December 13, 2014


The spreading of Dalton education in Poland is constantly growing.
The Polish Dalton Association was organizing again some conferences between 18 - 23 November 2014.

I was invited to participate in seminars and workshops in Poznán, Lesno and Warsaw.

The visit to the first Polish Dalton Primary school in Lodz 'School4Child' can be described as inspiring from both sides.

July 16, 2014

Explaining is blocking active learning.

Frequently I have the honour to work with several schools and give Dalton training to an unknown team of teachers somewhere in our country.
As a Senior Dalton Consultant I work on free-lance base for Wenke Dalton Consultancy/KPZ.
It often happens that I have the same kind of fundamental discussion.
Basic elements of the Dalton concept are always in the centre of the attention.
I try to challenge a school team to give their own interpretation of the three Dalton ‘cornerstones’: responsibility – self-reliance – cooperation.

Some time ago, a very nice colleague reacted very honestly and openly.
Elaborating the independency of pupils, he spoke about his worries. The motivation of the children in his class was low, the attention during the instruction was bad and he ended with his conclusion: “These pupils are not learning enough”.
I asked him to analyze his way of teaching and after short time most of the colleagues in this school came to the same conclusion that in their education the teacher is the most active person. And in their opinion it was the best and most effective way to teach.
“Much instruction is the best way to teach”, they explained.
This attitude is a logical one. 
Didn’t we all learn in our pedagogical institutes that a good teacher is the teacher who can explain the most difficult parts of the curriculum?
But there is still that main problem on the background of this discussion:
*pupils are not motivated anymore to listen.
*the attention of children is declining.
I have to provocate at that moment, to make my statement clear.
When I ask why a teacher is putting so much energy in instruction, the answer is always:
“When pupils don’t understand some assignment you have to explain, because that is the only way to help them”.
The crucial thing is of course: how can we make the children active and motivated?
I must admit that teaching is the activity of the teacher and it will be forever.
But learning is the activity of the pupil. No teacher can take over that activity!
Instruction is not the only way to fill the gap.
We have to arrange different instructional formats (teaching methods) to make the children active.
Are we able to realize that pupils nowadays belong to the E- generation?
The Dutch professor Wim Veen is using ‘Homo Zappiens’ for this new generation.
They consume information on their own way. They are used to calculators, television, Play Station, computers.
They sit in front of the television and they consume the products very quickly: if it is not interesting enough they simply switch to another programme.
And computers are their sixth organ.
The question is if the teacher happy with that development? But they can be happy that the remote control is not working in school.
Perhaps not. Because even parents have problems to stimulate their own children to do their homework instead of sitting in front of the television.
But most likely you are the teacher of a whole group of such whiz kids.

It is not so strange that my Dutch colleague complained about the learning attitude of his students.
Students are used to be active themselves instead of long listening for information. They have the drive to explore. Listening to long instruction is for them like reading the instruction guide of a new computer programme. And no-one will do it, they all start to explore.
The first child that wants to read the instruction booklet before he/she wants to work with that programme has still to be born.

Students want activity, want to discover, do it themselves. That’s not a negative attitude, that’s real motivation.
And we teachers have to accept the changes in the consumption pattern of the audience in our classrooms.  We are the professionals and that’s why we don’t want to serve them every day the same fast-food. Let’s be creative and make them real hungry.
Students want to be challenged to demonstrate their competences. They are not interested in the long demonstrations of the competence of the teacher. It will reduce their own competence.
We have to use our talents and it is not necessary to throw away everything from the former century.
Helen Parkhurst simply developed her Dalton concept on three basic needs of pupils:
·         they must have the feeling to be safe and respected
·         they must have the feeling to be competent
·         they must have the feeling to be independent

It is time for a design of our education, based on these basic needs.

July 15, 2014

Preschool planning

Nice article for all the preschool teachers who like to make a good planning for the next school year.


July 9, 2014

June 22, 2014

To inspire teachers

It's worth to scroll and find great ideas.
Have a look

June 21, 2014

The quality makers of education

Educational governance can be an instrument to have influence on the quality of education.
And the most important question is: who is responsible for the quality of education?
My simple answer is: the teachers in the classroom.
Those are the professionals, the facilitators, the pedagogues, the coaches, the quality makers.

