(VIDEO) HRH The Duchess of Cambridge Co-Hosts a Roundtable Discussion on the Importance of Early Childhood Development.

On Thursday, June 16, 2022, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood co-hosted a roundtable discussion on the importance of early childhood development. Also, participating in today’s discussion included representatives from the early years sector, the Secretary of State for Health, Mr. Sajid Javid, the Minister for Families, Mr. Will Quince, and officials from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. 

According to a press release, the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood:

“…unveiled findings of new research into early childhood development. Conducted by Ipsos UK on behalf of The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, the research comes two years after The Duchess’s landmark survey – ‘5 Big Questions on the Under-Fives’ – which attracted the largest ever response to a public survey of its kind with over 500,000 responses in one month, sparking a national conversation on the early years.  

The research published today delves even deeper into public perceptions of early childhood, focusing on three key areas: the prioritisation of the early years, the link between the first five years of life and lifelong outcomes for mental health and wellbeing and the support parents seek when raising young children.  

Key findings in detail:

  1. A societal issue: There is near unanimous agreement (91%) that the early years are important in sharing a person’s future life, but only 17% recognise the unique importance of the 0 – 5 period relative to other age brackets. That being said seven in ten (70%) believe it should be more of a priority for society as a whole.
  2. Mental health and wellbeing: Over half (55%) of the public recognise a person’s future mental health and wellbeing is most likely to be affected by their development in the early years, followed by their ability to make and maintain relationships (51%) and their future happiness (40%). 
  3. Communities of support: Informal sources of support are key support mechanisms for parents, with more than a half of parents of children 0-5 (56%) citing family or friends as key sources of information on emotional and social development.
  4. Information and advice: Parents are more likely to seek out information and advice on key aspects of their child’s physical wellbeing (for example 35% on nutrition, 34% vaccinations, 33% on health) than they are on their social (21%) and emotional development (23%).  

Speaking about the research, The Duchess of Cambridge said:

‘Our experiences in early childhood fundamentally impact our whole life and set the foundation for how we go on to thrive as individuals, with one another, as a community and as a society.

The findings published today present us with a huge opportunity and demonstrate there is real appetite from the public to bring this issue up all of our agendas. There is more we can all do – every member of society can play a key role, whether that is directly with a child or by investing in the adults around them – the parents, the carers, the early years workforce and more.

If we come together to raise the importance of early childhood development, we’ll soon see that healthy, happy individuals make for a healthier, happier world. Which is why every second we spend with a child, is an investment in our collective future.'”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood and its recent findings please click here.