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British RoyalsPrince & Princess of Wales

What is the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood?

The Duchess of Cambridge has made her first official overseas visit with her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood this week, traveling to Denmark to learn how the Danish community prioritises childhood research and development. Let’s refresh on what the Centre for Early Childhood does.

Kate launched the Centre for Early Childhood in June 2021, working with experts in academia and research to study the impact of the early years. The website notes that a driving force behind the Centre is that they believe in the “positive potential of nurturing relationships, experiences and environments in delivering better life outcomes.”

In a message written on the Centre’s official website, Kate writes that: “When first undertaking royal duties a decade ago, I started meeting inspiring people who were rebuilding their lives from challenges such as addiction, homelessness, violence — and the mental ill health that often underpins these experiences. Spending time together and hearing more about their lives, I was struck by how often poor mental health but also early childhood was the focus of our conversation.

“It was the recurrence of these conversations that drove me to want to learn more. And I am indebted to the academics, practitioners and, of course, parents who shared their knowledge so generously with me. Because by understanding the data, observing the practice and listening to lived experience, it became clear that if we want to build a happier and mentally healthier society then one of the best investments we can make is in the relationships, environments and experiences that make up our early childhoods.”

The Centre’s mission is to “drive awareness of, and action on, the extraordinary impact of the early years, changing what we think and do on early childhood, in order to transform society for generations to come,” according to its official website, and aims to do this through research, campaigning and collaboration.

The first major research project published by the Centre for Early Childhood was the report Big Change Starts Small, a collaboration between the Centre and the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University and the London School of Economics, released when the Centre was announced.

The six-point research project focused on raising awareness, building better mental health and nurturing support systems, strengthening the early years workforce, data in early years, and ways to support long-term and inter-generational change.

Kate’s visit to Denmark from 22 to 23 February has been billed by Kensington Palace as a chance for Kate and the researchers to learn more about “how Denmark has created an enabling culture for early childhood development, specifically how it has promoted infant mental wellbeing alongside physical health, and how it harnesses the power of nature, relationships and playful learning in the first five years of life.”

The Centre for Early Childhood is a branch of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.