Last reviewed 25 June 2021

The Duchess of Cambridge has launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood which aims to raise awareness of the impact of the early years and take action to transform the lives of future generations.

The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood 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.

To coincide with the launch, the Centre has published its inaugural report, Big Change Starts Small, which brings together leading sector research in one place and underlines the critical lifelong impact of the early years on individuals, the economy and society at large. It also sets out the following recommendations on how all aspects of society can contribute positively and make a difference to the early years.

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

  • Build a mentally healthier and more nurturing society.

  • Create communities of support for the early years.

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

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

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

In addition, 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.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said: 

"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."

The full report is available here.