But in the daily practice in the school, a heterogeneous group, any team of quality makers is still not a guarantee for good education.
Such a heterogeneous group of teachers look like a beautiful archipelago, a group of nice isles but a lot of water in between and very complicated to connect.

When a director of a school wants to have influence on the educational quality of the whole school, he/she must focus on the task of educational leadership.
There must be a professional division in two main tasks: the management (how complex it may be) and the educational leadership.
If the director of the school wants to be a quality maker too, he/she must leave the office
frequently to observe the processes and to work on the floor.

See my whole article on the website of Dalton International under ARTICLES

June 18, 2014

The Dalton Plan in the elementary school

Some statements from this brochure, written by 
A.J.Lynch Headmaster, West Green School, Tottenham, N.15.

The relation between teacher and taught is a wrong relation.
The teacher should be the helper, not the driver; the pursued, not the pursuer.

The advent of the Dalton Plan and the interest  shown in it by teachers in all parts of the world are sure signs that teachers realise the weaknesses of the old class methods and are seeking earnestly to remedy them.

It is not sufficient that the assignment be a mere reference to text-books, it needs the Dalton touch and the Dalton spirit. Apart from the work to which the assignment refers, the assignment itself should be interesting, attractive and helpful.
The ideal assignment is, of course, an individual assignment for each child.

The brochure from 1926 was published by

June 17, 2014

Development of study skills

This is one example from a series of special action strategies for pupils.

I have developed several tools for pupils, connected to different instructional methods used by the teacher.

The entire series has been published in a booklet for Dutch pupils named "Opzoekboekje".

This booklet can be ordered by mail HERE

June 16, 2014


Eine interessante Website in deutscher Sprache.
Finde es HIER 

June 14, 2014

Focuss on talents

A talented or gifted pupil is one who demonstrates a significantly higher level of ability than most pupils of the same age in one or more curriculum area or in any of the following:
  • physical talent
  • artistic talent
  • mechanical ingenuity
  • leadership
  • high intelligence
  • creativity
Gifted pupils can be:
  • good all-rounders
  • high achievers in one area
  • of high ability but with low motivation
  • of good verbal ability but poor writing skills
  • very able with short attention span
  • very able with poor social skills
  • keen to disguise their abilities.

June 12, 2014

Training independence

During my workshop about the training of independence I always use this structure. Teachers can use it as a checklist and thick which of the 20 agreements are completely functioning in their class.

  1. Agreements about things the children can do themselves: toilet – drinking water – washing hands – how to use the classroom.
  2. Introduction and working with a ‘household assignment’.
  3. Agreements about the materials the children can take themselves.

  1. Making the choice for a sign for the block period, introducing of the rules.
  2. What can you do yourself without help: thinking yourself – try again – ask your mate. (making of action guides)
  3. Explain that the block period is only temporary and help is possible on a later moment

  1. The whole school makes agreements about which materials can be taken by the children themselves, how to handle if they make a mistake etc.

  1. Let them invent the rules : think again – read again – ask someone else – start with another part of the assignment (action guides)
  2. Learn them to analyse the problem : what kind of problem – did  I had a similar problem before – ask a real question – try to help step by step (action guide)
  3. Learn planning, try to anticipate and make a work planning
  4. Give attention to social problems: how to solve them – how to work together
  5. Agreements about the noise during the work (making of “noise cards”)

  1. First try yourself
  2. Start asking your workmate instead of walking around in the classroom
  3. Use your help signal if you couldn’t find the right help.
  4. Ask clear questions – don’t be impatient in trying to help
  5. Explaining is not the same as giving the answer
  6. Learn to explain step by step
  7. Investigate first what is known already
  8. Use a ‘help booklet’.

June 11, 2014

Interesting expanation of Blended learning in the context of the 21st Century Skills.


June 6, 2014

Dalton is more and more popular

No BBQ without sweet Dalton !

May 30, 2014

International Dalton Meeting 2014

The three days programme was a success.
Participants from Austria, China, Holland and Poland were active during the conference day and some school visits.
The KPZ University organized this event for the third time in cooperation with Dalton International

The photo album can be found here

May 25, 2014

Colour your days.

Anniek van Dorp is a very creative Dalton teacher. She works in 'Daltonschool het Palet' in Hellevoetsluis / NL.

She made very nice animals to colour the days of the week for the children in her classroom.

