December 20, 2013

'Growing Pains'

I was lucky to find the book Helen Parkhurst wrote in 1962: "Growing Pains".
(Doubleday & Company, Inc. - Garden City, New York)
I've found it at Amazone and this copy came from the Los Angeles Public Library.
Growing Pains is the outgrowth of a series of radio programs of the same name, built around tape recordings of interviews with teen agers.
This is a statement I like very much.

Dalton in Czech Republic

The Czech Dalton  Association is terminating its existence in the end of this year . But there has been an another organization founded,     
"Czech Dalton", which will follow up with what the Associations of Czech Dalton Schools was doing for more than 15 years. As an organization that walks in the steps of ACDS, they are cooperating with Dalton International.

December 17, 2013

Transfer your dominance

During my seminars I always draw attention to the dominance of the teacher.
Children are hungry to do it themselves, but many teachers think that 'spoon feeding' education is the most effective way.
Some of them even try to convince that by instruction to the whole group of silent children in the classroom, they learn most.
But this teacher doesn't understand why there are so many questions left after this kind of  instruction.

Children has to take as many initiatives themselves as possible.
Helen Parkhurst says: "Under the Dalton Plan the teacher's principal job is to instruct or teach by answering the questions asked by individual children or groups of children".
I was nicely surprised that I found an article this morning in the newspaper in which the provocating photo's in my PowerPoint were given a scientific basis.
Larissa Samuelson, professor psychology at the University of Iowa researched the behaviour of very young children. She noticed very soon that children who were allowed to make a mess during their activities, were learning very quickly new words.

See an article about this here

December 16, 2013

Dalton training

Dalton International assists in the implementation of  Dalton classroom management.
During a training with teams of teachers the following aspects will be worked out.

            1. TRAINING SELF- RELIANCE      
            ·         a process in 20 special school agreements
            2.  GROUP ORGANIZATION                                         
·         day colours
·         household – assignment
·         day rhythm structure
·         work – assignment board or formulary
·         organizing the registration
·         arrangement of the furniture
·         all aspects of classroom management

3.      ASSIGNMENTS                                                        
·         selecting subjects and material
·         daily,  weekly, monthly
·         structure for  planning
·         self-correction
·         assignment as a contract
·         integrated ‘free-choice-assignments’
·         creating on different levels
·         using competences – no competition
·         testing and reports
·         portfolio development

4.      EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION                                                          
·         what do we instruct
·         what is the effect of instruction
·         balance with independent learning
·         instruction on different levels
·         use of action guides
·         recognize different learning styles
·         what kind of interaction
·         model for strategic action

5.      INDEPENDENT WORK                                                      
·         the effect of independent work for teacher/student 
·         organizing the delayed attention
·         action guides as a school model
·         training responsibilities
·         evaluation and reflection
·         scoring system

6.      CO-OPERATION                                                       
·         Systematically use of techniques
·         Variation in co-operative learning activities
·         Work with teams, mates, mentor, tutor

December 13, 2013

This book was writtenby Helen Parkhurst in 1962

December 8, 2013

Proud to announce the concrete initiative to start the official
Dalton Association in Austria.

Jürgen Peters is co-ordinating this development.


November 30, 2013

Helen Parkhurst

When Helen C. Parkhurst graduated in 1907 from the two-year elementary course, her professors might have predicted an unusual career for her. Her thesis was titled "Child Heart," and she had written below her picture in the yearbook: "Here buds the promise of celestial worth." It took only a short time for this young woman from Durand to bloom. After teaching two years in Hudson, she took a position in Tacoma, Wash., and in 1910 founded the laboratory plan for elementary school individualized instruction. 

