There is increasing interest in Dalton education. For many parents, teachers and principals, the principles of this form of innovative education offer a direction to take in the further development of their schools. The origin of Dalton education lies in America. Its initiator, Helen Parkhurst, began her teaching career in rural Wisconsin more than a hundred years ago, in the autumn of 1904. She taught her students to work on assignments independently, with the freedom to plan and complete them as they saw fit, enlisting each other's help and the teacher's assistance when needed. Since then, Dalton education has evolved, but the essence of what Parkhurst intended has remained. As the popularity of Dalton education grows, so does the need for information about Parkhurst's life, her ideas, and her own teaching experiments. This biography aims to meet that need. It paints a picture of a woman who wanted to give children a voice in their work and in their own lives and succeeded in doing so through her tirelessness and powerful personality. But that drive also led to conflicts, disillusions and disappointments.
Drs. René Berends works as a researcher on Dalton education at the research group for reformpedagogics at Saxion University of Applied Science in Deventer (The Netherlands). He is an International Dalton Consultant with Dalton International.