Dalton Plan

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The Dalton Plan is an educational concept created by Helen Parkhurst. It is inspired by the intellectual ferment at the turn of the 20th century.[not verified in body] Educational thinkers such as Maria Montessori and John Dewey influenced Parkhurst while she created the Dalton Plan. Their aim was to achieve a balance between a child's talent and the needs of the community.[not verified in body]

Founding by Helen Parkhurst[edit]

The American teacher Helen Parkhurst developed what has come to be called the Dalton Plan as a reform to existing philosophies of teaching and classroom management.[citation needed]

Spread of school philosophy world-wide[edit]

In the 1920s and 1930s, Dalton education was spread throughout the world. There is no certainty regarding the exact numbers of Dalton schools, but there was Dalton education in America, Australia, England, Germany, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, India, China and Japan. Particularly in the Netherlands, China and Japan, Dalton education has remained in existence. In recent years there has been a revival of international interest. It crops up again, for instance, in England, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Netherlands is the country with the highest density of Dalton schools. In 2013 there were five hundred; most of them elementary schools.[citation needed] Comprising five percent of all elementary schools, Dalton education is by far the largest educational reform movement in the Netherlands.[citation needed] And, contrary to Montessori, Jena Plan and Waldorf education, it is steadily on the increase. The only Dalton school in the USA, is the school that Helen Parkhurst founded herself in 1919, and which she was subsequently to direct for more than twenty years: the Dalton School in New York. It is a renowned school. But today its fame is not due to its origins as an experiment in progressive education: the Dalton School is one of the most expensive private schools in New York.[citation needed]


Parkhurst's specific objectives were as follows:[1][page needed][non-primary source needed]

  1. To tailor each student's program to his or her needs, interests and abilities.
  2. To promote each student's independence and dependability.
  3. To enhance the student's social skills.
  4. To increase their sense of responsibility toward others.

She developed a three-part plan that continues to be the structural foundation of a Dalton education:[1][page needed][non-primary source needed]

  1. The House, a social community of students.
  2. The Assignment, a monthly goal which students contract to complete.
  3. The Laboratory, a subject-based classrooms intended to be the center of the educational experience. The laboratory involves students from fourth grade through the end of secondary education.

Students move between subject "laboratories" (classrooms) and explore themes at their own pace.[citation needed]

Introduction in UK[edit]

On May 27, 1920, a very enthusiastic article describing the working of the Dalton Plan in detail was published in the Times' Educational Supplement. Parkhurst "has given to the secondary school the leisure and culture of the University student; she has uncongested the curriculum; she has abolished the teacher's nightly preparation of classes and the child's nightmare of homework. At the same time the children under her regime cover automatically all the ground prescribed for examinations 'of matriculation standard,' and examination failures among them are nil."[citation needed]

The Dalton Plan is a method of education by which pupils work at their own pace, and receive individual help from the teacher when necessary. There is no formal class instruction. Students draw up time-tables and are responsible for finishing the work on their syllabuses or assignments. Students are also encouraged to help each other with their work. The underlying aim of the Dalton Plan is to achieve the highest mental, moral, physical and spiritual development of the pupil.[citation needed]

In the spring of 1921, English headmistress Rosa Bassett went to the Children's University School and stayed with Parkhurst. They spent hours talking about education. Parkhurst found Bassett in complete agreement with her ideas: "She was Dalton," Parkhurst wrote 50 years later. She described Bassett and Belle Rennie as the two people in England who were most enthusiastic and most helpful about the introduction of the Dalton Plan.[citation needed]

It was in 1922 that the UK Board of Education gave official approval and many hundreds of schools in England adopted some form of the Dalton Plan. That same year Parkhurst published Education on the Dalton Plan. In time it was claimed that there were a thousand "Dalton" schools in Japan, another thousand in India, and many in the Soviet Union, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.[citation needed]


Today there are a number of schools around the world and that employ variations of teaching methods based on the Dalton Plan. Most of the schools listed below interpret the Dalton Plan according to their needs; in some cases, they retain only a minimal part of the original Dalton Plan.[citation needed] As of this date,[when?] the only schools that have strong affiliation with Helen Parkhurst's Dalton School in New York are Dalton Tokyo and Dalton Nagoya.[citation needed]

List of schools[edit]



  • Europaschule, Wien
  • HTBL Lastenstraße, Klagenfurt
  • Internationale Daltonschule mit IT-Schwerpunkt Wels


  • Basisschool De Kleine Icarus, Gent
  • Basisschool De Lotus, Gent
  • Basisschool Dalton 1 Hasselt
  • Basisschool Dalton 2 Hasselt
  • Middelbare Dalton school VanVeldeke Hasselt
  • Het Leerlabo, kleuter-, lager en secundair daltononderwijs, Westerlo[2]
  • Dalton Middenschool Lyceum, Gent


Czech Republic[edit]

  • ZŠ a MŠ Chalabalova, Brno
  • ZŠ a MŠ Husova, Brno
  • ZŠ a MŠ Křídlovick, Brno
  • ZŠ a MŠ Mutĕnická, Brno
  • ZŠ Rájec-Jestřebí
  • Gymnázium Slovanské námĕstí, Brno
  • ZŠ Benešova Třebíč
  • Základní škola, Brno
  • Základní škola Brno, Brno



Global School, Rahuri. MH


In Japan, Admiral Osami Nagano introduced a progressive educational method such as the Dalton plan to the Japanese Naval Academy School and influenced it.




  • Academy International, Warsaw


United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dewey, Evelyn. The Dalton Laboratory Plan. New York, NY: E.P. Dutton.[page needed][non-primary source needed]
  2. ^ Het Leerlabo, Website
  3. ^ Angell Akademie, Website
  4. ^ Gymnasium Alsdorf, Website
  5. ^ Grundschule Unstruttal, Website
  6. ^ Marie-Kahle-Gesamtschule, Website
  7. ^ Albrecht-Dürer-Gymnasium, Website
  8. ^ Schillerschule Erfurt, Website
  9. ^ Gymnasium Essen-Überruhr, Website
  10. ^ https://igh-heidelberg.com/ueber-uns/dalton-konzept, Website (German)
  11. ^ Gymnasium Lage, Website
  12. ^ http://www.debakelgeert.nl
  13. ^ https://brederodedalton.nl/
  14. ^ http://www.casimirschool.nl

External links[edit]