Last night, with a host of celebrities and scientists, The Princess of Wales launched her new early years’ campaign, Shaping Us.
At the BAFTA headquarters in Piccadilly, central London, Catherine shared why this campaign was so important, and more about the focus of the programme.
She was joined by her husband, Prince William, along with famous faces like author and podcaster Giovanna Fletcher (with whom Kate has previously recorded a podcast episode about motherhood), rapper Professor Green, England footballer Leah Williamson, radio presenter Ronan Kemp, and TV personalities Rochelle Humes and Kate Silverton.
It is understood that the celebrities will help share the campaign with their own unique audiences, to generate awareness, particularly among the younger generation.
‘It is essential, to not only understand the unique importance of our earliest years, but to know what we can all do to help raise future generations of happy, healthy adults,’ the Princess said in a speech, wearing a vibrant red suit for the occasion.
‘Shaping Us is a long-term campaign, and we’re starting by highlighting how we develop during early childhood and why these years matter so much in terms of shaping who we become.
The campaign builds on the work of the 5 Big Questions survey in 2020, to help gather information on people’s knowledge and awareness levels surrounding childhood development.
‘As the campaign progresses, we will explore in more depth the importance of a child’s social and emotional world, the significance of relationships in shaping a child’s understanding of themselves and the world in which they live and also the impact of the surroundings and experiences a child is exposed to during these formative years,’ she added.
‘Together these play a key role in shaping our future lives. Yet they rarely get as much focus as our physical health and cognitive development.
‘And of course, by understanding our own childhoods – what has shaped our own beliefs, relationships, behaviours and feelings – we, as adults, are better placed to play our part in positively shaping future generations.’
The campaign film, a 90-second animation spanning a young girl’s experiences from birth to her fifth birthday, was screened at the event.
Meet Layla 👋 @earlychildhood
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) January 31, 2023
Eamon McCrory, professor of developmental neuroscience and psychopathology at University College London, who is also part of the Centre for Early Childhood’s advisory group, and Dr Guddi Singh, paediatrician and health campaigner, took part in a Q&A session at the launch event.
McCrory commented: ‘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.’
Just last week, the Princess hosted her new advisory group at Windsor Castle, hinting at a new project. The advisory group has expertise in various areas of developmental science and social work, and will help Catherine and the Foundation to steer in the right direction.
A drinks reception with campaign stakeholders followed the launch.
Amanda Berry, who leads the 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.’
‘By focusing our collective time, energy & resources on these most preventative years, we can make a huge difference.’
— The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood (@Earlychildhood) January 31, 2023