For this, she received her first award, the "Distinguished Gold Medal," given by the Board of Education, and was named "First Citizen of Tacoma."
Parkhurst returned to Wisconsin in 1912 to become the director of the Primary Department at UW-Stevens Point. Three years later she spent a year in Italy studying with the education pioneer, Maria Montessori. When Montessori came to the United States to lecture, Parkhurst joined her and for a time administered the Montessori schools across the nation. It was in New York, however, where she spent most of her distinguished career. Known as the originator of the Dalton Plan of Education, which became a model for countless schools throughout the world, she earned a place in the directory, 100 Educators of All Time.
This distinguished alumna, who was one of the most influential educators of her era, expressed her philosophy through television and radio programs and in numerous articles and books. Her first books,Education on the Dalton Plan (1922) and Exploring the Child’s World (1936), became standard references for this system of elementary education. Before her death in 1973, she also wrote Growing Pains (1962) and Undertow (1963), and had been decorated by the Queen of Italy, Empress of Japan, and the Queen of the Netherlands. There is a Parkhurst Lecture Hall at UW-Stevens Point. Many schools in the Netherlands have her name "Helen Parkhurst School".
Truly, her educational philosophy is an extension of her senior thesis "Child Heart." Montessori best summarized her career: 
"Her intelligent activity is truly rare and precious."
From: University of Wisconsin

November 28, 2013

The Polish Dalton Association invited me to give a training to a group of Dalton co-ordinators, three lectures to students and a presentation of all Dalton aspects during a conference.

November 27, 2013

November 22, 2013

Dalton training in Poland

On Saturday November 16th I worked with a group of 45 teachers from
all over Poland to give a training.

The Polish Dalton Association is selecting Dalton co-ordinators to assist with the Dalton implementation in Kindergarten and other schools.

After a presentation about the task of a Dalton co-ordinator, the colleagues worked in small groups and got much information from the
side of some Polish Dalton consultants.

November 15, 2013

Workshops and seminars in Poland

The coming days I am in Poland for several Dalton activities.
The Polish Dalton Association invited me to give a training for Dalton
co-ordinators. The number of schools who have started with the first implementation of Dalton education is still growing in this country.

Some of these new Dalton co-ordinators participated in the International Dalton Meeting at KPZ University last May.

In Warszawa I will work with three different groups of students at the APS University. This University is specialized in the training of teachers for special education. Dalton is a new element in their programm.
Finally I will give an introduction of Dalton education during a conference for teachers in 'Sroda Wielkopolska.

Reflection is an important topic that has to be integrated in all activities.

November 13, 2013

Message from Facebook

Dalton Teachers From Tokyo and Nagoya Visit Dalton NYC - First Program students and teachers said "Sayonara" to four Japanese teachers visiting us.
Our visitors spent two weeks visiting classrooms, museums, special events taking place at Dalton, and a variety of NYC landmarks.

November 11, 2013

The Golden Circle.

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model  how to come to an inspiring leadership. 

It starts with the question "Why?"

See his very interesting presentation HERE

November 10, 2013

Development of a logo

The first logo was a design of  Nol Manten, famous painter in Utrecht.
It was made to symbolise the integration of the Kindergarten 'De Merel' with the primary Dalton school "Juliana van Stolbergschool".
In 1985 the new fusion got the name "Dalton Basisschool Pieterskerkhof".

Later I suggested  the new founded Czech Dalton Association to use this logo.
Now the two birds were symbolising the co-operation between secondary and primary education.

When we founded  Dalton International we liked to use the freedom
of birds again. The birds are flying from the West to Europe and further.
From "The Dalton School" in New York,  the ideas of Helen Parkhurst were implemented in hundreds of schools all over Europe. But in other continents there are also important Dalton Schools such as "Ascham" in Sydney, famous Kindergarten in Tokio and Kobe.
The newest Dalton school can be found in Hongkong: "Little Dalton".

November 6, 2013

Little Dalton Hongkong

Visit the website of this school.

This school is Member of Dalton International.

New Dalton initiative in Poland

Yesterday I've got this message from Dorota Olejnik, Śmigiel - Poland

We catched up the concept of the Dalton Plan after a visit in the ABIS school in Łódź. Since two years in our State Primary School in Śmigiel. Four classes have worked according to the Dalton Plan. We are satisfied because our pupils want to learn. They do their duties with big responsibility; they also choose tasks on their own. They plan their job and can cooperate with other pupils. For us teachers also it’s big pleasure and satisfaction. We will participate in conference in WWSSE in Środa Wielkopolska in two weeks.
We hope that someday there will be an opportunity to meet in Śmigiel.
Dorota Olejnik

November 5, 2013

Material for roles in a team

This morning from the website of Kagan.

I produced these 'buttons' for the different roles in a cooperative team.
These buttons are available for you. Just write me an email:
Ask for the English or Dutch version.

