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UBC Theses and Dissertations

You need to get into their space : a qualitative study of the Moe the Mouse ™ program Donovan, James


Early education programs for preschoolers often have a greater impact on language and literacy outcomes than those offered later on (Ball, 2007; Canadian Council on Learning, 2007; Gerlach & Zeidler, 2004; Townsend & Konold, 2010), particularly when the programs are strengths based, culturally attuned, and relationships focused. Moe the Mouse ™ is one such program, addressing early speech, language and preliteracy skills within a culturally relevant framework for preschoolers with Aboriginal backgrounds. To date, there has been little empirical research on the Moe the Mouse ™ program. The current study sought to explore the perspectives of people who use or support the program through focus group discussions and qualitative analyses as one step in evaluation of the program. Methodology: Sixteen practitioners who used or supported the Moe the Mouse ™ program were recruited through a local community centre to give their perspectives on the program in focus group discussions. Three of the groups met just after they received training on the program, and the fourth group, six months later. Using qualitative methodology, participants’ audio-recorded discussions were transcribed and sorted into broad thematic categories, allowing a discovery of themes important to participants. Results: Within the broad topics of culturally relevant curricula and perspectives on Moe the Mouse ™, two major themes emerged from the participants’ discussions. These themes included (1) supporting a child’s identity through adaptable and engaging programs, and (2) building a diverse and capable team from all aspects of a child’s community. Discussion: The emergent themes of supporting children’s identities and relationship building contextualize the Moe the Mouse ™ program as one that is strengths-based, culturally relevant and relationship building. The themes also reflect the need to individualize a program within a playful and engaging group context. In early childhood education, there is a need to support Aboriginal communities in self-determination, cultural programming, and intergenerational healing through cultivating relationships and exploring strategies that practitioners and families can use. From the participant’ points of view, Moe the Mouse ™ approaches these broad goals.

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