As Kayla Adams discussed in her article ‘ The Duchess of Cambridge’s Legacy – The early Year’s Intervention‘, “There are so many shining examples of Catherine’s work and efforts for children’s charities before marriage, from organising events to visiting hospices and taking part in fundraisers“.
And after becoming a Royal in April 2011, The Duchess of Cambridge had made Mental Health and Early Year’s Intervention a primary focus of her public role. She is using her platform to shine a light on causes that have never been on the podium. For the last nine years, The Duchess of Cambridge has spent time looking into how experiences in early childhood are often the root cause of today’s hardest social challenges such as addiction, family breakdown, poor mental health, suicide and homelessness.
Many studies have proved that early childhood is often the root cause of today’s hardest social challenges such as addiction, family breakdown, poor mental health, suicide and homelessness. Having met many people who are dealing with a range of issues, The Duchess of Cambridge has seen over and over again how often these problems can be traced back to the earliest years of someone’s life.
The Duchess wanted to dig deeper into the current early year’s landscape to understand the issues that we face and learn how we can best tackle them. It was important to listen to the experts, academics, practitioners, service providers and charities within the sector who work every day to make our families and communities stronger. In May 2018, The Duchess of Cambridge established a steering group to look at how they could work collaboratively to bring about positive lasting change. From the Royal Foundation,
What we experience in the early years, from conception to the age of five, shapes the developing brain, which is why positive physical, emotional and cognitive development during this period is so crucial. It is a time when the building blocks are established, laying foundations that help provide greater resilience to deal with future adversity.
As part of her research and learning more about the impacts of the childhood, The Duchess of Cambridge wanted to hear from the parents and guardians and she launched a landmark public survey about the under-fives ‘5 Big Questions’ in January 2020. She travelled around the four nations to meet with parents and listen to their views on raising the next generation. They Survey sparked the biggest ever conversation on early childhood. Open to everyone, it sought society’s views on raising the next generation.
The 5 Big Questions survey formed part of a wider piece of nationally representative research carried out by The Royal Foundation and IPSOS Mori. The findings of the survey will provide a vital source of information for the early years sector, helping it to better understand public perceptions of the importance of the early years, and the first-hand experiences of parents, families and carers. About the survey, The Duchess of Cambridge said,
“We are at the heart of raising the next generation. The science proves the importance of the early years, but the next step is knowing how best to support parents and families to do the best job they can. I really believe so passionately in the early years, and being able to listen to how best we can provide support in communities across the country I think is really vital.”
After the survey, The Duchess of Cambridge visited Birmingham, where she visited ‘Thinktank’ – the city’s science museum. Catherine met with children at MiniBrum, an interactive, child-sized mini-city in the museum. Next, she went to Cardiff to attend a baby sensory class at Ely and Careau Children’s Centre and HM Prison Send in Surrey.
Later in the week, she visited Stockwell Gardens LEYF Nursery to talk to parents and staff about the importance of the 5 Big Questions. The Duchess of Cambridge also visited Scotland and Northern Island to promote the survey.
As per the Royal Foundation website, the findings will be released later this year. The Duchess of Cambridge had 4 meetings with her Early Year’s group at Kensington Palace in the last few weeks. I believe those meetings were to discuss the results and we can hear more about them in November. I am really looking forward to hearing about the findings.