The Dalton principles into practice

Assignments

In all groups, assignments come in many different forms, ranging from daily assignments to weekly assignments for the older groups. Every assignment includes a base component and a component in which the children can select tasks themselves. The base component is divided into three levels, which are used to classify the instruction groups. Of course, a student can always switch to a higher level (for example, if a student is strong at mathematics but not at a high reading level).

Task

The base task is determined by the teacher, and the choice task is determined between the student and the teacher. The student will typically select a task from the selection box, which is a cupboard that contains many challenging materials arranged according to the principle of multiple aptitudes: word-smart, calculation-smart, music-smart, move-smart, nature-smart, vision-smart, people-smart, and self-smart.

The children must plan and administer their own work, and they can select the location where they want to work (and often with whom they want to work). They must inspect their own completed work and—in consultation with the teacher—decide whether and how to improve their work. Tests are administered by the teacher, of course.

Deferred consideration

A highly important—and sometimes difficult—aspect of this system is that the teacher is not always available; sometimes, he/she is busy with other children. When this is the case, the student can either wait for the teacher or consult another child, for example, his/her mate (another child in the group from whom the student can ask for help and vice-versa).

Tutoring

At Daltonschool Oegstgeest, the older children tutor the younger students in a variety of subjects such as reading, play, creativity, and sports. In fact, there is very little distance between the 12-year-old students and the 5-year-old students, and most of the children know each other. This provides a nice feeling of security to students of all ages, which we see in the playground, where students of all ages interact.

Portfolio

Children who are active and productive develop pride in themselves. We encourage our students to achieve this sense of pride and to show it to their parents. Positive results are stored in scrapbooks, and as the children become older, in a digital portfolio, MaxClass. With MaxClass, the children make an image of their work using a tablet and then incorporate it into their portfolio; parents have access to their student’s portfolio online, thereby staying abreast of their children’s results and celebrating their achievements.

Results

As a parent of a Dalton student, you want to know how Daltonschool Oegstgeest performs. In cognitive development, our students perform above average. Of course, although we expect our students to score as high as possible (taking into account their potential and talent), many skills cannot be quantified. For example, learning to plan an assignment, use an agenda, and cooperate with fellow students are important skills that are difficult to measure precisely. Nevertheless, our secondary education teachers tell us that our former students are confident with respect to these skills.
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