'Her life's work': Princess of Wales launches new early years campaign

Sangita Lal reports on the princess's new campaign

The Princess of Wales says “in these difficult times, it is more important than ever” to support the development of young children as she launched a new early years awareness campaign considered to be her “life’s work”.

Shaping Us, a long-term campaign from The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood which was founded by the Princess in 2021, aims to increase public understanding of the importance of the first five years of a child’s life.

The Princess has spent the last decade researching childhood development and believes it “fundamentally shapes our whole lives”.

A spokesperson for the Princess said: “I would say that she wants this to be her life’s work. When you think about legacy, she would want in ten years' time that we would see societal change and awareness when we come to the early years.”

The campaign will feature a 90-second animation film, featuring a track by Lokki entitled ‘Breathe a Breath of Me', that will be screened in cinemas across the UK from Friday, along with the Piccadilly Lights in London.

The Princess of Wales' 90-second animation film Shaping Us, which aims to show the importance of the first five years of a child’s life.

It will also be supported by celebrities including Fearne Cotton, Professor Green, Giovanna Fletcher and Jax Jones.

The Princess of Wales said: “The way we develop, through our experiences, relationships, and surroundings during our early childhood, fundamentally shapes our whole lives. It affects everything from our ability to form relationships and thrive at work, to our mental and physical well-being as adults and the way we parent our own children.

“These are the most preventative years. By focusing our collective time, energy, and resources to build a supportive, nurturing world around the youngest members of our society and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to the health and happiness of generations to come.

“All of society has a role to play in this, even if you are not directly involved in a child’s life, because we are all responsible for building a more compassionate world in which our children can grow, learn and live.

“In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to help support parents and caregivers provide loving, safe and secure homes for their babies and young children to thrive.”

The Centre for Early Childhood released new data today which shows one in three (36%) adults report knowing “little or nothing” about how children develop in their early childhood.

Amanda Berry, who leads the Royal Foundation, which is funding the project, said: "We've been raising awareness of the extraordinary impact of the early years and highlighting the need to increase societal understanding of the transformative impact of early childhood

"Our first public perception survey in 2022 found that less than one in five people understood the unique importance of the first five years of our lives, and within that the figures for young people and men were even lower.

"As part of this campaign, we are publishing more in-depth research, which shows that around one in three, 36% of adults report knowing just a little or nothing about how children develop in their early childhood.

"So, in response, we will be aiming to increase in those awareness figures significantly."

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