November 3, 2013

Learn how to improve student engagement and build a positive climate for learning and discipline for grades K-12.

We've all heard this about students: "If they are engaged, they are managed." And this is absolutely the truth. But we still need rules, routines, trust, and student ownership to make a classroom run smoothly and effectively. 

This guide will address those practical aspects of managing a classroom, with suggestions and resources appropriate for 
grades K-12.

What's Inside ?

  1.       Design a Safe, Friendly, and Well-Managed Classroom 
  2.       Include Students in Creating Rules, Norms, Routines, 
         and Consequences
  3.       Create a Variety of Communication Channels
  4.       Always Be Calm, Fair, and Consistent
  5.       Know the Students You Teach
  6.       Address Conflict Quickly and Wisely
  7.       Integrate Positive Classroom Rituals
  8.       Keep It Real
  9.       Partner with Parents and Guardians
  10.       Partner with Parents and Guardians

Find it on EDUTOPIA

November 1, 2013

The new Dalton school in Austria


October 28, 2013

This new Dalton school in Austria is participating in a Comenius project with the title:
Pleased to meet EU.

A group of schools from different countries created a very nice website.

Click on:  Pleased to meet EU

October 27, 2013

The Dalton Audit of the "Sternschule" in Deutschlandsberg - Austria was a very positive experience.
This school is the dream of every teacher, but also the children are convinced that this school is the best choice of their parents.
The small but inspired school community realized their ideal.

Jürgen Peters and I were pleasantly surprised by what we have seen in this school.
Not only the building and school environment, but also the educational level with an authentic visualization of  the Dalton structure, make this school a diamond in the crown of Dalton International.

October 20, 2013

This week on October 24. and 25. an audit will take place at this school in Deutschlandsberg - Austria.
This audit will be performed by Jürgen Peters, senior Dalton Consultant in Austria and Roel Röhner, senior Dalton Consultant in the Netherlands.

From the website of this school:
Die Sternschule Deutschlandsberg ist eine reformpädagogische Privatschule der Diakonie de La Tour Steiermark für Schüler/Innen im Pflichtschulalter und orientiert sich an den österreichischen Lehrplänen für VS, HS und AHS-Unterstufe.
In der Sternschule werden Kinder unabhängig von ihrem sozialen, kulturellen und konfessionellen Hintergrund aufgenommen.
 Der Unterricht in der Sternschule beruht auf den drei Prinzipien des Daltonplans nach Helen Parkhurst: Freiheit, Kooperation und Zeitmanagement.
Zur Philosophie der Sternschule gehören das Wissen um die Einzigartigkeit der Kinder und das Annehmen dieser als Basis der pädagogischen Arbeit. Um der Individualität der Schüler und Schülerinnen angemessen zu begegnen, werden Erkenntnisse aus der (Hoch)Begabungsforschung in den Schulalltag integriert.
 Wir wünschen uns, dass sich Kinder und Jugendliche der Sternschule zu verantwortungsvollen, sozial kompetenten und lernfreudigen Persönlichkeiten entwickeln.

October 9, 2013

Day of Kindergarten in Poland

This message was sent by Anna Wróbel from Poland.
Anna is the Polish President of the worldwide organization of Kindergarten teachers OMEP.
Together with many colleagues in her country she founded the Polish Dalton Association.
The development of Dalton education in Poland is the strongest in Middle Europe.

Upon the motion of the community connected with the kindergarten education from the whole country, the Polish OMEP Committee, acting upon the Article 63 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, has filed a petition with the Marshal of the Sejm to start the legislative initiative to constitute the day of 29 September as the Polish Day of the Kindergarten Education. This day is to celebrate the certain idea of the people connected with the kindergarten education and it is to solemnly visualise the importance of the kindergarten education in the society.

On 13th of September Sejm of the Republic of Poland adopted a resolution on the establishment 20 of as the Polish Day of the Kindergarten Education (Kindergarten’s Day).

Poland has DAY OF THE KINDERGARTEN EDUKATION in the polish calendar!

25 of September in Royal Łazienki in Warsaw Polish OMEP Committee were celebrating the first nationwide Polish Day of the Kindergarten Education.
The Honorary Patrons of the Conference are: Minister of National Education and Ombudsman for Children.

