In early June 2019, the delegation of Likeda Education went to the Netherlands to visit Dalton International. Led by Roel Rohner, the president of Dalton International, and Dr Agata Sowinska, the head of the Dalton International Research Platform, the delegation visited four local Dalton schools.

 

Daltonschool de Leeuwerik

Daltonschool de Leeuwerik is located in Leiderdorp. The core value of the school is to respect and trust students as well as to treat each child as an individual. According to President Rohner, this Dalton school has the best campus in the Netherlands.

Indoor theatre
Irregular shape tables

After entering the door of the school, there was an indoor theatre where students could freely study or rest on the steps. The second floor was the “Da Vinci” space. The shape of tables in the space was irregular. The most impressive were the holes in the middle of the table. In this space, students could put their creativity on utilizing the unique shape of these tables. For example, students could get into the holes to conduct a group discussion. Beside “Da Vinci” space, there were also many tables, chairs and bookshelves in other public spaces on the campus to encourage students to walk out of the classroom and learn independently. “Dalton is in my heart,” Richard van den Berg, who was the principal of Daltonschool de Leeuwerik, said. The design of the campus was student-centred which was reflecting the philosophy of the Dalton Plan.

The principal of Wenzhou Dalton Elementary School Ms Bai Lili (left) and the principal Richard (right)

 

Lorentz School

Mr Jerden Janssen who was the principal of Lorentz School told the delegation that theme of the school was “Ownership” this year, which meant to be the master of learning. President Rohner added, “the more teachers teach, the fewer students learn.” Teachers were only helpers and guides of students in Dalton school.

Autodidacticism had been practised in Lorentz School. Principal Janssen said that teachers would announce the time and place of the lecture when they wanted to teach a topic so that students could decide whether to attend the lecture or not. Teachers would only give some hints when necessary. For instance, told students, “you seem to don’t understand this question. Please come to my class,” or “you have mastered this topic completely. You can spend your time on other class.” This approach helped students to build up correct self-concept. Students arranged their study appropriately by themselves which was a performance of responsibility.

Board of completed tasks

 

Daltonschool de Achtbaan

When the delegation arrived at Daltonschool de Achtbaan in Amersfoort, there was a bus outside the school. The bus driver was a friend of a teacher. He gave a “ticket” to each student to take them to travel around the community. He also explained the public transport system for students. This example showed that education could happen anywhere. Compare to the venue of teaching, more important thing was being student-centred. Encouraging students to involve in teaching activities is emphasized by the Dalton Plan.

The bus became a classroom

The delegation met a girl who had been living in China before. She introduced the schedules, charts and learning objectives in the campus and presented her task list in fluent Mandarin. The girl said that she preferred the Dalton school compared to the private school which she attended in China. She explained that Dalton Plan gave her more freedom so she could learn to arrange the task by herself and cooperate with others. She also learnt that she must be responsible for her choices.

Principal Bai (central) was talking with the girl who could speak Mandarin

 

De Globetrotter

Sonja Duits Jorn vanDam, the principal of De Globetrotter, had a great idea. He hoped that this school could be suitable for all children, including preschool children, early wisdom children, children with special education need, etc.

He also put his words into action. De Globetrotter will enrol children with special needs in the next semester. Therefore, the Dalton Plan can extend to these special groups who are easily been neglected. President Rohner expressed his joy and appreciation for this attempt.

Principal Jorn (right) introduced Proud Boards

Proud Boards are set in many Dalton schools. It is a small space which was left by teachers on the wall for each student. Students can post anything which they want to exhibit, such as homework, works, and photos. Teachers will summarize regularly and put the things from proud boards into portfolios of students.

 

Photo of President Rohner (fifth from the right), Principal Richard (fourth from the left) and delegation of Likeda Education

In this trip to Dalton International in the Netherlands, the delegation of Likeda Education drew lessons from the experience of practising the Dalton Plan. At the same time, we discovered that Dalton Plan has been realized in Wenzhou Dalton Elementary School already. Likeda Education will continue to explore more advanced and appropriate teaching methods for Chinese children.