Dalton Management Training

Scan the  QR code and find your place and program.

A group of 25 directors and Dalton coordinators participated in a 2 days meeting. Traditionally our University KPZ is organizing such a management training every year in Renesse.
Paul Bruijn, Hans Wenke and I created several presentations and workshops around the 21st Century Skills.
A similar training took place in Zwartsluis for the schools in the northern part of our country.
Hanneke Drost and Annemarie Wenke were leading this event.

May 21, 2014

Blended learning

Two events will take place in the coming days.

Tomorrow and Friday the traditional Dalton Management training in Renesse. I am looking forward to work again together with Paul Bruijn and Hans Wenke with a group of 25 participants.

From May 26 - 28 we welcome an international group in Zwolle, with
representatives from Austria, China, Basque Country, Holland and Poland.

During both meetings the 21st Century Skills are the main topic and several new aspects of  learning will be worked out.

May 12, 2014


Three days of Dalton impulses with the central theme:

Dalton in the 21st century

A selective international group is participating in the event.
After three years we can spaeak about a tradition. 

May 26 - 28 2014 KPZ Zwolle

May 10, 2014


Photo; 'The Dalton School' New York

All aspects of cooperation arise if the group grows to a TEAM !

In a Dalton class we are not working with groups, but with teams.

May 8, 2014

Dalton in the 21th Century

For the third time the KPZ University organizes an International Dalton Meeting in cooperation with Dalton International.

This year a delegation from "Dalton China" is participating together with representatives from Austria, Basque Country, Poland and the Netherlands.

The theme of this conference is: DALTON IN THE 21st CENTURY

May 1, 2014

Dalton in Poland

We mentioned already the strong development of Dalton education in Poland.

These 6 Dalton consultants can be inroduced officially now.

Some Dalton conferences will be organized again and these consultants will give workshops and lectures. They also work with teams of teachers all over the country..

April 28, 2014

April 16, 2014

April 14, 2014

Hillingdon, the first part of Ascham-Sydney

In Hillingdon there is real sense of enjoyment every day. The girls have a rich and varied program including visits, festivals, excursions, assemblies, concerts, year group cafés and parent events that provide them with a strong sense of community as well as broadening their horizons. The strong visual arts, music and languages programs, taught by specialist staff, are also incorporated into their classroom activities.

Our highly qualified staff is dedicated to caring for and engaging with the girls on a daily basis. They provide strong foundational skills across the curriculum. We use The Spalding Method to teach literacy which provides each girl with excellent skills in reading, writing and spelling.

It is important that girls experience the enjoyment of co-curricular activities early in their schooling. There are many opportunities in Prep and Kindergarten (violin, cello, speech and drama, gymnastics and swimming), which expand in Years 1 and 2 to include chess, tennis, piano, and soccer.

We develop confident learners. We encourage positive social skills and building community bonds through use of the You Can Do It program, buddy groups and service to others through charity days and sponsorships.

All girls in Year 2 have an opportunity once a term to carry out various responsibilities covered by the many Leader and Monitor positions. In Terms 1, 2 and 3 students experience a range of responsibilities and in Term 4 the girls nominate which position they would like to undertake. The girls look forward to fulfilling their responsibilities well and are excited to be developing a range of leadership skills. This commitment helps to foster independence as well as team spirit as the Monitors assist teachers and girls alike in Hillingdon.

There is supervised care of the girls daily from 8.15am and a full after school care service is available Monday to Friday until 6pm.


April 13, 2014

A great internship at the Ascham School!

24th of February was a very exciting day, because it was the first day for us at the Ascham School in Sydney! The first impression was amazing!! The school is so big and so beautiful…
The size is not comparable to any school in the Netherlands. We loved it!  All the teachers were so kind and they know exactly what they are doing. The girls looked pretty and they were all smiling and asked a lot of questions about where we came from and if they could learn some Dutch words.

The first day we could look around in all groups of Hillingdon and saw a lot of Dalton Education. Hillingdon is the location for the youngest girls where we do our internship.
Our internship is for 2 months, 5 days a week. We are 3 days a week in our class. Leonoor in Kindergarten and Nanoe in Year One.
We saw on our first day that we could introduce some extra Dalton elements in the Prep-School. After an interview with the teachers and the head of school, Judith Butcher, we knew all the wishes and things that we could improve.
The team of teachers really wanted an ‘assignment board’ to improve the self-reliance. The girls have 4 jobs to do during a week and they can decide when they want to do it. So, we made a board with colors. We gave tables different colors and so we marked the place to do one of the jobs. If a girl finished the assignment on table red, they can sign off the red color behind their own name and personal picture. 

