The child at school

 Special guest: the child at school

The Treehorn Express

‘The Treehorn Express is a tribute to those children who are forced to encounter Standardised Blanket Testing in GERM countries and are forced to suffer from distress, a narrowed curriculum and loss of progressive cognitive development. Like little Treehorn, they are wonderful young citizens, ignored by those who are expected to care and exploited by those who don’t.



Treehorn is that little fellow with the bright green skin, just under your nose, appealing to you to take notice of him.


 The Child At School

Our guest today is the child at school who is about to take charge of the 21st Century. The importance of its experiences at primary school level cannot be over-stressed.

“A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. Today’s child is going to sit where you are sitting, and when you are gone, attend to the things which you think are important. You may adopt all the policies you please; but how they are carried out depends on the child at school today. That little child is going to assume control of your cities, states and nations. That little pupil is going to take over your churches, schools, universities and corporations. All your books, policies and ideas are going to be judged by children at school today. The fate of humanity is in their hands.”

[Abraham Lincoln]

  •  The child from the age of five to twelve years has a variety of needs which may be broadly described as intellectual, aesthetic, social, emotional, physical and spiritual. The primary school has a vital role in assisting parents and the wider society to satisfy these needs. In fulfilling this role the school cannot operate in a vacuum nor be controlled by those who do not understand the uniqueness of each child and each school. It must work closely with the home and the community first and foremost.
  •  The narrow view that the school should be restricted to a specific range of cognitive skills, known as the 3Rs , is inappropriate and incomplete. The school is an essential learning centre where those skilled and knowledgeable in the nature of child learning can provide the opportunities for individual children’s development. Teachers possess these skills and knowledge. They are assisted by what they know about child growth and development; and they apply their professional expertise to the welfare of each child.
  • Each child is unique. Each has different needs, interests, levels of achievement, attitudes, spans of attention and backgrounds.
  • Aspects that are consistent include the following:
    • they are naturally curious and interested in the world around them;
    • they enjoy play and prefer to be happy;
    • their curiosity disposes them to handle things, explore situations and attempt new efforts;
    • they usually feel thrilled and motivated by achievement as much as they feel disappointed and rejected by failure;
    • they learn effectively when their own interests are being satisfied;
    • they learn by doing, observing, imitating and teaching other children. For them, learning is an active occupation.
  • Despite the similarities of interest, they grow and develop at different rates. These rates are not closely linked to their chronological age. The appropriateness of each learning experience is determined by the child. Within a group of twenty children, there will be twenty unique individuals and no attempts at standardisation with significantly alter the differences between them.
  • Schools are places that concentrate on intellectual development in a number of aspects of learning that are considered appropriate. This involves the development and refinement of the levels of Language, Mathematics, Science, Music, Art to suit the child. The child is helped to grow as a healthy and satisfied social being with an understanding of the world. These aspects are called subjects or curriculum offerings. They form a network that indicates the interrelatedness and interdependence of the offerings as they relate to child growth. The aspects may be compartmentalised in program planning or for descriptive purposes but, for the child they form global learning experiences.
  •  Schools tend to emphasise intellectual development that enhances the experiences that the child has at home and in the community. The society of the child emphasises certain intellectual lines of development as mentioned above. But, in other ways as well, the school is viewed as a vital socialising institution that satisfies a wide variety of social needs.
  • A child spends a great part of life as a member of a group. The group may be the family group, a specified community group, an unstructured peer group in the playground or in the neighbourhood. Membership of group confers certain rights and privileges. The experience of membership provides for development in co-operation, communication, tolerance, self-identity, ways of working in small social systems and in general relationships with each other. Membership engenders first-hand experiences in personal trait development. Society hopes that the learning outcomes of peer-influenced development will be positively consistent with prevailing social mores. The social milieu of the primary school is a vital part of the life-long development of people and of society itself.
  • The school is a focal point for individual experiences to meet. Social and intellectual backgrounds meet and mix at primary school. If it can arrange an environment that matches most individual needs and is able to develop them further, it will contribute substantially to the economic and social development of the country. National development depends on it.
  • An holistic learning environment – free from fear – in a school climate of love, learnacy and laughter is most essential for the child of the first-quarter of the 21st century, because each is confronted by technological and social changes and is more dominated by corporate and political control than any other group in history. The true spirit of primary schooling needs to prevail for the child’s sake.

[Original written for Primary Children in the A.C.T. –Canberra Publishing & Printing Co. 1981]


Vote TREEHORN for P.M.

VOTE for KIDS – NOT party politics. Don’t let ‘scores on tests’ control schooling.


Phil Cullen No. 83 A.M., A.Ed., B.Ed., Dip.Ed.Admin. M.Ed.Admin[Hons], Former Q’ld Director of Primary Education, FACE, FACEL, FQIEL,, Gold Medal FACEL, Life Member QSPSSA, QSPSCA,QSPSA,QSPPA,BPSRLSA. Founder:Treehorn Express, FNQPPA, Primary School Principal 23 years 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443


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