While Dalton's founder, Helen Parkhurst, formulated her educational philosophy predicated on the individual child, she believed that the school would be an organic whole, a community whose members would be interdependent. The school, in Parkhurst’s view, would provide students with an experience of genuine community, not as an end in and of itself, but as preparation for full participation in the democratic community beyond its doors. The Dalton Plan - and especially House - provides a uniquely supportive foundation upon which to build strong community values.
The meaning of community has grown and developed since the days of Helen Parkhurst. Today, Dalton understands community to be characterized by diversity - a diversity of thought, race, religion, geography, income, sexual identity, and background that enriches the education of all our students and prepares them for the world beyond the school's doors. In addition to affirming the values of diversity and empathy in appreciation of the differences and commonalities among people, the Dalton community is committed to: