The Dalton Plan really does make Dalton unique! The plan -- conceived by the school's founder, Helen Parkhurst, more than 100 years ago -- provides a dynamic framework for individualized and collaborative teaching and learning. It has three parts: House, Assignment, and Lab.
The House is a time during each day where students come together with a designated group of peers to share diverse experiences, perspectives and passions. Students discuss topics relevant to building a cohesive and supportive community. Through House, students also develop strong, personal relationships with their House Advisors.
The Assignment is an agreement between students and teachers that establishes the expectations for any particular curricular unit. By empowering the students to make choices regarding time management and methods of engagement with the material, Assignment appreciates and celebrates the diverse learning styles of all students in the classroom.
Lab is a time set aside each day for students and teachers to meet one-on-one or in small groups. In the First Program, Labs are often initiated by teachers as a way to spend time individually with students either to provide extra support or to offer ideas for extending the learning in a way that is meaningful to that particular child. First Program students are also always welcome to make a Lab with a teacher to discuss an idea or propose a project! In Middle and High School, students schedule Labs with teachers for a variety of reasons: to review a challenging topic, to workshop a paper, to prepare or debrief an exam, to suggest a connection to another area of interest, to collaborate on a new learning opportunity, or just to share a story. Labs really do differentiate the Dalton experience by providing everyday practice in self advocacy, collaborative learning, and expressing confidence in one’s one voice and ideas.