The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood has today unveiled the findings of new research into early childhood development, as The Duchess of Cambridge and the Centre hosted a roundtable with the early years sector and Ministers and senior civil servants to discuss the results and the broader importance of early childhood development to society.   

Conducted by Ipsos UK, the research explores 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 include: 

  • 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 part of adult life to be affected by their early childhood 
  • Community support networks found to be a crucial for parents  
  • Parents more likely to seek support for child’s physical wellbeing than social and emotional development 

“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.” 

-The Duchess of Cambridge

These findings, alongside wider insights, informed a roundtable meeting with ministers and experts convened by The Centre and The Duchess of Cambridge. The discussion focused on the ways those working across the early childhood sector could together elevatethe profile of this critical period of development, recognising the significant impact it has on later life outcomes, including future mental health and wellbeing. The roundtable also provided an opportunity to discuss important learnings from The Centre for Early Childhood’s visit to Denmark earlier this year, a country that is widely recognised as a world leader in its approach and investment in early childhood development.   

Today’s 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.   

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