Over the course of two days, Catherine, Princess of Wales, visited various sites in London and Leeds to spread the news about the Royal Foundation’s Centre for Early Childhood and its new initiative called Shaping Us. For the last few years, Kate and a collection of experts have been gathering information to gauge public awareness of the importance of education and brain development from the ages of zero to five. Now, with Shaping Us, she is moving into a new phase with aims to change the way the British public thinks about those crucial years.
On a Monday evening event at the BAFTA headquarters in London, Kate was joined by Prince William as she debuted a short film, which tells the story of an infant’s earliest experiences with the help of claymation, also called “Shaping Us.” In a speech, Kate explained some of the details about the new program and why it matters. “As you all know, by building a supportive, nurturing world around children and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to generations to come,” she said. “Because fundamentally healthy, happy children shape a healthy, happy future.”
On Tuesday, Kate traveled to Leeds for a series of engagements where she talked about the film and the issues it presents. First, she traveled to the Leeds Kirkgate Market to screen it for the local community and speak to market vendors about their own experiences of early childhood. According to Hello, Kate spoke to a flower vendor in the market who asked her if William would be buying her roses for Valentine’s Day. The vendor said she responded, “I don’t think he will!”
Then, she traveled to the University of Leeds, where she spoke with students enrolled in the school’s Childhood Studies program and joined in on a second-year lecture about psychology in learning and attachment theory. She asked students if they enjoyed the things they were learning and if the knowledge had helped shape ideas about their own childhoods. She added, “We need more students like you out there,” she added. “The more we can do to help raise happy, healthy children the better.”
As Kate has shaped her work on the importance of early childhood, she has consulted with a series of experts and become well-versed in the psychology and neuroscience of child development. Last week, she made her ties with eight of those experts official by inviting them to the advisory group for the Centre for Early Childhood, the organization she launched in June 2021.
In a statement, one of those experts explained why science is so important to understand the importance of early childhood. “During our earliest years more than a million connections between the nerve cells in our brain are formed every second—faster than at any other time in our lives,” said Eamon McCrory, a neuroscientist from University College London. “These connections drive our development, building the foundations for all future learning, behavior, and health. By ensuring children and parents are supported during this critical period we—as individuals and a society—can positively influence the lives of the next generation for decades to come.”
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