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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The Living World by Rachel Rohloff

The Living World is an introduction to natural science using the outdoors as a playground and place of learning. With more than 170 hands-on and engaging activities, this beautiful hardcover book inspired play, fun and tactile activities designed to let children explore the world around them.

It teaches younger readers scientific skills, key vocabulary, and explains the living world with a focus on flora, fauna and people.

Divided into four chapters, each offers a short introduction, general learning outcomes and plenty of activities and ideas for multi-sensory play, exploration, experimentation, and creativity. Crucially it also offers extension ideas for those children that really want to extend their learning, as well as teaching tips that are practical and useful.

It is obvious the author, Rachel Rohloff, is a teacher. This is a practical, well set out book that will be an absolutely invaluable resource in any education setting. We were lucky enough to review this during Covid-19 lockdown and our copy is loaded with post-it notes and crinkled pages - it is such a usable book, even for those with no teaching background.

This is not a book that will sit on a shelf and only be pulled down on occasion. This is a book that demands to be used. It will be like a good cookbook - you know it's a valuable one when the pages are marked by smears of batter and clouds of flour between the pages. With The Living World, it will be there right beside you as you explore the world, inevitably picking up little grains of sand or flower petals that get squished and left in the margins.

I loved the focus Rohloff gives to play in this book - she really understands the way that children learn best. Surprisingly, learning through play is still somewhat of an unknown within primary settings (although it is changing and it appears the resistance is more with the parents than the teachers). Rohloff stays one step ahead, weaving research and evidence about play all through the book.

Activities in the book have been derived from the ‘22 urges of play’ from The Sacred Urge to Play, by Pennie Brownlee and Kimberley Crisp, and will encourage different types of play and exploration.

Beautiful photography and a wonderful design - that absolutely aids the practicality of the book - make this a simply stunning resource.

The Living World will inspire the scientist within every child, developing a love for the living world through curiosity, experimentation and most importantly, through play.

Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

New Shoots Publishing, RRP $47.99


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