Reviewed by Betty Lumley
This review first appeared in the MAPE Newsletter Spring 2002
This piece of software is amazing in its simplicity and effectiveness. It is ideally suited to 3–5 year olds and its boast to make
'learning fun' is certainly true.
I have used it in a nursery and home situation and, in each setting, the children have been totally absorbed. In the home it was used in preference to their daily dose of 'Tweenies'. Their comments revealed they had made judgements built on previous knowledge, and learnt specific skills.
The disc consists of a 'Find the mouse' activity and five games in a toy box. Choices are made by moving a large arrow which changes colour when active. One child remarked 'it's no use pressing now it's not blue'. Leaving a game involves choosing yes or no written under a cat which is nodding yes or no and accompanied by the words 'do you want to stop playing'. Again, these little subtleties of nodding heads were noted by the children, 'That's how you can tell it says No'.
The commentary is very simple; words are matched to pictures and actions. Male and female voices are used; phrases like 'Oh no', 'Not this time', 'Sorry' sound very friendly and encouraging.
Find the mouse involves looking in all the rooms of a house; when the child clicks on an object the voice says 'under the mat' and all position prepositions are introduced.
The five games introduce skills of colour matching, phonic sounds in 3-letter words, pairs game, number recognition and shape matching. All these have three levels of difficulty. Again there is a simple commentary that gives meaning to what the children are doing. Educationally these activities are spot on.
D2digital have a web site – www.themouseclub.co.uk, which has many more excellent activities; they can be downloaded if you join, free at time of writing. The activities are all at three levels of difficulty and include mazes, hide and seek, stories, make a card, dot to dot and a page for adults.
The pages do take quite a time to load but there is a large bee to watch going along a scale and the children didn't seem to mind the wait.
This company has produced an attractive, reasonably priced product and seems to really understand the educational needs of the under fives.
I have taught Foundation and Key Stage one for over thirty years and have rarely found anything as suitable as this program.
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