Anna Wróbel

Prezes Zarządu Krajowego
Polskiego Komitetu Światowej Organizacji Wychowania Przedszkolnego OMEP

October 7, 2013

Official presentation new Dalton book

The latest book about Dalton education, written by Roel Röhner
and Hans Wenke, was officially presented to the chairman of the Dutch Dalton Association : Willem Wagenaar.

This event took place at the KPZ University.

Several colleagues were invited to express the gratitude for the inspiration both authors got in their schools.

This Dutch version of the book can be ordered at: 

September 24, 2013

What is collaborative learning?

Collaborative learning is an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving joint effort by learners. Collaborative learning activities vary widely, but most centre on the learner’s exploration or application of the curriculum, not simply on the teacher’s presentation of it. The teacher’s role is to create an environment where young people are willing and able to work collaboratively, where there are plenty of opportunities and stimulating contexts for learners to work with others, and where they feel safe to share their emerging ideas and understandings. 
Usually, learners are working in groups of two or more, searching mutually for understanding, solutions, meanings, or creating a product. Group challenges often require learners to produce a product for a specified audience and purpose. Collaborative learning programmes also place great emphasis on assessing the contribution of individuals within the group and of the performance of the team. 
In collaborative learning situations, pupils are not simply taking in new information or ideas - they are creating something new with the information and ideas.
American researchers David and Roger Johnson have done more than anyone to popularise the concept of collaborative learning. Their research identified 700 studies relating to cooperative, competitive and individualistic efforts to learn and they identified five defining characteristics of cooperative learning. 
1. Groups work together to accomplish shared goals. Group members buy into a mutual goal. They seek outcomes that are valuable for themselves and the group. They believe they sink or swim together. 
2. Group members are hard on themselves and each other - they make each other accountable for producing high quality work and achieving goals. 
3. Group members work face to face and support each other to produce joint products. 
4. Group members are taught social skills and are expected to use them to work together to achieve their goals. 
5. Group members analyse how effectively they are working together in achieving their goals.

Johnson and Holubec (ASCD, 1994)

September 20, 2013

Interesting ans useful material. Go HERE to the website.

August 29, 2013

Training teams of teachers

With a 'board game' the team of teachers gives answers on different questions or dilemmas. Together the colleagues determine which Dalton aspects are highly developed and which ones need attention again.

More information HERE

August 27, 2013

Little Dalton - Hong Kong

Little Dalton in Hong Kong is a new leaf on our International Dalton tree.

The school is cooperating with Ascham in Sydney.

Visit the website of Little Dalton HERE

August 23, 2013


The last two decades have seen substantial growth in the use of reflection, not only in classrooms from elementary education but also in colleges and universities.
Dewey is generally pointed to as the scholar who first stressed the importance of reflection for learning.

Effective teachers are those who constantly reflect on their teaching.
Reflecting after a lesson makes them aware of their successes and failures, of their strengths and shortcomings. This allows teachers to assess and adjust their teaching. Because reflection can help teachers become better educators.

And a good educator organizes reflection in the classroom, 
The work of children should be regularly evaluated. But if the teacher teaches kids how to reflect, then they become owners of their learning process.

August 22, 2013

"Many schools are preparing children for yesterday"

The first of 11 Dutch ‘Steve Jobs schools’ was opened yesterday in Sneek/the Netherlands..
In this elementary school the Ipad is textbook, notebook, agenda and plaything at the same time. The pupils are learning typing instead of writing and they decide themselves where and when they study.
The zombies on the Ipad screen come menacingly closer. If the answer to the calculation not fast enough is typed, you're the Marylou.
At the right answer the zombie changes in a cheerful smiling stick man.
The children like it. "Zombie counting is much more fun than writing in a boring notebook".
A group of girls demonstrates the apps connected in their subject matter.
The little fingers go flying and agile across the screen. Last year they were still with books and notebooks for their nose at school. Now they sit in Sneek in a brand new building with the name "Master Steve Jobs School".
Which previously feared to find a surreal, sterile Apple Lab, will be disappointed. The cosy building has the decor of an ordinary primary school.
The books are just a side issue. The Ipad is the device.
The teacher is called here a 'talent coach' and the school is a 'community '.

