Teacher and pupil sat at a table reading a book

Think Equal

About Think Equal

Think Equal (external website) is a curriculum based programme that support social and emotional development in the early years. It is rooted in mental health and social justice and aims to build a strong foundation for individual and societal progress. The 30-week programme is fully aligned with the early years foundation stage (EYFS) curriculum and teaches 25 skills and competencies to help children through their Early Childhood Education.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the NHS Mental Health in Education Programme has fully funded the Think Equal programme for every Reception class across Greater Manchester.  Greater Manchester's Think Equal project is a UK first in terms of its scale and demonstrates the innovative approach to doing things differently for Greater Manchester. 

Think Equal helps children learn, to:

  • Manage their own emotions and impulsive behaviours
  • Build their confidence and self-esteem
  • Have empathy and show consideration for others
  • Solve problems effectively and learn to resolve conflicts peacefully
  • Build critical thinking skills and make responsible decisions
  • Maintain healthy relationships and learn to collaborate


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Designed by global experts in the fields of education, human rights, neuroscience and psychology, the Think Equal programme is evidence-based, holistic, easy to use and impactful. It offers a narrative based approach and is delivered flexibly through a collection of picture books with accompanying teachers notes and lesson plans. 

How is Think Equal benefitting children in Greater Manchester?

Greater Manchester wants every child to have the best start in life and start school ready to learn. We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on early childhood development and the core skills that children need when starting school. Think Equal provides a curriculum based response to these challenges, helping to support social and emotional learning for our youngest children in Grater Manchester.   

The programme complements and aligns with wider approaches that support social and emotional wellbeing and development including rights based and trauma informed schools.

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What do our local teachers say about Think Equal?

“Great resources, good size text to show to the class, suitable length for concentration and excellent choice of story. The skin tone activity was really good for challenging the misconceptions around "black / white / brown.”

Manchester teacher, 2022

“We started Marvellous Me this week and it was well received by children. They enjoyed reading the book and relating it to their own classmates. The resources were also great for the children to use in provision."

Rochdale teacher, 2022 

"The books are fantastic, and they are definitely making the children think about things in a different way.”

Salford teacher, 2023

“After recognising a noticeable dip in the personal, social and emotional development of our children following the impact of COVID, we became a Trauma Informed School and starting delivering programmes with a social, emotional focus including Think Equal. As a Nursery school in the heart of a very deprived and vulnerable area, we have a lot of children and families who have experienced trauma in their lives either in our country or from their starting point in life and we are always looking at ways to support them.. We have prided ourselves on introducing Think Equal alongside TIUSK and staff feel they now have a better understanding of emotional well-being and how we can provide our children with the best care. We are also able to provide support to our parents which is having such a positive, happy impact within our nursery community.”

Rachel O-Neil, Headteacher at Hoyle Nursery School, Bury

How can your setting get involved with Think Equal?

The Mayor of Greater Manchester has committed to rolling this out across reception classes in Greater Manchester. We started rolling out Think Equal across Greater Manchester in September 2022 and as of summer 2023 we have funded over 960 reception classes in over 600 schools.  Although sign up has now closed, you can find out more about how you can access the programme through contacting the Think Equal project coordinator below.

Funding has also been made available for 500 nursery settings across Greater Manchester in areas where school readiness outcomes have been particularly impacted by the pandemic. To find out if your nursery is eligible, please contact the Think Equal project coordinators listed below.

Email Joanna Ainsworth – joanna.ainsworth@thinkequal.org supports schools implementing Think Equal in Tameside, Trafford, Salford, Stockport and South Manchester

Email Lucy Hammond – lucy.hammond@thinkequal.org.uk supports schools implementing Think Equal in Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Wigan and North Manchester

You can follow Think Equal on social media:

Think Equal on Instagram (external website) Think Equal on Facebook (external website) Think Equal in LinkedIn (external website) Think Equal on Twitter (external website)