An Update from Think Equal Australia
What's been happening in 2020 so far,
and looking ahead to 2021...
We would like to sincerely thank you for your ongoing support of Think Equal Australia. You have enabled the program to reach hundreds of children and to provide critical research in the area of social and emotional development in early childhood. We want to assure you that despite the impact Covid-19 has had globally on early learning programs, the Think Equal team remains fully committed to reaching as many children as possible with its unique and explicitly taught curriculum of equality. Think Equal continues to be taught in the classrooms that were part of the pilot in 2019, however the pandemic has hindered the rollout to additional classrooms due to reduced numbers of children attending early years programs. As disruptive as the Covid-19 pandemic has been, it has provided an opportunity for a small sample of Think Equal resources to be released online for both parents and the early years sector to access. To sign up for these, please click the image below.
While classrooms have been disrupted, our evaluation of the pilot program has continued. The Australian assessment is the largest Think Equal research project in the world to date, and the qualitative data alone validates the immensely positive feedback we received from our educators at the end-of-year focus group last December at City of Moreland .
These anecdotes from our teachers range from improved conflict resolution and inclusivity in the playground to emotionally intelligent use of language with family members at home. Many of these anecdotes can be found in our October 2019 supporter’s bulletin.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Think Equal Australia has managed to accomplish so much. Dr Craig Bailey, of Yale University, and Dr Lynne Reeder and Dr Sue Emmett, both of Federation University, have recently finished evaluating a randomised control trial of the 2019 pilot. Their formal evaluation and qualitative findings will be published in early learning journals, with their quantitative analysis available shortly. Dr Reeder and Dr Emmett have also applied for Think Equal to be included in the new School Readiness Funding Initiative implemented by the Victorian Department of Education. If successful, the program will be added to the range of initiatives that will be available to all state-funded preschool programs in the state of Victoria. In February 2020, before Covid-19 broke out, educators from the 2019 pilot control group were provided with training for facilitating the 30-week Think Equal program, with a second cohort due to participate in our professional development workshops in October 2020. Each participant is equipped with a complete classroom kit, which includes 23 storybooks and a comprehensive instruction manual for facilitating the activities of the program from next year.
In 2021 we look forward not only to the control-group classrooms joining the program, but also to expanding the Think Equal curriculum to additional early years services and to areas beyond those in the pilot. Think Equal Australia continues to be run by volunteers, with training and materials free to all early childhood programs who commit to implementing the program. To that end, we require ongoing assistance from our generous supporters in the following areas: Financial: $470 funds one a classroom kit, teacher training, and year long support for a kindergarten classroom
PR/media: Your personal introductions can help us to share our mission with the public, local councils, and the government at all levels Volunteers: Your time and skills are needed with project management, PR and media, and fundraising If you or your organisation would like to be involved, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We are thankful for your ongoing support of Think Equal Australia. As we continue to experience uncertain times, it is reassuring that here in Australia we are to able to continue our mission of teaching equality from the earliest of ages.
Emma Welsh, Country Director, and the Think Equal Australia Team
Phone: 0410 443 457