1. ITV Report

Duchess of Cambridge in Birmingham for project launch

The duchess has made the subject one of the main pillars of her public work. Credit: Eddie Keogh/PA

The Duchess of Cambridge has been in Birmingham to launch a landmark national survey about the early years development of children.

She's described that part of a child's life as its' most "crucial" moment for "future health and happiness".

The Duchess, who is the mother of three young children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, joined primary and nursery school age children in MiniBrum, a child-size version of Birmingham where children learn through play. It's based in the city's Thinktank Science Museum.

Kate travelled to Birmingham to highlight her ambitious project, asking "five big questions on the under-fives" which will guide her future work.

The online poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Royal Foundation, is thought to be the biggest survey of its kind. It aims to encourage a nationwide conversation about early childhood.

Kate has begun a 24-hour tour of the country to launch the initiative.

The Duchess's survey will run for a month, from January 21st to February 21st, and will ask those taking the poll five questions to gauge their views about early years.

The Duchess’s online survey will run for a month. Credit: Kensington Palace
A month
The survey will run online from January 21st to February 21st

"I'm here today to help launch a survey to hear society's views about raising the next generation.

Parents, carers and families are at the heart of caring for children in the formative years, so that is why I want to listen to them. As a parent I know how much we cherish the future health and happiness of our children.

I want to hear the key issues affecting our families and communities so I can focus my work on where it is needed most.

My ambition is to provide a lasting change for generations to come".

– The Duchess of Cambridge, speaking yesterday

Kate crouched down to chat to some of the youngsters in a shop and when she moved on to a cafe pulled a face of surprise when a cupboard door, designed to be removed came off in her hand. She joked “we’ve broken the cafe”.

The Duchess also spoke to parents also at the event in Birmingham.

"I think the early years of life are the most important years, for life long health and happiness.

They help us avoid adversity, or certainly builds resilience to adversity in later life - prevent challenges with mental later down the line. It is estimated that there's a huge social and economic cost to late intervention of £17 billion in England and Wales.

The early years are more crucial for future health and happiness than any other moment in our lifetime."

– The Duchess of Cambridge

David Holmes, the Chief Executive of Family Action, which helps families in need, joined the Duchess at her launch event. She is their Royal patron,

"Every parent, carer and family wants the best for their child, and raising the profile of the vital early years in a child's life is work of national importance. The insight from this survey will give the early years sector valuable direction in designing and delivering services and support which reflect what matters most to people."

– David Holmes, the Chief Executive of Family Action