“The Treehorn Express” is a short newsletter that I send to friends, colleagues and anyone else who might be interested. I send it every few days or so about school issues of importance. I am working on the ‘constant dripping’ principle in the hope that one or two child-oriented folk will take notice and work enthusiastically towards the cancellation of the evil Naplan blanket testing progam in Australia as soon as possible…. before any more damage is done to the efficient and effective pupilling processes in our first-rate primary schools. That’s the major aim. Naplan threatens the financial and social future of Australia. Other current issues are not neglected however.
The title is based on the story of a little primary school lad who is the hero of a 1971 Young Puffin book by Florence Patty Heide called “The Shrinking of Treehorn”. It’s a gem. It illustrates, beautifully, the plain fact that most adults ignore, almost completely, the problems that threaten the welfare of children of primary school age. An Amazon Review says, “Treehorn is clearly shrinking and his parents aren’t the least bit interested. His mother is obsessed with whether or not her cake will rise. His father, at one point addressing a son who can barely see over the table, states blindly, “Nobody shrinks”. Treehorn doesn’t seem to be bothered that his clothes are hanging over all his extremities; he just feels someone should know. But the adults he tries to notify brush off his claims as either a ploy for attention or downright bad behaviour. His parents, his teacher and his principal respond [or fail to respond] to his drastically diminishing stature in ways that will ring true to any kid who has tried to convince adults of the extistence of fairies, the Loch Ness monster or things that go bump in the night.
It’s a story for every child who has ever felt ignored by grown-ups. It’s a lesson for all of us.
If interested folk wish to receive ‘The Treehorn Express’ they can just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org It’s so good to meet others who care about school kids.
Outstanding New Zealand educationist, Allan Alach manages a web-site http://treehornexpress.wordpress.com where recent copies can be accessed.