An early-years education programme which encourages children to build their confidence and self-esteem while managing their emotions at a young age is being introduced in Glasgow nurseries.
Think Equal aims to prevent harmful behaviours in later life by supporting the emotional and social development and wellbeing of children aged three to six.
The programme uses a series of picture books with accompanying resources and lesson plans to learn about equality and kindness.
The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit is supporting its rollout, with around half of Glasgow’s council-run nurseries already signing up.
Speaking at the launch of the programme at an event held at Nithsdale Road Nursery, Jimmy Paul, head of the SVRU, said: “The SVRU’s vision for Scotland is that it is the safest country in the world to live in and our public health model to achieving that goal supports pilot projects working in the primary prevention arena.
“This vision is only achievable if we all work together, this includes making sure young people have the best start in life, to allow them to grow and reach their full potential.
“The delivery of the Think Equal programme aims to support staff working in the early years settings who are helping to lay the positive foundations for children, allowing them to build their confidence and self-esteem while teaching them about respect, empathy and kindness.”
Glasgow’s initial rollout, funded by British Airways, will reach an estimated 3,000 children in its first year.
To date, Think Equal has reached over 390,000 children in 30 countries.
Leslee Udwin, Think Equal founder and executive chair, said: “By implementing Think Equal, Glasgow is cementing its status as an innovator in education and as a city committed to creating a better society, by focusing on the importance of early years emotional and social learning.
“That they already have half of the city’s nurseries signed up to the programme is a testament to their forward-thinking approach, and we’re looking forward to seeing more and more settings adopt Think Equal moving forward. British Airways’ support of the rollout is also invaluable, and is the perfect example of a business working as a force for good in the world.
“Teachers who have taught the Think Equal programme are able to cite countless examples of positive behaviour change. By investing in our children’s emotional and social wellbeing, we really can reduce instances of harmful behaviours in later life and lessen the damage they cause to our society.”
Councillor Christina Cannon, City Convener for Education and Early Years, said Think Equal would be a useful addition to the learning and teaching resources.
“We are always looking at innovative and ground-breaking ways in which to complement our well-established nurturing principles which are embedded in schools and nurseries across the city to support our children, young people, and staff,” she said.
“Our children and families deserve the very best and to be equipped with the skills to help them navigate life’s challenges and no more so following the impact of the pandemic.
“We are very interested to see the research and data over the next few months as Think Equal is rolled out across our nurseries.
“We know, via our nurture initiative, that early intervention works.”
Mary Brew, Head of Responsible Business & Community Investment at British Airways, said: “We’re delighted to support Think Equal as part of our BA Better World Community Fund. Our fund strives to support organisations and social enterprise groups that deliver benefits and life-changing opportunities for the communities we serve around the UK.
“By working with Think Equal, we’re able to support the charity in implementing their brilliant education programmes in schools to help give children the best start in life. We’re particularly happy to be supporting the scheme in areas we have strong ties to, such as Glasgow, with many of our colleagues and customers based in the city.”