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In The Early World

In the Early World helped change the course of education in New Zealand and across the world.

Described by one reviewer as “possibly the best book about teaching ever written”, this book is important not only as a brilliant demonstration of the creative capacities of all children but also in its profound implications as to the nature of the learning process. Elwyn Richardson and his small rural primary school at Oruaiti in Northland in the 1950s became an international symbol of progressive education in New Zealand with a child-centred approach to learning focusing on creative and environmental education. The experimental school featured an integrated curriculum, values education, inquiry learning, philosophy, te reo Māori and creative thinking.

This edition restores the original colour of the first edition and includes several new colour photographs and illustrations, giving readers a better feel for the richness and creativity of the Oruaiti school environment. Richardson’s 1961 publication 40 Oruaiti Prints has also been included here as an appendix. The book contains a new foreword by educationalist Dr Gwenneth Phillips as well as an epilogue that brings the story up to the present day.

Also available is a DVD featuring a 32 minute film first released in 1994 featuring footage of Oruaiti School shot by Elwyn Richardson in 1960 with a commentary by the author. The DVD includes a documentary entitled The Song of the Bird made in 1989 by the Auckland College of Education featuring an interview with the author. 


Digital editions

This title is available in e-book and kindle editions from