Kate Middleton Speaks To MPs About The Importance Of Early Childhood Development

Kate spoke about the new findings on children's mental health

Kate Middleton

by Emily Watkins |

Kate Middleton has met with senior MPs to discuss the importance of early childhood development and how the first five years of a child’s life can shape its future.

The mum of three spoke with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, families minister Will Quince, plus representatives from the early years sector and the Department for Education, about new research that found 91% of people believe the first five years are crucial, with 70% believing early years development should be prioritised.

‘Our experiences in early childhood fundamentally impact our whole life and set the foundation for how we go on to thrive as individuals, with one another, as a community and as a society,’ said Kate. ‘The findings published today present us with a huge opportunity and demonstrate there is real appetite from the public to bring this issue up all of our agendas. There is more we can all do - every member of society can play a key role, whether that is directly with a child or by investing in the adults around them - the parents, the carers, the early years workforce and more.’

Kate’s always been refreshingly honest about the ups and downs of being a mum – and since launching her Five Big Questions On The Under Fives campaign in 2020, she’s promoted the importance of early childhood years as well as banishing the stigma of struggling with parenthood. When she launched her campaign, Kate did an interview with blogger and author Giovanna Fletcher for her podcast Happy Mum, Happy Baby, and the recording was a rare glimpse into the duchess’s take on an expansive public discussion (and her podcast debut, too).

Referencing her experience as a mother to three little ones, Kate talked about her own childhood – and the role of her grandmother in particular. ‘I had an amazing Granny who devoted a lot of time to us, playing with us, doing arts and crafts and going to the greenhouse to do gardening, and cooking with us, and I try and incorporate a lot of the experiences that she gave us at the time into the experiences that I give my children now’, said Kate, who also emphasised the importance of a nurturing atmosphere to early development.

‘There are also the environments you spend time in as well: a happy home, a safe environment', the duchess explained. She continued, 'As children, we spent a lot of time outside and it’s something I’m really passionate about. I think it’s so great for physical and mental wellbeing and laying foundations. It’s such a great environment to spend time in, building those quality relationships without the distractions of 'I've got to cook' and 'I’ve got to do this.' And actually, it’s so simple.’

Kate Middleton
©Getty

Kate was emphatic about listening to real families as well as researchers. ‘I think ultimately if you look at who’s caring and looking after and nurturing children in the most vital period from pregnancy all the way to the age of five, you know parents and carers are right at the heart of that, and families are right at the heart of that, and although I’ve spoken to the scientists and the service providers, it’s so important to listen to families.’

Of her Five Big Questions on the Under Fives survey, designed to reach as many people as possible with five simple questions answered online, the duchess acknowledged, ‘It's going to take a long time – I'm talking about a generational change – but hopefully this is the first small step: to start a conversation around the importance of early childhood development.' Throwing the far-reaching importance of the project into sharp relief, Kate explained how understanding a child’s first years can lay the groundwork for balanced adulthood: 'It's not just about happy, healthy children. This is for lifelong consequences and outcomes.’

The duchess has also visited Denmark to learn more about their investment in early childhood, and she launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in 2021.

Gallery

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Share New Family Photos In The Back To Nature Garden

Kate and Prince Louis
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CREDIT: Instagram

'Over the past months, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have helped The Duchess gather moss, leaves and twigs to help decorate @The_RHS Back to Nature Garden,' Kensington Royal wrote on Instagram.

Princess Charlotte
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CREDIT: Instagram

The garden even features a rope swing, a perfect place for the kids to play.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte
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CREDIT: Instagram

The brother and sister dipped their toes in the water at the plot.

Prince Louis
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CREDIT: Instagram

The royal takes his first adorable steps in public!

The Cambridges
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CREDIT: Instagram

The account said that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were 'very pleased to share some new photographs of their family.'

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