100 Years of Dalton

Celebrating a century of Dalton

We celebrate 100 years of the Dalton Plan, its principles of independence, collaboration, responsibility, and reflection and the generations of girls who have benefitted.

Unique approach, proven success​

The Dalton Plan has underpinned how Ascham girls have approached their studies, their careers and their lives since 1922. 

The unique teaching and learning framework of the Dalton Plan is proven to guide girls’ intellectual and personal growth, enriching their School years and life beyond. It provides a robust platform on which girls learn to build respectful connections, develop a strong sense of responsibility and self-management, shape their decision making and build confidence, and become self-directed, intrinsically-motivated individuals.

“The three key aspects of Dalton—the Lesson, the Study and the Assignment—together make you a very independent thinker.
Dalton has really helped my learning, allowing me to extend myself and seek any extra help from my teacher.”

Margot Harris
Year 12 student and Chair of the 2022 Ascham School Committee

The power of the Dalton Plan is evident in our girls’ ‘can-do’ attitudes, resilient mindsets and academic buoyancy, more able to cope with setbacks and challenges while retaining a positive outlook throughout their learning and personal development.

Long after they have left Ascham and are pursuing fulfilling professional careers and personal lives, Ascham Old Girls retain a strong connection to and love for the Dalton Plan and the outcomes it has allowed them to achieve.

Proudly Ascham—our Dalton history

1919: Helen Parkhurst first develops Dalton

Helen Parkhurst was inspired by Maria Montessori and began developing the groundwork for The Dalton Plan.

1922: Margaret Bailey introduces Dalton to Ascham

Miss Margaret Bailey converts a garden building into a prep school to make room for senior school students to have a quiet study area.

1923: Margaret Bailey visits Helen Parkhurst in USA

Margaret Bailey travels abroad to research more education experiments. At that time, Helen Parkhurst publishes her book Education on the Dalton Plan.

1923-1965: Impact of first decades of the Dalton Plan at Ascham

Thanks to The Dalton Plan, many girls are completing their final year of school, and moving on to university. Dr Joan Storey received a university medal in Medicine.

1972: Dalton Fifty Years on - Miss Merilee Roberts’ reflections

Miss Merilee Roberts wrote ‘50 years of the Dalton Plan,’ where she attributed the success of the plan to the focus on student learning and a strong relationship between student and teacher.

1973: Mrs Rowena Danziger becomes the new Headmistress

Mrs Rowena Danziger steers Ascham through the remainder of the 20th century, and ensures the survival of the Dalton Plan by introducing new elements to the curriculum. 

2001-now: The Dalton Plan is adapted for the 21st Century

The Dalton Plan adapts to suit the demands of teaching learning in the 21st Century, including STEAM and innovation.

Its fundamental principles remain as they always have. 


Dalton voices

Generations of Ascham girls have been inspired by the unique classroom learning and individual development fostered by the Dalton Plan. They have learned to stretch themselves, to strive for their best and to stumble along the way, applying effort to meet the demands of the curriculum and in whatever pursuits they follow.

Catriona Booth (1982), President of the APA, outlines how the Dalton Plan provides girls with an inner confidence that sets them apart and benefits their careers.
Elly, Year 12, shares her thoughts on the unique approach to learning that Dalton provides.
Jason Higgins, Year 6 Coordinator at Ascham, expands on the four Dalton pillars and how they guide deeper and more responsible learning.


Dalton International

Ascham is the only Dalton Plan school in Australia; we are however part of a wider, international network of like-minded schools, joined in the firm belief that Dalton is a vitally important educational framework. Now more than ever it is invaluable in its approach to responsibility and collaboration in an increasingly disconnected world. 

This is an extract from a letter sent to Ascham from Roel Röhner, President of Dalton International, celebrating the occasion of our Dalton Centenary:

“Congratulations to everyone involved in the 100th Anniversary of the Dalton Plan at Ascham School! Your excellent management and team of teachers are continuously protecting the core values of the Dalton Plan and at the same time implementing the innovations in a modern Dalton education.

The Dalton Plan at Ascham stimulates the intellectual partnership between girls and teachers. Certainly, at the base of all educational activities lies mutual trust and respect, which is also the basis of Dalton Education worldwide. A Dalton school is also about taking care of the students’ wellbeing. Students shape the attitude of openness, they stimulate their own growth by creating a healthy, strong Dalton community. At Ascham the girls themselves express their appreciation of how the Dalton Plan is important for them in their social, professional and private life. The students are intrinsically motivated to achieve their own goals, be persistent, flexible and creative.

The Dalton way of school life in Ascham teaches the girls how to become independent, self-aware, responsible and cooperative citizens of the 21st century; a continuously transforming reality. Congratulations Ascham on your 100th Anniversary as a Dalton school.”

Related articles

Become part of Ascham

Live and learn in an exciting, vibrant environment that nurtures self-confidence, resilience and participation. Begin the enrolment process now or find out more about our approach.

We look forward to welcoming you.

Contact us

All rights reserved © 2022 Ascham School

ABN: 69 180 683 767

CRICOS: 00380E