts is one of life's most important skills. At Gretchen's House we use a six-step process to solve problems and resolve conflicts. Children are active participants in resolving issues with their peers. They learn to brainstorm for solutions, to communicate their own needs and to listen to the needs of others as a part of the conflict resolution process. These are all skills that will help them grow and develop as communicators as well as caring people.

How will I know my child is on track?

Gretchen's House assesses children's development with comprehensive tools rather than narrow tests, using the High/Scope Child Observation Record (COR). Observing a broad range of behaviors over several weeks or months gives us a more accurate picture of your child's true capabilities, than tests administered in one time sessions. Two times a year the teachers review their observation notes and score each child at the highest levels he or she has demonstrated on 30 items in six areas of development: initiative, social relations, creative representation, movement and music, language and literacy and logic and mathematics. Children's COR scores help teachers design learning opportunities tailored to the children's level of development. The COR is also a great tool to help you understand the progress that your child has made during the year.