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Duchess of Cambridge launches Centre for Early Childhood

By Rachel LawlerDuchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge has launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, which will aim to raise awareness of the importance of the early years.

The centre will focus on three areas of activity: commissioning and promoting research, working with the sector on new solutions and developing awareness campaigns.

Big change starts small
Coinciding with the launch, the Duchess has also released ‘Big Change Starts Small’ – a report on early childhood, which makes six recommendations. The report suggests we need to:


1.Raise awareness of the “extraordinary impact” of the early years.

2.Build a mentally healthier and more nurturing society.

3.Create communities of support for the early years.

4.Strengthen the early years workforce with training and support for their emotional wellbeing.

5.Source better data on children from birth onwards to help build a “more substantive body of knowledge” to inform practice.

6.Support “long-term and intergenerational” change towards holistic and preventative early childhood support.

Changing the way people think about early childhood
In a foreword to the report, the Duchess said: “In establishing the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, our mission is to drive awareness of, and action on, the transformative impact of the early years.

“We aim to change the way people think about early childhood – and this report is our first step. We will help to make change through fresh research to identify opportunities, collaborations to scale solutions and creative campaigns to bring this issue to life. We will do this by continuing to listen to others and being informed by the data. I hope this report inspires you to join this journey. It won’t be easy — transformation never is — but big change starts small.”

Catalyst for change
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "We warmly welcome the launch of The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, and its focus on increasing awareness of the huge importance of the early years. We know that the first five years of a child's life are absolutely pivotal to their learning, development and life chances - and yet, for many years now, the early years sector in this country has been overlooked, undervalued and underfunded.

"As such, we very much look forward to working with the new centre and sharing not only our own knowledge and expertise, but that of our thousands of members as well.

"We hope that the active role that the Duchess of Cambridge is taking in raising the profile of the early years will help act as a catalyst for change in the way that our sector is viewed and treated. Perhaps, for those in power, the message that the early years matters will finally start to get through."

Find out more
Read the Royal Foundation report here