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The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood unveils findings of new research into early childhood development

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Centre host a roundtable with the early years sector, Ministers and senior civil servants to discuss the results and the broader importance of early childhood development to society. 

The research conducted on behalf of The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood by Ipsos UK ,  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 results indicate:

  • Nine in ten agree the early years are important in shaping a person’s future life but less than a fifth recognise the unique importance of the 0-5 period 
  • Seven in ten think the early years should be more of a priority for society 
  • Majority of public recognise a person’s future mental health and wellbeing most likely to be affected by their early childhood 
  • Community support networks found to be crucial for parents 
  • Parents more likely to seek support for child’s physical wellbeing than social and emotional development 

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."

Kelly Beaver MBE, Chief Executive of Ipsos UK and Ireland, said:

“A minority of Briton’s recognise the unique importance of the first five years of a child’s life.

These formative years are crucial in the emotional, social and physical development of every child and this critical new research, for The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, provides the opportunity for society to ignite a discussion about how parents and children can be better supported during this period.”