Character & Community

Character and Community - Middle School

If one looks deeply at any progressive practice

at Dalton, the philosophical foundation of Helen Parkhurst’s Dalton Plan will eventually become evident.  Whether examining the use of technology in classrooms or the embracing of Dalton’s Global Initiatives; teachers and students considering the interplay between new ideas and the time-tested structures of Assignment, House, and Lab are common occurrences at Dalton.

In the Middle School, this idea remains true when considering the themes of Character and Community.  Evidence of students wrestling with relevant moral and ethical questions can be found throughout their middle school journey.  Sometimes, these questions are explicit, as when students may be asked to consider the moral and ethical implications a main character’s choices in a novel, or the potential impact of human beings on Global Warming.  In other instances, however, these questions are a natural part of a middle schooler’s social emotional development:  What makes a good friend or teammate?  When should I speak and when should I listen? How do I make a positive contribution to my school community and my community at-large?

Aspects of Middle School Character Community

List of 4 items.

  • House

    Character and Community in House

    Throughout Dalton, House is the “community within a community” for every student. In middle school, House is especially important given the broad spectrum of social-emotional development for children in grades 4-8.
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  • Assignment

    Character and Community in Assignment

    Whether in a classroom, an art, music, or dance studio, or on an athletic field, Dalton middle school students are asked to consider their personal choices within a greater communal framework.
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  • Lab

    Character and Community in Lab
     
    In the middle school, Lab often happens within the context of House. Though students earn the privilege of “signing out” to meet with a teacher during a lab period, most Lab periods occur in the student’s House. Therefore, in addition to being an opportunity to extend academic pursuits, Lab periods are also often opportunities to pursue the goals of House.
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  • Co-Curricular "Clubs"

    Character and Community Beyond House, Assignment and Lab
     
    Almost every middle school student belongs to at least one club.  Middle School clubs allow students to dive more deeply into a topic of interest and often feature Community Service components, both within and outside of the Dalton Community.
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