The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood

The Duchess of Cambridge has launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood which will drive awareness of and action on the extraordinary impact of the early years, in order to transform society for generations to come.

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To mark the launch of the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, the Duchess of Cambridge visited the London School of Economics to take part in a roundtable discussion on the centre’s inaugural report – Big Change Starts Small – which was released earlier today. The Duchess was joined at the roundtable by leading academics and practitioners working across the early years sector.  During the meeting they discussed the report’s recommendations and what more can be done to advance the early years across society including building collaborations and creative campaigns to drive awareness and action on the importance of early childhoods in creating a happier, healthier, more nurturing society.

The Big Change Starts Small report highlights six areas where there is an opportunity to make a difference:

1)         Raising awareness of the extraordinary impact of the early years

2)         Building a mentally healthier and more nurturing society

3)         Creating communities of support

4)         Strengthening the early years workforce

5)         Putting the data to work for early years

6)         Supporting long-term and inter-generational change

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Earlier that morning, Duchess met with a group of parents in the cafe at Kensington Palace, who have helped her understand the importance of providing support for parents during the earliest years of children’s lives.

The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood will focus on three key areas of activity in the years to come:

  • promoting and commissioning high-quality research to increase knowledge and share best practice;
  • working with people from across the private, public and voluntary sectors to collaborate on new solutions; and
  • developing creative campaigns to raise awareness and inspire action, driving real, positive change on the early years.

For over ten years, the Duchess of Cambridge has seen first-hand how some of today’s hardest social challenges – from addiction and violence to family breakdown and homelessness, so often underpinned by poor mental health – have their roots in the earliest years of life.  In that time, the Duchess also convened a steering group of experts to look at how cross-sector collaboration could bring about lasting change, and spent time listening to the public about their views on the importance of the early years.

As a result, the Duchess committed to elevating the importance of early childhood and continuing the conversation on this vital issue. The launch of The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood is a landmark step in the Duchess’ work and signals her lifelong commitment to improving outcomes across society.

To coincide with the launch, the centre has published its inaugural report, Big Change Starts Small, which brings together leading sector research in one place and underlines the critical lifelong impact of the early years on individuals, our economy and society at large.  It also sets out recommendations on how all aspects of society can contribute positively and make a difference on this important issue. Written in collaboration with the London School of Economics and The Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the report brings together leading sector research in one place and underlines the critical lifelong impact of the early years on individuals, our economy and society at large.  It also sets out recommendations on how all aspects of society can contribute positively and make a difference on this important issue.

Writing in the foreword of the report, the Duchess of Cambridge says:

“Our first five years lay important foundations for our future selves. This period is when we first learn to manage our emotions and impulses, to care and to empathise, and thus ultimately to establish healthy relationships with ourselves and others.

It is a time when our experience of the world around us, and the way that moulds our development, can have a lifelong impact on our future mental and physical wellbeing. Indeed, what shapes our childhood shapes the adults and the parents we become.”

Last year, the Duchess led a nationwide conversation on the early years through the 5 Big Questions on the Under-Fives survey which received over 500,000 responses.  The findings from that survey, combined with further representative research conducted by Ipsos MORI, showed that most people don’t understand the specific importance of early childhood, and revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in a dramatic increase in parental loneliness. The launch of the centre comes one week after the Duchess was joined by the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, on a visit to Connor Downs Academy in Cornwall, hosting a roundtable on the importance of early childhood, attended by experts from the UK and the USA.

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4 thoughts on “The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood

  1. I Think Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is in same League as Diana, Princess of Wales, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Michelle Obama, Jill Biden,

    Like

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