Dalton Plan

The Dalton Plan is an educational concept created by Helen Parkhurst. Inspired by the intellectual ferment at the turn of the twentieth century, and educational thinkers such as Maria Montessori and John Dewey , Parkhurst created the Dalton Plan, aiming to achieve a balance between each child's talents and the needs of the community.

Specifically, she had these objectives: to tailor each student's program to his or her needs, interests and abilities; to promote both independence and dependability; to enhance the student's social skills and sense of responsibility toward others. Parkhurst developed a three-part plan that continues to be the structural foundation of a Dalton education—the House system, the Assignment, and the Laboratory.

    The House is a social community of students.
    The Assignment is a monthly larger goal which students contract to complete.
    The Laboratory refers to the subject teachers and subject-based classrooms intended to be the center of the educational experience from fourth grade through the end of secondary education. Students move between subject "laboratories" (classrooms) exploring themes at their own pace.

The Dalton Plan takes its name from an early trial of the system at the High School of Dalton, Massachusetts in 1920.

Today, The Dalton School educates students in accordance with some of the precepts of the Dalton Plan developed by Helen Parkhurst.

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