Programs

First Program

Welcome to the First Program of the Dalton School! The faculty and staff of Little Dalton are committed to helping children and their families transition from their preschool years to our wonderful community. We hope that this introduction is only the beginning of your exploration of what First Program offers.

Adjoining townhouses on East 91st Street comprise the safe and supportive background to our community, which takes young children from their first days at school, through four years of academic and social experiences, to their emergence as members of Dalton’s Middle School. Each child is assigned to a House or homeroom.  House Advisors and Associate Teachers in each classroom are children’s primary advocates, as they guide them in a challenging and creative core curriculum of math, language arts and social studies. Also, children meet regularly with specialist teachers to explore Spanish, chess, dance/theater, science, music, art, physical education, and library. Technology is incorporated to enhance curricula, and children learn what it means to be good digital citizens. They also take advantage of special projects, including archaeological digs and service learning opportunities. Our two outdoor play spaces, science labs, art studios, music rooms and gymnasium support this program. The unifying element is Dalton’s commitment to the development of well-rounded and happy children, who learn collaboratively and independently. The faculty takes care to craft lessons to help each child explore his or her full potential – academic, social, and emotional.

Through experiential, inquiry-based activities, students acquire skills, deepen their understanding and think creatively. We meet children where they are, helping them work through challenges and enhance their strengths. Our program incorporates the core elements of the Dalton Plan: House, Assignment, and Lab. Teachers offer instruction, encourage children to ask questions, and to participate actively in their learning. As educators, we seek to learn from our students’ exceptional range of abilities and backgrounds, almost as much as we know they learn from us. In the forefront of this effort is a dedicated and experienced group of teachers and specialists, who feel fortunate, as I do, to be a part of a community that embraces the vision of Dalton’s founder, Helen Parkhurst, so completely.

Nora J. Elish
First Program Director