Emeritus Professor Alan Glasper, from the University of Southampton, discusses the focus of a new initiative to improve early years health and social care, launched by the Duchess of Cambridge
The Centre for Early Childhood was launched in June this year by the Duchess of Cambridge, as part of the activities of the charitable Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The centre's aim is to raise awareness of the extraordinary impact of the early years on child development and promote best practice and positive action in order to transform society for generations to come.
For the foreseeable future the centre will concentrate on three domains:
The centre's inaugural report, Big Change Starts Small (Centre for Early Childhood, 2021), highlights why early childhood matters, based on scientific evidence, and identifies existing opportunities for making positive changes to improve early years health and social care.
Early childhood is defined by Unesco as the important period in a child's life from birth to aged 8 years. The first 5 years prior to a child entering primary school education are especially crucial because this is a period of rapid development—physically, psychologically and socially. Throughout this period, young children are influenced by the environment in which they live and the actions of the people in their immediate world, usually both parents but the primary carer is usually the mother. The environmental aspects in the early years are the foundation for future life and ongoing development towards full citizenship.
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