The students are not following central classroom lessons, but work independently in groups which are classified by age and social development. With the Ipad, they have access to the digital learning environment. They get short instructions and after it they go for their work individually.  They organize their time themselves and can therefore do much at home.
Initiator Maurice de Hond believes that the traditional education is not following the actual development: “Many schools are preparing the children for yesterday. We prepare them for the world after 2030. The profit lies in the integrated approach”.
His concept of ‘Education for a New Age’ (E4NA) gets much commotion.
The German memory researcher Manfred Spitzer calls it a form of child abuse. But the reaction of the school: "We teach children to use the Ipad on a sensible way. There is a generation that missed the IT development".
The students are not following central classroom lessons, but work independently in groups which are classified by age and social development. With the Ipad, they have access to the digital learning environment. They get short instructions and after it they go for their work individually.  They organize their time themselves and can therefore do much at home.

The Minister of Education sees above all the benefits of this teaching method, but he ordered additional monitoring of the Inspectorate of Education.
Pupils must not suffer as a result of experimentation. Also this school must comply with the normal learning objectives and must test the results.

From an article in Algemeen Dagblad, Thursday August 22 , 2013

August 15, 2013

August 11, 2013

10 Ways to stimulate responsibility

1. Pupils can make decisions themselves.
Encourage pupils to make decisions about how they learn best. Create opportunities for them to pursue their own interests and practise skills in a variety of ways.  Cater for different learning styles. Don’t expect everyone to respond in the same way. Respect their differences. Integrate technology to encourage creative expression of learning.
2. Lead the process with open questions
Ask open-ended questions, with plenty of possible answers which lead to further questions.   Acknowledge all responses equally. Use thinking routines to provide a framework for students to engage with new learning by making connections, thinking critically and exploring possibilities. Create action guides to visualize such frameworks.
3. Reduce your instruction as much as possible.
Minimise instruction and talking at them in front of the classroom .  Dalton classes have no rows of learners facing the front of the class.  Arrange the seats so that students can communicate, think together, share ideas and construct meaning by discussing and collaborating. Every exchange doesn’t need to go through the teacher or get the teacher’s approval, encourage students to respond directly to each other.
4. Model behaviors and attitudes that promote learning.
Be an inquirer. Make your thinking process explicit. A  Dalton teacher is an active participant in the learning community. Model and encourage enthusiasm, open-mindedness, curiosity and reflection.  Show that you value  initiative above compliance. Stimulate  them to use their competences instead of stimulation of competition.
5. Ask for feedback.
Build up a thinking routine by starting always with focussing on the goal of the lesson. And at the end of the process get your students to write down what they learned, whether they enjoyed a particular learning experience, what helped their learning, what hindered their learning and what might help them next time.  Take notice of what they write and build learning  experiences based on it.
6. Test less
Record student thinking and track development over time. Provide opportunities for applying learning in a variety of ways. Create meaningful assessment, assignments that  allow transfer of learning to other contexts. Have students publish expressions of their learning on the internet for an authentic audience. Place as much value on process and progress, as on the final product.
7.  Encourage goal setting and reflection.
Help students to define goals for their learning. Provide opportunities for ongoing self-evaluation and reflection. Provide constructive, specific feedback. Stimulate to create individual student blogs. These are great tools for reflecting on learning and responding to their peers. Dalton works with teams and therefore a team blog could be feasable too.
8. Don’t over plan the learning process.
If you know exactly where the lesson is leading and what you want the kids to think, then you‘re controlling the learning. Plan a strong provocation that will ‘invite the students in’ and get them excited to explore the topic further. But don’t  plan in too much detail where it will go from there.
9.  Focus on learning, not work.
Make sure you and your pupils know the reason for every learning experience. Don’t give ‘busy work’. Give them individual assignments forms.  Don’t start by planning activities, start with planning of the ‘why‘.  And their assignments  develop learning experiences which will support independent learning.  Include appropriate tech tools to support the learning.
10.  Organise a pupils’ portfolio.
Rather than only reporting to parents about their children’s learning, they can show their developments by creating their own portfolio. The pupil talks about  strengths and weaknesses, how learning has progressed and areas for improvement. The portfolio combines the process and the product of learning.
Adepted by an idea of Edna Sackson