Notable Programs

Archaeology

~ Helen Parkhurst, from "Education on the Dalton Plan"

"Learning through inquiry and direct experience and encouraging students to be active constructors of knowledge."

The 3rd-grade archaeological study is a centerpiece of Dalton's first program activity-based pedagogy.

Students are excited to dig into the simulated box of strati, with plate and trowel, to unearth New York's historical treasures. 

The activity is a prime example of Dalton's philosophy which puts students at the center of their learning. It emphasizes activity-based approach. These lucky students experience a comprehensive archaeological dig, which is designed to provide the complete conceptual framework for observing aspects of the city’s history and for understanding New York City culture and history in greater depth. Rather than simply studying information about the history of NYC, it gives all 3rd graders a chance to do the real work of archaeologists. Native American Indian Studies and the Age of Exploration are investigated, in conjunction with an Archaeology unit developed by Neil Goldberg, Dalton’s Archaeologist-in-Residence. 

View a video in which teachers discuss the important and immersive impact of the program. Watch the children participate in an excavation of a related site, set up in the Dalton First Program’s backyard. Watch also as they conduct research, document their findings on iPads, visit museums to see similar objects and report the excitement of the 3rd grade archaeology program experience. 


This unit of study highlights the fourth of Dalton's 13 Principals which states that (the School values), "Learning through inquiry and direct experience and encouraging students to be active constructors of knowledge." Putting students in positions to be historians, mathematicians, writers, artists and (in this case) archaeologists is one of the fundamental concepts that Helen Parkhurst established in Education on the Dalton Plan.