High/Scope Educational Research Foundation Records, 1963-2000
Using These Materials
- The record group is open for research.
- High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.
- Independent, non-profit organization founded by Dr. David P. Weikart, whose purpose is to promote the learning and development of young people from infancy through adolescence, with emphasis on early childhood education. Project files consisting of proposals relating to preschool education; Follow Through project materials and issues of their summer camp's newsletter; administrative files consisting of annual reports, board of directors meeting minutes, financial reports, and directors correspondence.
- 22.5 linear feet
- Call Number:
- 90179; Bi 2
- Finding aid prepared by: Beth Lindblom and Joel Blanco
- Scope and Content:
The High/Scope Educational Foundation records have been divided into three series, Project Files, Administrative Files and President Records. A folder of historical materials has been placed at the beginning of the record group. In general, the records consist of grant proposals, correspondence, reports, and publications created by the Foundation and its founder, Dr. David P. Weikart.
- Biographical / Historical:
The High/Scope Educational Research Foundation of Ypsilanti, Michigan is an independent, non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the learning and development of young people from infancy through adolescence, with a special emphasis on early childhood education. High/Scope engages in research, curriculum development, publishing, and policy work, and also provides technical assistance and professional training to those directly involved in childhood education.
Although High/Scope was not formally established until 1970, many of its long-term projects were initiated during the early 1960s. High/Scope's founder and president, Dr. David P. Weikart, directed several well-known early childhood education projects through the Ypsilanti Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University during that time. The difficulty of coordinating large-scale projects through two separate institutions and the realization that this work was becoming increasingly national and international in scope led to the establishment of High/Scope as an independent organization in 1970.
Weikart's early work at Ypsilanti coincided with a period of change in educational research and of renewed governmental emphasis on combating poverty and welfare dependency. During the early 1960s, educational researchers began to challenge the idea of predetermined and fixed cognitive development in children. They emphasized the impact of the environment, and stressed that cognitive development occurred most rapidly during the preschool years. At the same time, the "war on poverty" initiated by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations placed a high priority on the prevention of adult poverty through assistance to disadvantaged children. This combination of events set the stage for federal funding for early childhood education programs for the disadvantaged, such as the National Head Start Program (begun in 1965).
Weikart's Ypsilanti Perry Preschool Project (1962-1967) was one of the pioneering independent programs for disadvantaged children, and reflected the new directions in educational research. The Preschool was begun in response to studies which found that some children were entering school with cognitive deficiencies which limited their ability to benefit from the existing school system. Although the Perry Preschool was not a Head Start program, it did receive federal funding in its later years, and its structure was very similar to the Head Start programs. For this reason, the various long-term studies conducted by High/Scope of the Perry Preschool Project have played an important role in the ongoing discussion of the effectiveness of Head Start programs.
During the Perry Preschool Project the Ypsilanti staff developed a cognitively oriented curriculum, based on the theories of Jean Piaget, which has been developed and refined over the years by High/Scope and is the basis for High/Scope's current training efforts. This curriculum encourages active learning, in which children are encouraged to initiate their own activities, and the teacher acts as facilitator and catalyst. The teacher encourages the development of specific thinking and reasoning skills, which are linked to the various stages in child development.
Short-term evaluation of the Perry Preschool Project led to further research by the Ypsilanti staff in three specific areas. Further preschool research was undertaken, in the form of the Preschool Curriculum Demonstration Project (1967), which compared a cognitive, a language, and a traditional curriculum to see which would be more effective. Also, the Ypsilanti staff began participation in the National Planned Variation Head Start Program in 1969. The cognitive curriculum was one of twelve to be tested in this program, and was operated in four remote sites.
Since some preschoolers had not responded as well as expected to the Perry Preschool Project, the second direction of research was toward intervention at the infant level. The Ypsilanti Home Teaching Project (1966) tested the feasibility of home teaching, and its favorable results led to the Ypsilanti Carnegie Infant Project, which began in 1967. This program was continued in 1971 by the Infant Video-Taping Project, which recorded home teaching sessions in order to make instructional tapes. The third phase of the project concentrated on training mothers as home teachers, so that they could in turn train others. Encouraging parent involvement and training teachers has continued to be a primary goal of High/Scope's staff through the 1970s and 1980s.
The third direction of research resulted from indications that preschool gains tended to be lost in later grades. In 1968, High/Scope became involved in the National Follow Through Program, covering kindergarten through third grade. The High/Scope curriculum was administered at three remote sites during the first year (Harlem, New York City; Okaloosa County, Florida; and Leflore County, Mississippi), and seven new sites were added the following year (Chicago; The Central Ozarks, Missouri; Riverton, Wyoming; Trinidad, Greeley, and Denver, Colorado; and Seattle, Washington). High/Scope's involvement in the Follow Through program continues to the present day. Over the years High/Scope has also expanded its activities to include adolescents, beginning operation of a yearly summer camp in Michigan for teenagers in 1963.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s one of High/Scope's highest priorities has been research. High/Scope has conducted studies not only of its own projects, but also for various federal agencies, the State of Michigan, and a number of public school districts. Since 1984, a major research effort has been the IEA Preprimary Study (sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement). High/Scope serves as headquarters and coordinating center for the study, which explores the types of childcare provided in 17 different countries and will then integrate the 17 national studies. High/Scope's participation in international childhood education in fact dates from the early 1970s, when it began to provide consulting services, training, and workshops to several Latin American countries.
High/Scope has also continued to develop its Cognitive Curriculum, to train teachers in this curriculum, and to inform the public about programs for children and their families. High/Scope holds workshops at its Training and Development Center in Ypsilanti and elsewhere, participates in a graduate program in education and human development, and conducts Training of Teacher-Trainers Programs throughout the country, which provide training in the High/Scope curriculum to educators who will then become trainers themselves. High/ Scope's Policy Center provides outreach to educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public, and the High/Scope Press publishes books, records, audiovisual programs and curriculum materials.
- Acquisition Information:
- The record group was donated in June 1990 by High/Scope (Donor No. 7814 ). Additional records were received in 2002.
Using These Materials
The record group is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright has been retained by High/Scope. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
item, folder title, box no., High/Scope Educational Research Foundation Records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan