An educational system that is based on the principles of freedom, self-motivation and collaboration.
At Dalton schools, children learn by acquiring knowledge and experience independently. They have the freedom to determine the order in which they do assignments, the sources they use, how they budget their time and whether they wish to work with other pupils.
The curriculum is divided into various assignments. Depending on the pupils' ages, these assignments may be due on a yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily basis. The pupils do not complete the same assignments. In addition to the required core assignments, pupils who either need extra practice or those who are quick learners may complete other assignments to reinforce or enrich their knowledge and skills.
The role of the teacher is that of a consultant or guide. A teacher meets with the pupil regularly to discuss his or her progress. Both pupil and teacher maintain a record of the pupil's progress.
Dalton schools strongly emphasise group activities and assignments. In practice this generally means that classmates work on assignments together. However, pupils from different years sometimes cooperate to complete a project. In the process they learn to listen, help and respect each other.
There are approximately 350 Dalton primary schools and 20 Dalton secondary schools in the Netherlands. Dalton education (also known as Dalton Plan) was conceived by the American teacher and headteacher Helen Parkhurst.