The Dalton Plan, by Belle Rennie
(Honourable Secretary of the Dalton Association G.B)
The article was published as “preface” in “Report of a conference on the Dalton Plan in secondary schools”. April 1923
The Dalton Plan is a scheme of educational reorganisation worked out by Miss Helen Parkhurst and is the result of many years of practical experience as Director of the Children’s University School in New York.
It is applicable to the school work of pupils between the ages of eight and eighteen.
It aims, briefly expressed, are threefold.
In the first place to import that freedom for self-development which has proved so valuable in the case of infants into the school life of older children, while at the same time ensuring that they shall acquire a thorough mastery of the academic tasks set in the school curriculum.
In explaining the second aim of the Plan, Miss Parkhurst quotes Professor Dewey, who says: “The aim of a democratic education is not only to make an individual an intelligent participator in the life of his immediate group, but to bring the groups into such constant interaction, that no individual, no economic group could presume to live independently of others”.
The third aim is to give ‘a viewpoint’ since the psychological effect of presenting his work to the child in such a way as to enable him to see the goal at which he is aiming, is a stimulus of a most profound and far-reaching kind.
The Plan involves a re-organisation of school living, but no change in staff, standardisation, curriculum or method.
More will follow. R.R.