The Duchess of Cambridge launches The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood

The Duchess of Cambridge has launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood and her Big Change Starts Small reportKate Middleton - The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood

The aim of the centre is to drive awareness of the extraordinary impact of the early years, and take action in order to transform society for generations to come.

It will focus on three key areas of activity – 

  • 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
  • Developing creative campaigns to raise awareness and inspire action, driving real, positive change on the early years. 

The Big Change Starts Small 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.

The Duchess of Cambridge said: “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.”

The report also reveals that the cost of lost opportunity is £16.13 billion per year in England alone. This is the cost to society of the remedial steps we take to address issues – from children in care to short and long term mental and physical health issues - that might have been avoided through action in early childhood.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “This is an exciting and important initiative for the early years sector. All of us involved in working with our youngest children know and value the importance of getting their early years right. It’s important that we see early years as a crucial part of our national infrastructure.

“With everything our children have missed out on during the pandemic, it’s even more important that we focus on their development and learning. Evidence shows that the earlier we invest in our children the more impact we can have on their lives and future opportunities. 

“Any parent knows how important their child’s key worker is at nursery. A well-trained, experienced and properly rewarded workforce has the biggest impact on children’s development and learning outcomes.

“We have always backed a research and evidenced based approach to ensuring best practice in early years. We’re delighted to see the work of the Duchess of Cambridge further support this and we will continue to promote the importance of early years for children, families and society as a whole.”

The Duchess has launched a new website which will help to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood, laying out the scientific, economic and social opportunity for change.

Read the full press release here.