• Independence Center for Early Learners serves at-risk and special needs students aged 3 to 5 years in school district U-46. Go to U-46 Early Learners Program for more information about our curriculum, screening and enrollment procedures and our community partners. 

    U-46 early childhood programs offer a continuum of educational services to meet the individual needs of children, following the special education mandate of least restrictive environment. Early learning, developmentally appropriate experiences support children's social, academic and physical development helping to prepare them for a successful kindergarten experience. 
    The High Scope Curriculum is used to guide instruction in the U-46 programs.

    What is the HighScope Curriculum?
    HighScope's educational approach emphasizes “active participatory learning.” Active learning means students have direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas. Children’s interests and choices are at the heart of HighScope programs. They construct their own knowledge through interactions with the world and the people around them. Children take the first step in the learning process by making choices and following through on their plans and decisions. Teachers, caregivers, and parents offer physical, emotional, and intellectual support. In active learning settings, adults expand children’s thinking with diverse materials and nurturing interactions. Through scaffolding (supporting and gently extending children's current level of thinking and understanding), adults help children gain knowledge and develop creative problem-solving skills.

    What are HighScope’s goals for young children?
    HighScope is a comprehensive educational approach that strives to help children develop in all areas. Our goals for young children are:

    • To learn through active involvement with people, materials, events, and ideas
    • To become independent, responsible, and confident — ready for school and ready for life
    • To learn to plan many of their own activities, carry them out, and talk with others about what they have done and what they have learned
    • To gain knowledge and skills in important academic, social, and physical areas

    HighScope provides children with carefully planned experiences in reading, mathematics, and science. Social development is another important learning area in HighScope programs. Studies continually demonstrate that children in HighScope classrooms show high levels of initiative. Teachers further support social development by helping children learn how to resolve interpersonal conflicts. The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development stresses that all these areas of academic and socio-emotional growth are essential for school readiness.

    For more information about HighScope, click here

    Click here for information about the Illinois learning standards for preschool.