Niño ELA shares learnings from Think Equal SEL pilot
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Niño ELA shares learnings from Think Equal SEL pilot

by Freya Lucas

March 07, 2024

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider Niño ELA has shared learnings from its participation in a pilot program with Think Equal, a worldwide initiative that operates in early childhood settings to provide a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Program. 


Think Equal’s program is aimed at children aged three to six years, and covers 25 essential skills and competencies, such as understanding others’ feelings (empathy), treating everyone equally regardless of gender, and solving conflicts peacefully. 


The program helps build important SEL skills which leads to more positive behaviours in life. It helps decrease chances of feeling depressed, facing discrimination, and engaging in negative behaviours as they grow older.


Using simple stories and lesson plans, the three level program aims to improve the early learning experiences of children as their attitudes and behaviours are just beginning to form.


Each level contains narrative picture books, comprehensive lesson plans and engaging activities. Taught over 30 weeks, with 3 lessons weekly, the programme is designed by leading experts in psychology, education and human rights to create prosocial neural pathways in the developing brain.


Institute of Positive Education invitation


In 2019, the Institute of Positive Education invited Niño ELA to be involved in a social and emotional learning pilot program with Think Equal. 


Participation in the pilot included children from a four-year old classroom, the lessons were taken with the whole group, with seven children being selected (with parental permission) to be included in the data provided back to Think Equal. The lessons consist of 1.5 hours per week over 30 weeks, consisting of books (storytelling) and lesson plans.


Niño ELA’s Point Cook Centre participated in the Think Equal pilot program as a treatment group, which meant that the data collected from the seven selected children was provided to the ‘Australian Randomised Control Trial Think Equal Early Childhood’ Program for analysis collated by Yale University.


Early Childhood Teacher Audrey Chow, has facilitated the Think Equal program since its first implementation, praising the program for the way it supports children’s key skills such as critical thinking, self-regulation, and peaceful conflict resolution.


“The Think Equal Program fosters environments where children learn to consider multiple perspectives, manage their emotions, and resolve conflicts peacefully through dialogue and negotiation,” she said. 


“After completing just three of the Think Equal lessons and engaging with parents about our classroom activities, I observed a noticeable improvement in the children’s empathy, kindness, and understanding toward their peers,” she said. 


“They began to express acceptance and inclusivity, exemplified by statements like “it’s okay to be different, but we are still friends” and “He can also play the game with us – it’s not just for girls, boys can play too.” This shift has fostered more positive social interactions and relationships among them.”


Statistical analysis demonstrated that the children who participated in the Think Equal program were more emotionally regulated, less emotionally dysregulated, less anxious and withdrawn, demonstrated greater effortful control, demonstrated greater extraversion, and had lower negative affect. These findings provide very strong evidence-based validation for the extensive benefits of the Think Equal program within the Australian context.


Learn more about Think Equal Global here. More information about  Niño ELA is available here

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