The teachers told us that they wanted to show the girls what the program is for every day.  
So we made some cards for every part of the program during a week. You can introduce it to the children to let them know what they going to do on, for example, the Thursday. 
For some girls it would be better if you show it the day before, because when they go home, they know exactly what they can expect during the next day. The spot for the cards is very important, because it must be an orderly place. The teachers picked a good spot in the classroom.
We made also a ‘weather map’. The girls have to choose which kind of weather it is today and they can show it on the chart by putting the arrow at the right place.

The next two weeks is holiday. So after this period we have two weeks left at Ascham. We look forward to tell you how we have used it and what initiatives we have been able to take in the classroom. We like to introduce more Dalton elements at this Prep school part of Ascham.
In four weeks you will hear from us again!
Hope that you enjoyed it! 

Kind regards, Nanoe Lorkeers and Leonoor Berghuis
Students Katholieke Pabo Zwolle & interns at the Ascham School.
You can contact us at:


The detailed program will follow soon !

April 12, 2014


During the Dalton Congress last Wednesday in Deventer, Rene Berends gave a very interesting workshop about the new kernel value of Dalton: REFLECTION.

In this context he mentioned at a certain moment EXPEDITIONARY LEARNING and this triggered me also because I never heard about it before.

Expeditionary Learning Schools are models of comprehensive school reform based on the educational ideas of German educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. Expeditionary Learning Schools exist in more than 150 schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. They are exemplified by project-based learning expeditions, where students engage in interdisciplinary, in-depth study of compelling topics, in groups and in their community, with assessment coming through cumulative products, public presentations, and portfolios. The model emphasizes high levels of student engagement, achievement, and character development.

And this summary I found on internet:

Expeditionary Learning is built on ten design principles that reect the educational values and beliefs.
These principles also reect the design's connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools.

Learning happens best with emotion, challenge and the requisite support. People discover their abilities, values, passions, and responsibilities in situations that offer adventure and the unexpected. In Expeditionary Learning schools, students undertake tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. A teacher’s primary task is to help students overcome their fears and discover they can do more than they think they can.

Teaching in Expeditionary Learning schools fosters curiosity about the world by creating learning situations that provide something important to think about, time to experiment, and time to make sense of what is observed.

Learning is both a personal process of discovery and a social activity. Everyone learns both individually and as part of a group. Every aspect of an Expeditionary Learning school encourages both children and adults to become increasingly responsible for directing their own personal and collective learning.

Learning is fostered best in communities where students’ and teachers’ ideas are respected and where there is mutual trust.
Learning groups are small in Expeditionary Learning schools, with a caring adult looking after the progress and acting as an advocate for each child. Older students mentor younger ones, and students feel physically and emotionally safe.

All students need to be successful if they are to build the confidence and capacity to take risks and meet increasingly difficult challenges. But it is also important for students to learn from their failures, to persevere when things are hard, and to learn to turn disabilities into opportunities.

Individual development and group development are integrated so that the value of friendship, trust, and group action is clear. Students are encouraged to compete, not against each other, but with their own personal best and with rigorous standards of excellence.

Both diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative power, problem-solving ability, and respect for others. In Expeditionary Learning schools, students investigate and value their different histories and talents as well as those of other communities and cultures. Schools and learning groups are heterogeneous.
A direct and respectful relationship with the natural world refreshes the human spirit and teaches the important ideas of recurring cycles and cause and effect. Students learn to become stewards of the earth and of future generations.

Students and teachers need time alone to explore their own thoughts, make their own connections, and create their own ideas. They also need to exchange their reflections with other students and with adults.

We are crew, not passengers. Students and teachers are strengthened by acts of consequential service to others, and one of an Expeditionary Learning school’s primary functions is to prepare students with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service.

April 10, 2014

New website Dutch Dalton Association

During the opening of the Dutch Dalton Congress on April 9. 2014, the new website of  the NDV was introduced. 

