Demonstrating that Bloomingdale’s reach extends far beyond upper Manhattan, Executive Director José F. Velilla highlighted our program at the International HighScope Conference held in April in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Speaking on Conflict Resolution, José shared Bloomingdale’s experience as practitioners of the HighScope curriculum, a child-centered approach to learning that gives teachers vital resources and assessment tools to guide their practice.
Bloomingdale was introduced to the HighScope Curriculum in the late 1980s by our current Program Director of Education, Marilyn Barnwell.
There was an immediate “fit” between HighScope and Bloomingdale’s guiding philosophy, which puts the individual child at the heart of the program.
We invited trainers from HighScope to work with our faculty and help us implement it in our program. Over the years, Bloomingdale has developed a highly skilled faculty of HighScope practitioners who work together to set appropriate and challenging curricular goals for their classrooms and for each child in the class. Bloomingdale has become a model of HighScope practice in the Northeast, welcoming educators and planners from this country and abroad who come to observe in our classrooms and meet with our educational staff.
Our Executive Director has been a HighScope spokesman and trainer since 1988, when a HighScope consultant, Betsy Evans, came to Bloomingdale to make a training video
dealing with conflict resolution. She chose to focus on the classroom where José Velilla was then a gifted young teacher. The video was groundbreaking, not least of all because it took place in a “real” urban classroom and featured a male teacher skillfully helping young children through the six steps of conflict resolution in two languages, Spanish and English.
Shortly after the video and a companion book on Conflict Resolution were released, José Velilla became a HighScope Field Consultant, training hundreds of teachers throughout the country. “As the 30th anniversary of that video approaches I am pleased to know that it has impacted so many teachers and children here and abroad,” he said. Betsy Evans returned to Bloomingdale for the second edition of that video as well as the second edition of the book with current Bloomingdale staff members featured in both.
Education Director Marilyn Barnwell underscored the value of the HighScope framework, in which teachers facilitate play-based learning experiences for each of their children:
“I believe this framework enriches the professional practice of our classroom teachers as they explore and facilitate the children’s interests and developmental needs. HighScope also fosters teaching-team collaboration as teachers plan together daily for the active learning that takes place in their classrooms. Eleven of our teachers have completed all of the HighScope requirements and are certified HighScope teachers. Their knowledge of HighScope and its value helps them articulate to parents and visitors how our curriculum meets all of the learning domains of the early childhood classroom.”
Today we continue to utilize HighScope at Bloomingdale and are actively engaged in sharing our curriculum and our program with the next generation of teachers.