Since 1968


The Hopwood School’s 2 year old, 3 year old, Pre-K and Enrichment programs are based on the High/Scope Approach.

The High/Scope Approach
The High/Scope approach* to preschool education is a unique process that has been tested and researched since 1962. Like Froebel and Montessori, High/Scope emphasizes the “active learner”. It differs, however, by placing a greater emphasis on problem solving and more independent thinking. The approach incorporates five elements based on sound developmental practices for children and effective program management strategies for adults.

1. Active Learning – Children are involved in direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, ideas, and events. They carry out their intentions by actively engaging with materials and interacting with peers and adults. Teachers plan around 58 key developmental indicators (also known as key experiences) in child development that strengthen children’s emerging intellectual, physical, social, and emotional abilities.

2. Adult-Child Interaction – Teachers establish a safe and nurturing classroom environment where children can be happy and busy pursuing their interests. Adults observe and interact with children at their level to discover how each child thinks and reasons. They support children’s initiatives and developing abilities. Adults share control of all learning experiences with children. They encourage children to solve problems with materials, turn to one another for help, collaborate in creative activities, and learn how to resolve conflicts with one another through negotiation.

3. Daily Routine – Each day follows a similar schedule of events, providing consistency for both children and adults. A daily “plan-do-review process” is at the core of the High/Scope routine. This sequence gives children the opportunity to make plans based on their own interests, follow through on their intentions, and reflect on their experiences with peers and adults. Large- and small-group experiences are also part of the daily routine along with the social interaction of sharing a snack and the invigoration of being outdoors.

4. Assessment – High/Scope teachers regularly record notes on children’s behaviors, experiences, and interests. They use these notes to assess each child’s development using the High/Scope Child Observation Record for Ages 2– 6. Based on these careful and objective observations, adults can plan experiences that will facilitate children’s growth and development. 

5. Learning Environment – The Hopwood learning environment is defined as follows:

  • Indoor environment –Classroom furniture and equipment are arranged and labeled in several clearly defined interest areas. This organization allows children to independently find, use, and return the materials they need to carry out their chosen activities. The arrangement of the classroom and its materials helps children form concepts about how the world is organized. The labels and symbols form the foundation for children’s emerging reading, writing, and number skills. Children also spend time outside every day experiencing all the physical and sensory properties of the natural environment. Taken together, the indoor and outdoor environments provide children with the full range of learning settings and experiences.
  • Outdoor environment – Hopwood’s natural surroundings set it apart from most other programs and facilities. Our 8.5 acre campus provides a rich outdoor environment for children to play in and learn from nature. Hopwood is not located in a commercial complex or strip mall, it is notlocated near a busy intersection or high traffic road and it is not defined by concrete, asphalt, plastic and rubber. Hopwood does not use chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides on its campus. Trees, ponds, boulders, gardens, acres of open grass, resident animals and nature trails define Hopwood. The smell of rain, the sound of crunching leaves, the sight of soaring hawks or the feel of wriggling earthworms are key learning experiences for Hopwood children**.
  • Free and imaginative play*** is an essential element of a healthy childhood and is a key element of the Hopwood active learning experience. Hopwood lets “kids be kids” and as often as constructively possible, we let children play without interference. Hopwood allows kids to run, jump, roll, climb, resolve their own issues and build their own relationships. Sharing a sled in the winter, building “bug houses” with sticks or raking leaves with friends sounds simple enough, but this unstructured outdoor play promotes physical and emotional self-confidence, builds social skills, and fosters creativity.
  • * For a more about High Scope, please visit

** Child advocacy expert Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder”, reveals a new and growing body of research indicating that “direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults”.Click here to read more about Richard Louv.

*** In the NPR ED article “Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build A Better Brain”, Jon Hamilton cites the work of neuroscientists and orgnizations that support the coorelation between free play, brain development and the necessary social skills that ultimately lead to academic success. Click here to learn more from the NPR article.

In “The Serious Need for Play” (Scientific America), author Melinda Wenner addresses significant research that finds free and imaginative play crucial for normal social, emotional and cognitive development. “It makes us better adjusted, smarter and less stressed”. Click here to learn more from the Scientific America article.

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