At the same moment five new picto's were introduced. 

They symbolize five kernel values of Dalton.

April 8, 2014

Dutch Dalton Conference

Every two years the Dutch Dalton Association NDV is organizing a conference in Deventer.
Theme of this conference:

"Dalton on course"

Most of the Dutch Dalton schools will send a delegation to this conference.
21 workshops, but also the meeting of so many Dalton colleagues, will give new inspiration.

April 7, 2014

How actual is Dalton?

It is always a challenge to compare The Dalton Plan with  trends in the educational world.

During the last months I was triggered by two developments.

1. Primary Years Programme

2. 21st Century Skills

Lets have a look.

What is the Primary Years Programme?

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework designed for students aged 3 to 12. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It is defined by six trans disciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from six subject areas, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry-based learning.
The PYP is flexible enough to accommodate the demands of most national or local curriculums and provides the best preparation for students to engage in the IB Middle Years Programme.

The IB Primary Years Programme
           - addresses students’ academic, social and emotional well-bein
-encourages students to develop independence and to take responsibility for their own learning 
-supports students’ efforts to gain understanding of the world and to function comfortably within it
-helps students establish personal values as a foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop   and flourish.

The Primary Years Programme: preparing students to be active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.

21st Century Skills.

The elements described in this section as “21st century student outcomes” (represented by the rainbow) are the skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century.

1. Core Subjects (the 3 Rs) and 21st Century Themes

2. Learning and Innovation Skills
·         Creativity and Innovation
·         Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
·         Communication and Collaboration

3. Information, Media and Technology Skills
·         Information Literacy
·         Media Literacy
·         ICT Literacy
 4. Life and Career Skills

Of course we stay close to our Dalton roots, but it is obvious that we will adapt and integrate elements of new developments. 
Like we did since 1924 !

March 29, 2014



see the WEBSITE

March 26, 2014

Kilpatrick en Parkhurst

Piet van der Ploeg, docent en onderzoeker bij Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, schreef een zeer interessant artikel over de relatie van William H. Kilpatrick en helen Parkhurst.

"Voortschrijdend inzicht noopt mij een bewering in mijn boek over de oorsprong en de theorie van het daltononderwijs te corrigeren. Ik schreef daarin over de onderwijsfilosoof en onderwijsvernieuwer William Heard Kilpatrick, de man van de Project Method, leerling en collega van John Dewey, dat hij "bewondering" had voor Helen Parkhurst ("Het Dalton Plan: oorsprong en theorie van het daltonderwijs", 2010, p. 16). Uit nader onderzoek blijkt dat niet het geval te zijn. Ik heb me op het verkeerde been laten zetten door Parkhurst".

"Dit is ietwat genant, omdat ik anderen ervoor gewaarschuwd heb en erom gekritiseerd heb te gemakkelijk af te gaan op wat Parkhurst over haarzelf en haar verleden placht te vertellen en op wat haar vriendin Dorothy Luke uit haar mond opgetekend heeft en op wat eerst de biografe Diana Lager en later de Duitse onderzoekster Susanne Popp van Luke overgeschreven hebben. Parkhurst deed zichzelf graag belangrijker voor dan ze was (zie ook mijn "The Dalton Plan: recycling in the guise of innovation", Paedagogica Historica, 2013). Hierom kunnen we biografische informatie die op verhalen van Parkhurst zelf terug gaat niet altijd zonder meer vertrouwen. Toch was ik domweg afgegaan op vriendin Luke en biografe Lager die beiden spreken van een vriendschappelijke band tussen Kilpatrick en Parkhurst en inderdaad van wederzijdse bewondering".

De volledige tekst vindt u HIER

March 25, 2014

21st Century Skills

The Framework presents a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes (a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies) with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century and beyond.
The key elements of 21st century learning are represented in the graphic and descriptions below. The graphic represents both 21st century student outcomes (as represented by the arches of the rainbow) and 21st century learning support systems (as represented by the pools at the bottom).

See the original article HERE

March 24, 2014

Some Members of Dalton International are in the slide show of the homepage.

March 23, 2014

Colour your Dalton praxis.

Our latest book is available in three languages now.

Order the Dutch or German version HERE

Order the Polish version HERE

March 21, 2014


A lot of practical material to organize reflection in the 

classroom is available.

More information