Think Equal in Greater Manchester – Supporting Social Emotional Development and Wellbeing in the Early Years

Greater Manchester is committed to ensuring that every child has the best start in life and has recently invested in a curriculum-based programme to support the social emotional development and wellbeing of all 5 years old across the city region.

THINK EQUAL is a 30-week evidence based programme that supports the development of social and emotional skills of 3 to 6 year olds. The programme is currently being delivered in 600 reception classes across all 10 localities within Greater Manchester, jointly funded by the ICS Mental Health Programme and the GMCA School Readiness programme. The ambition is to reach all 1,239 classes by the end of this year.  A targeted pilot in nursery settings will begin in early spring.

The programme, is rooted in mental health and social justice and aims to build a strong foundation for individual and societal progress, making communities safer, healthier, stronger, more prosperous and equal. The programme recognises the importance of influencing children’s learning experiences at their earliest start when attitudes and behaviour are taking root.

The programme is also supporting Greater Manchester’s covid recovery plans, recognising the impact the pandemic has had on early childhood development. Research from Ofsted has highlighted that children under 5 are continuing to struggle with socialising and making friends, lack confidence and often struggling with anxiety.


Photo of a large wall called the literacy working wall. The wall has a lot of items stuck to it - post it notes, cut out hands, photos and drawing