Why Dalton

Dalton is a unique -- and dare we say, magical -- learning environment. Peek into any classroom K-12 and our progressive pedagogy is in full view as students use their creative energy and intellectual curiosity to guide academic inquiry and to expand avenues for dynamic engagement. Students sit on the edge of their seats eager to participate; teachers foster the excitement with questions and links to unexplored interconnections. At the same time, the intentional structure of the Dalton curriculum quickly becomes apparent as the lessons remain grounded in foundational skills and content. Indeed, The Dalton Plan — conceived by Helen Parkhurst at Dalton’s founding and fully operational today — provides a blueprint for this extraordinary combination of educational attributes. It is a distinctive framework that simultaneously encourages fundamentals and fascination, purpose and passion, interdependence and independence, rigor and reflection, investigation and innovation. There truly is no other school like it. 

Dalton’s diversity adds to its magic! As students grow and learn together, they are encouraged to share who they are and how they see the world with community members of different races, ethnicities, religions, genders, family configurations, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic groups. The Dalton Plan provides regular opportunity for students to practice listening to and valuing each other’s voices so that they are equipped to be thoughtful and open communicators. Our teachers highlight the importance of equity and inclusivity by expanding our curriculum to include a wide cross-section of perspectives and by providing a forum for robust discussion. Supported by an institutional belief in the development of the whole child, students and teachers collaborate across disciplines and each student’s passion has a pathway for exploration. Parkhurst emphasized the importance of aesthetic education, and through broad, deep exposure to the arts, students have a platform for flexing their creative power and potential. The Dalton journey also equips students to be fully engaged global citizens. From service learning opportunities woven into the curriculum, to immersive, individualized travel experiences locally and abroad, students are primed to assume their responsibility to communities outside of the Dalton walls and to positively impact the world around them. 

We hope that through the pages that follow, you will gain a deeper understanding of how Parkhurst’s vision manifests at Dalton each day. Read about the interdisciplinary projects our students are undertaking. Look through the images of our vibrant learning community at work. Listen to some of our teachers describe what makes Dalton so special. See for yourself the purposeful attention Dalton places on the visual and performing arts, physical education and athletics, computer science and engineering, and local and global exploration. Please, go ahead, and share in the magic of Dalton.

~ Helen Parkhurst (1919)

The true business of the school is not to chain students to preconceived ideas, but to set them free to discover their own ideas and to help them bring all their powers to bear upon the problem of learning.
(K-3) 53 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-5463

(4-12) 108 East 89th Street, New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-5262