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Early years should be "more of a priority" for society

The British Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood has unveiled the findings of new research into early childhood development.

Conducted by Ipsos UK on behalf of The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, the research comes two years after The Duchess of Cambridge’s landmark survey – ‘5 Big Questions on the Under-Fives’ – which attracted the largest ever response to a public survey of its kind with over 500,000 responses in one month, sparking a national conversation on the early years.

This recent research delves even deeper into public perceptions of early childhood, focusing on three key areas: the prioritisation of the early years, the link between the first five years of life and lifelong outcomes for mental health and wellbeing and the support parents seek when raising young children.

Several key findings were made, with researchers concluding there is near unanimous agreement (91%) that the early years are important in shaping a person’s future life, but only 17% recognise the unique importance of the 0 – 5 period relative to other age brackets.

That being said seven in ten (70%) believe it should be more of a priority for society as a whole.

Meanwhile, over half (55%) of the public recognise a person’s future mental health and wellbeing is the most likely part of adult life to be affected by their development in the early years, followed by their ability to make and maintain relationships (51%) and their future happiness (40%).

Informal sources of support are key support mechanisms for parents, with more than a half of parents of children 0-5 (56%) citing family or friends and as key sources of information on emotional and social development