Dalton Education

Dalton IKC Zeven Zeeën works according to the Dalton Plan. When we talk about Dalton education below, we are not just talking about the school but about the school, the preschool, the toddler combination and the day care. Together we work according to the Dalton Plan. Helen Parkhurst (1887-1974) is the founder of Dalton education. She herself says about this form of education: Dalton is not a method, not a system but an influence.

Parkhurst wants to turn children into people who are fearless in life, full of self-confidence, creative, enterprising, social and who take their social responsibility. ‘Fearless human beings’ is the somewhat old-fashioned term she uses for this. According to her, society needs these kinds of people, people who want to work together and thus serve society in solving the major political and social problems.

Dalton education today is not the same as Parkhurst’s Dalton Plan. The practice of today does not look the same as the practice of then, Parkhurst emphasized that her ideas should be experimented with,that is the essence of her ideas. Therefore, today’s dalton education looks different from her own dalton education just under one hundred years ago.

Mission Dalton Education

“Dalton education is given to every student.”

Dalton education stands for a broad education (both cognitive, cultural, sports and social-emotional) that contributes to strong person development.

Dalton education is adaptive education that fits pupils and invites them to take on challenges on the basis of (self) confidence in order to develop further.

A critical, investigative approach to modern developments and insights is a matter of course at a Dalton school. In this way Dalton education constantly moves with the times without losing sight of the effectiveness of education and the contribution of an enterprising pupil.

Vision Dalton education

“The result, that’s me”

Dalton education gives substance to a broad education in which intellectual and creative growth are balanced with social and personal growth. A pupil is challenged to bring out the best in himself.

To this end, Dalton education offers a living and learning environment where pupils are challenged to develop into fearless people with a critical and democratic basic attitude.

Dalton education wants to make an essential contribution to its pupils to enable them to function in a complex society by being enterprising and self-responsible in life, work and living together.

Purpose of Dalton Education

“The fearless human being”

Dalton education aims to design education more efficiently by aligning core curriculum goals with the needs, interests and competencies of students.

A Dalton teacher and pedagogical assistant leads this learning process where it is needed and guides it where it can be done. He or she sets a goal of promoting pupils’ working by themselves and working with each other in a safe pedagogical climate by giving them space to do so.

A Dalton pupil aims to acquire knowledge and skills in an enterprising and fearless manner.

The five core values

“The school functions as a social community”

Dalton IKC Zeven Zeeën is a community where pupils, teachers, educational staff, parents, school management and administration live and work together in a natural and structured way. Dalton IKC Zeven Zeeën is also a learning environment where students, teachers and pedagogical staff learn from and with each other. Because pupils work on their learning tasks together with teachers, pedagogical staff and fellow pupils, they learn to get along with each other and learn that they can help each other. Acquiring knowledge and skills in collaboration with others can facilitate learning. Pupils learn that there are differences between people. They learn to listen to and respect each other. When students collaborate with each other, they develop social skills and learn to reflect on the way they learn, such as assessing one’s own input and that of a peer, engaging in dialogue, learning to deal with disappointments, and experiencing a greater return from collaboration.

Freedom and Responsibility

“Freedom and responsibility together perform the miracle”

Freedom is necessary to be able to make your own choices and find your own ways. Freedom at Dalton IKC Seven Seas is being given the opportunity to organize task work by oneself. The stated curriculum and its requirements, the time limit, the work arrangements and the school rules form the boundaries within which the pupils learn to use their freedom. A pupil learns to take responsibility for himself and his environment, if his environment gives him the space and opportunities to do so. By giving pupils more freedom they can make their own choices and develop an active learning attitude. But freedom does not mean that anything goes. It is a task of the teacher and pedagogical employee to offer each pupil a structure to learn to handle freedom within limits. Pupils are given the space to discover and experiment, but at the same time they are confronted with the relationship between what they do and what it brings. This is a gradual learning process for pupils, in which self-knowledge and self-assessment play a major role.


Dalton is an “Efficiency measure.”

Dalton is a measure to work more effectively: ‘a simple and economic reorganization of the school’. Dalton IKC Seven Seas endorses Parkhurst’s ideas on this. She wants to make school learning more effective with her Dalton Plan. Therefore effectiveness and efficiency are two important concepts from the start. Effectiveness and efficiency presuppose clarity about educational outcomes. Parkhurst believes that education has a broad function. Education should also form children and youth culturally and morally, so that they become self-reliant and socially responsible: practiced in, accustomed to, and prepared for life, work, and living together. Dalton education is focused on the effective use of time, manpower and resources. Parkhurst, for the sake of efficiency, wants to put responsibility in the hands of pupils. She argues that if pupils are given a task, for which they are responsible and which they plan and carry out themselves in freedom, then education is much more effective than the sitting still and listening lessons that she herself went through. In her Dalton Plan, Parkhurst turns children into small entrepreneurs, as it were, who learn to take responsibility for school work, their own work, which they carry out in freedom.


“Experience is the best and indeed the only real teacher”

Independent learning and working at Dalton IKC Seven Seas is active learning and working. A student wants to work purposefully on a task or assignment and is able to seek help during this learning process if necessary. This way of working stimulates the problem-solving abilities of pupils. In order to function well later as an adult, a learner must learn to assess what decisions to make and the consequences of those decisions. Freedom of choice forces a learner to make independent decisions that are effective and responsible for them.


“I would be the first to hear welcome criticism.”

Reflexivity, thinking about your own behavior and your own work, is important at Dalton IKC Seven Seas. Students make an estimate of the difficulty and time of assignments beforehand. Afterwards an actual assessment is given and the estimates beforehand and the actual assessments afterward are regularly compared in small talk. In such discussions, attention can be paid to, for example, why a child always estimates the math assignments in the weekly task to be more difficult than they turn out to be (afterwards).