David Weikart


David P. Weikart was an American psychologist and founder of the High/Scope Cognitively-Oriented Curriculum, an early childhood education program.

David Weikart was born to Hubert and Catherine Weikart on August 26, 1931, in Youngstown, Ohio. Weikart, who's parents were social workers and teachers, embraced his parents' deep commitment to helping others.

In 1949, David graduated from South High School in Youngstown. In 1953, Weikart graduated from the Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, with a major in psychology and a minor in zoology. While attending college, Weikart worked as a counsellor and a program director at a YMCA camp in Rochester, New York.

Later in 1953, Weikart joined the United States Marine Officer Training Corps and graduated as a lieutenant. After serving as a platoon commander in Korea and Japan, Weikart was honorably discharged in December 1955.

While teaching English and biology at Canfield High School in Canfield Ohio, Weikart began taking courses in education at Youngstown University in the spring of 1956. In the fall, Weikart enrolled in a University of Michigan joint PhD program in Education and Psychology sponsored by the School of Education and Department of Psychology. During his time at the University of Michigan, Weikart met his future wife, Phyllis Saxton. At that time, Phyllis was a master's candidate in the Department of Health and Physical Education. In 1957, David and Phyllis were married in Shelton, Connecticut. Between the years of 1959 and 1963, David and Phyllis had four daughters.

In the fall of 1957, Weikart began working part-time as a school psychologist for the Ypsilanti Public Schools in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The following year, Weikart began working full-time in the Ypsilanti schools. At about the same time, Weikart and his wife began working in leadership positions at several summer camps until they founded the High/Scope Camp in 1963.

After years of hard work, Weikart received his degree from the University of Michigan in 1966. Also in 1966, Weikart received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Oberlin College in recognition of his many achievements.

On December 9, 2003, at the age of 72, Weikart passed away during his battle with leukemia.

The High/Scope Model
of Early Childhood Education

Mission Statement

"The mission of High/Scope is to bring the High/Scope approach to adults working with children from brith to adolescence through the provision of high quality support and nationally and internationally accredited training. The High/Scope approach is a research validated, practice based, educational process and philosophy. Through the development of positive attitudes to learning and social responsibility the Approach enhances the life skills of all children, from birth through to adolescence, and their families. Significantly the High/Scope Approach empowers those living on the margins of society for whom it brings opportunities and means for achieving personal success."
- High/Scope Educational Research Foundation

- The High/Scope Model recognizes children as active learners, who learn best from activties that they themselves plan, carry out, and reflect.
- Weikart had the intention of promoting increased social responsibility, increased chance of higher economic status, improved educational performance and increased committment to long-term relationships.
- The Approach recognizes the uniqueness of each child and develops their self-confidence by building on what they can do.

- The High/Scope model's development began in 1962.
- In the late 1950s, Weikart was concerned that children were failing in school. They were repeating grades, placed in special classrooms, and eventually dropping out. Weikart was frustrated that school administrators had few alternatives and began seeking changes in the schools. Weikart targeted the preschool years in hopes to conquer traditional school patterns that produced their failure.
- The program is based on the child development theories of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, the progressive education philosophy of John Dewey, and the more recent work of cognitive-developmental psychology and brain research.
- It began with the Perry Preschool progam, which is a program for 3 and 4 year-olds.
- The name "High/Scope" was created in 1963. "High" was used to symbolize the aspirations for children. "Scope was used to signify the vast vision that was hoped would be reached. Initially, the name was used for Weikart's summer camp for adolescents.
(Text: Approaches to Early Childhood Education (Pg. 191 & 192))

Educational Principles
1. Active Learning

- The High/Scope Approach involves active learning by allowing the children to engage with people, materials, events and ideas in ways that are immediate and meaningful to them because children learn best by being active.
- The adult's role is to help the child think about these experiences logically, and to understand the progress the child is making and scaffold further learning based on the child's developmental level and interests.


2. Personal Initiative

- High/Scope supports the fact that children have a natural desire to learn. The Approach asks and encourages children to use their initiative to plan and to develop their strengths and interests. This process, The Plan-Do-Review process, gives children the opportunity to create and express their intentions, to generate their own learning experiences and to reflect on those experiences.

3. Consistency

- Through daily routine, the organization of the learning environment, and the interaction between adults and children, the children learn to become confident, independent learners.

- The daily routine includes:
a. Planning Time: Stating an Intention (10 minutes)
b. Work Time: Executing the Intention (45-60 minutes)
c. Cleanup Time (10 minutes)
d. Recall Time: Reflecting on Accomplishments (10 minutes)
e. Small Group Time (15-20 minutes)
f. Large Group Time (10-15 minutes)
g. Outside Time (30 minutes)
h. Snack/Meal Time (20 minutes)
i. Greeting Time: Smooth Transition From Home to School (15-20 minutes)

4. Genuine Relationships

- Not only do High/Scope instructors respect and value the personal and cultural identity of each child, they also bring compassion and trust to their relationships with the children because children can achieve more when they feel secure and happy.
- The instructors believe in building strong partnerships with parents in order to work together to create a comfortable and appropriate learning environment for the children.

5. Appropriate Curriculum

- The HIgh/Scope Approach has created a curriculum based on the observations of young children learning. The Approach realizes that children need a curriculum that is appropriate to their intellectual, emotional, and physical development.
- Key Developmental indicators are used to help the instructors to understand the development of the children in order to plan appropriate activities and learning experiences.

To check out the High/Scope Model in action:


Key Developmental Indicators
- These idicators help the teacher to understand, support, and extend the child's self-designed activity so that developmentally appropriate experiences and growth are constantly available to the child.
- They provide a way of thinking about the curriculum that frees the teacher from total reliance on workbooks and scope-and-sequence charts.
- They form the basis of the framework an adults uses the plan for and observe each child.

Key Developmental Indicators (Preschool)

- Approaches to learning
- Language, Literacy, and Communication
- Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development, Health, and Well-being
- Mathematics
- Science and Technology
- Social Studies
- Arts

Language, Literacy and Communication

- Talk with others about personally meaningful experiences
- Descrive objects, events and relations
- Have fun with language
- Write in various way
- Read in various ways
- Dictate stories

Social and Emotional Development

- Take care of one's own needs
- Express feelings and words
- Build relationships with children and adults
- Create an experience collaborative play
- Deal with social conflict
(Text: Approaches to Early Childhood Education (Pg. 197))

Influence on Today's Education
- The High/Scope Approach continues to be successful around the globe today. The Approach is currently being successfully implemented in over 20 countries around the world.
- The materials from the HIgh/Scope Approach have been translated into many languages: Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Dutch, Finnish, and Norwegian. Therefore, The High/Scope Approach is relevant within numerous cultures and economic backgrounds.
- The High/Scope Educational Research Foundation continues to develop and apply the model today. The Foundation incorporates new research findings regarding many different subject areas, social, health, and physical development, and computer usage. They work to apply the High/Scope model to both new circumstances and new populations of children around the world.
- Although the Approach has structure, children are able to contribute to their development and their level of skill.
- The Approach has been able to intergrate children of all learning levels into one classroom, working at a level that best suits each unique child.
- The Approach promotes high quality early childhood education.
(Text: Approaches to Early Childhood Education (Pg. 191)) http://www.high-scope.org.uk/about_highscope/17.asp

To learn more about The High/Scope Approach, click this link:
Stephanie Jones
Brooklyn Krause
Jillian Lundquist