The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project is a famous research study started in 1962 by David Weikart in Michigan, USA. The project provided high-quality pre-school education to three- and four-year-old African-American children living in poverty and assessed to be at high risk of school failure.

The 123 children involved were divided randomly into two groups. Fifty-eight children received the High/Scope pre-school programme from 1962 to 1967 and 65 similar children were assigned to a control group. The pre-school activity was provided each weekday morning in 2.5-hour sessions. The average child-teacher ratio was 6:1.

The curriculum emphasised active learning, in which the children engaged in activities that a) involved decision making and problem solving, and b) were planned, carried out and reviewed by the children themselves, with support from adults. The teachers also provided a weekly 1.5-hour home visit to each mother and child, designed to involve the mother in the educational process and help implement the pre-school curriculum at home.

The project has monitored the achievement, motivation and social behaviour of the children from the ages of three to 41, with 97% of the study sample remaining.

Figures from High/Scope Educational Research foundation 2009


  1. What were the types of activities provided by the project? Why do you think they were chosen?
  2. How does this research add to our understanding of positivist views of crime prevention?
  3. What implications does it have for ‘dealing with the causes of crime’?