Please take our brief survey

Blueprints Programs = Positive Youth Development

Return to Search Results

Promising Program Seal

HighScope Preschool

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A preschool program that builds cognitive skills and attitudes for school success by increasing opportunities for active learning. In the long term, it aims to prevent adolescent delinquency and school dropout among "high risk" children and improve their lives as adults.

Program Outcomes

  • Academic Performance
  • Adult Crime
  • Delinquency and Criminal Behavior
  • Dropout/High School Graduation
  • Cognitive Development
  • Employment
  • Post Secondary Education
  • Preschool Communication/Language Development
  • School Readiness

Program Type

  • Academic Services
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Home Visitation
  • Parent Training
  • Social Emotional Learning

Program Setting

  • Home
  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)


  • Early Childhood (3-4) - Preschool


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising
  • Crime Solutions: Effective
  • OJJDP Model Programs: Effective
  • SAMHSA: 3.1-3.8

Program Information Contact

HighScope Educational Research Foundation
600 North River Street
Ypsilanti, MI 48198-2898
Phone: 800.587.5639
Fax: 734.485.0704

Program Developer/Owner

  • David Weikart
  • Deceased

Brief Description of the Program

The HighScope curriculum is an educational approach originally based largely on Piaget's interactional theory of child development. This curriculum aims to promote active learning by providing many opportunities for children to initiate their own activities and take responsibility for completing them. Most of the children attend the program for two years at ages 3 and 4. The classroom program meets for half-days (2.5 hours per day), five days a week for 7 months of the year, with 90-minute weekly home visits by preschool teachers. The staff to child ratio is one adult for every five or six children. In addition, program staff facilitate monthly small group meetings of parents.

See: Full Description


Compared to children in the control group, children attending the treatment preschool:

  • scored significantly and substantially higher than control-group children on standardized aptitude tests administered in the preschool years.
  • demonstrated significantly higher vocabulary skills through the two preschool years and two years beyond preschool.
  • evidenced somewhat higher scores on aptitude and achievement measures and teacher ratings of academic potential from kindergarten to fourth grade.
  • were less likely to be placed in special education programs (through age 14) or retained in grade (through grade 4).
  • showed a significant decrease in self-reported delinquent behavior at age 14 and officially reported crime and delinquency at age 19.
  • had significantly higher grade point averages and were more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in further training or education, and be employed at age 19.
  • had significantly better educational outcomes, averaged significantly fewer lifetime criminal arrests, and had higher mean monthly earnings at age 27.
  • showed few statistically significant differences at age 40.

A reanalysis of the data from ages 19 to 40 found that the intervention:

  • mostly helped education and early employment of women (ages 19 and 27) and later-life income, employment, and criminal activity of men (ages 27 and 40).

Replication studies added findings to the main evaluation. Compared to control children, treatment children:

  • had more initiative and better social relations but not higher scores on cognitive indicators.
  • showed non-significant effects on official records of delinquent behavior at age 15 but significant effects on felony arrests at age 23.

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

Although the program applies in principle to all races and ethnicities, the long-term evaluation studied a sample of African American children. Results showed many significant differences in program effects between males and females.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Family: Low socioeconomic status
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Skills for social interaction*
  • Family: Parental involvement in education

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: HighScope Preschool Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

The HighScope Preschool Curriculum Course:

The HighScope course work for pre-kindergarten teachers consists of twenty days of service (includes a library of materials) on-site or at HighScope Foundation. HighScope will enroll up to 30 attendees ($1,930/person) and provide comprehensive course work (20 days). Dates of service are scheduled when it is most convenient for teachers and their students.

Customized Follow-up HighScope Training:

HighScope Foundation is being asked more often to customize services based on an agency’s staff’s knowledge and experience of HighScope’s educational model. Course work can be shorter or longer and can include teacher workshops and classroom observation, feedback, and mentoring. Fees for daily service are $2,300/day.


HighScope offers distance learning in the form of a series of one-hour webinars where teachers and administrators formulate the agenda and invite HighScope staff to provide additional information and participate in question/answer sessions ($200/hour).

HighScope Certification:

After staff have received content from HighScope and have several months to implement the model, HighScope staff will conduct a site visit where each staff member shares his/her knowledge and displays skills using the HighScope model. Teachers are rated on their performance with a field-tested evaluation called the HighScope Program Quality Assessment (PQA). More about the PQA and Teacher Certification is found here:

Training Certification Process

Upon completion of the Preschool Curriculum Course, participants may opt for advanced service in the form of the HighScope Training of Trainers Project- a fifteen day, in-depth experience for program leaders who are responsible for staff training and quality control of educational practices. These leaders will learn how to “turn-key” their HighScope knowledge so they can support and instruct new staff to implement the model. Therefore, there is no dependency on HighScope by the part of the team in Massachusetts to provide all of the support to staff.

The Training of Trainers Program consists of three weeks of service (15 days) at HighScope over the course of two summers. Tuition is $4,000/participant and includes a library of materials, and also a site visit where a HighScope staff member will provide observation and feedback to a teacher who is being mentored by the Trainer Candidate.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

One hundred twenty-three African-American, academically high-risk, preschool-age children (ages 3 and 4 years old) who were living in poverty were randomly assigned to the Perry Preschool Program or a control group. Children in the treatment group attended preschool for half-days, five days a week from mid-October through May for two years. Data on academic and social outcomes were collected on both groups annually from ages 3 through 11, at ages 14-15, at age 19, at age 27, and at age 40. An independent team reanalyzed the data from ages 19 to 40 to adjust for deviations from randomization, the small sample size, and multiple significance tests of non-independent outcomes.

There have been two replications of this program. One quasi-experimental design examined outcomes at posttest for a sample of 200 children from 26 HighScope programs in the state of Michigan. The other study randomly assigned 68 children ages 3 and 4 years old to conditions that included a HighScope curriculum group and measured intellectual and school performance and social behavior from ages 3 to 15 and at age 23.


Berruta-Clement, J. R., Schweinhart, L. J., Barnett, W. S., Epstein, A. S., & Weikart, D. P. (1984). Changed lives: The effect of the Perry Preschool orogram on youths through age 19. Ypsilanti, MI: The HighScope Press.

Epstein, A. S. (1993). Training for quality: Improving early childhood programs through systematic inservice training. Ypsilanti, MI: The HighScope Press.

Heckman, J., Moon, S.H., Pinto, R., Savelyev, P., & Yavitz, A. (2010). Analyzing social experiments as implemented: A reexamination of the evidence from the HighScope Perry Preschool orogram. Quantitative Economics, 1(1), 1-46.

Schweinhart, L. J., Barnes, H. V. & Weikart, D. P. (1980). Significant benefits : The HighScope Perry Preschool study through age 27. Ypsilanti: The HighScope Press.

Schweinhart, L.J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnet, W.S., Belfield, C.R., & Nores, M. (2005). Lifetime effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool study through age 40., Ypsilanti, MI: The HighScope Press.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1980). Young children grow up: The effects of the Perry Preschool program on youths through age 15. Ypsilanti: The HighScope Press.

Schweinhart, L.J., & Weikart, D.P. (1997). The HighScope preschool curriculum comparison study through age 23. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12, 117-143.

Schweinhart, L. J., Weikart, D. P. & Larner, M. B. (1986). Consequences of three preschool curriculum models through age 15. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 1, 15-45.