A small boy is making a model of his toy mouse out of yellow playdough.

What is Mouse Club?

What is Mouse Club

Mouse Club is a project designed to help teachers and practitioners support parents with their children's readiness for school. It is a fun way to engage parents in supporting learning, and to build relationships and dialogue between parents and school staff. By using Mouse Club, school staff can easily help parents develop their confidence and skills through encouragement and feedback, while also improving their own confidence and skills in working with parents.

The aims of the Mouse Club are:

  • To assist staff in developing positive relationships with families.
  • To educate parents on ways to help their children prepare for and adjust to school.
  • To empower parents with the necessary skills and confidence to support their child's learning.
  • To facilitate relationship-building between parents and provide support to one another.

A report by Oxford University researched the impact of Mouse Club and found that it significantly impacted home learning. Data was collected from intervention and control groups at the start and end of the trial project.

The report states, "Taken together, the significant impact on Home Learning Environment scores and the near significant trend on the Family Support subscale suggest that the PEN programme positively influenced parental behaviours at home."

The study found that:

  • 70% of the children targeted by the project made accelerated progress (3+ levels) in reading, compared with 45% of the nursery children overall.
  • 70% of the targeted children made accelerated progress in speaking, compared with 48% of the nursery children overall.
  • 90% of the targeted children made accelerated progress in maths, compared with 80% of the nursery children overall.
  • Four out of five schools that provided comparative data found that the children involved in the project had progressed considerably more than the nursery children overall.

Mouse Club resources are designed to help schools provide parents with comprehensive support in addressing the various parenting challenges that they may have. Mouse Club can help parents promote language development in their children, tackle toilet training, address the issue of excessive screen time, promote physical activity at home, teach independence skills, such as self-care and problem-solving skills, and establish routines and healthy sleep habits.

Parenting can be an isolating experience, especially for new parents, and through Mouse Club, schools and settings can also help parents build a support network and connect with other parents to share knowledge and skills that support their children's learning.

How does Mouse Club work?

Schools and EYFS settings usually organise stay-and-play sessions during the summer term or school holidays before the children start school. During these sessions, the families are given a toy mouse to prepare for school and do activities with. The high-quality family home learning activities support language development, outdoor activities, establishing routines, building independence, developing motor skills, and creativity. Parents are provided with guidance sheets containing helpful information on toileting, talking to their child, managing behaviour, starting school, keeping healthy, and coping with the first days at school.

Once established, Mouse Club becomes part of the teacher toolbox. Regular stay-and -play sessions held to share learning with parents, and Mouse Club Mondays where children can share home learning successes are just a few examples of strategies that make Mouse Club so successful.

Case Study: Medlock Primary School

V was 4 years old and had no bedtime routine, causing concern for the staff. To help the family establish a routine, the staff provided a Mouse Club bedtime routine and toileting charts, leaflets, and activities. V started taking Mouse to bed and getting into routines with him. Soon, Mouse's routines became her routines, and her concerns became Mouse's concerns. This led to a much-improved dialogue between the family and the staff, resulting in a bedtime routine being established and the child making significant progress at school.

 "The children's faces when they found Mouse – just wonderful!" A teacher

"He found a new confidence with the mouse and did lots of activities with it." A parent

Mouse helped "with his talking and becoming more independent at school and with toilet training." A teacher.

Buy the Mouse Club Pack here

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