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The Princess of Wales' Shaping Us Campaign Raises Awareness of Unique Importance of Early Childhood



Claymotion spot from Wonderhood and Blinkink captures the understanding of how children's brains rapidly develop

The Princess of Wales' Shaping Us Campaign Raises Awareness of Unique Importance of Early Childhood

Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales has today, Tuesday 31st January 2023, launched a major new awareness raising campaign to increase public understanding of the crucial importance of the first five years of a child’s life.  

Shaping Us is a new long-term campaign from The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood which aims to transform the issue from one of scientific interest to one of the most strategically important topics of our time. Spearheaded by The Princess of Wales, with support from a range of high-profile figures from the world of media, music, science and sports, the campaign will begin with the release of a short film, highlighting how babies and children develop in response to their earliest experiences.  

The 90-second claymation film shows how a little girl named Layla develops from pregnancy to age five and how she is shaped by her interactions with the people and environment around her. The short film, which features a track by Lokki entitled 'Breathe a Breath of Me', will appear on Piccadilly Lights at Piccadilly Circus and will be screened in cinemas across the UK from Friday. 

Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales said, “The way we develop, through our experiences, relationships, and surroundings  during our early childhood, fundamentally shapes our whole lives. It affects everything from our ability to form relationships and thrive at work, to our mental and physical well-being as adults and the way we parent our own children. 

“These are the most preventative years. By focusing our collective time, energy, and resources to build a supportive, nurturing world around the youngest members of our society and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to the health and happiness of generations to come. 

“All of society has a role to play in this, even if you are not directly involved in a child’s life, because we are all responsible for building a more compassionate world in which our children can grow, learn and live. 

“In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to help support parents and caregivers provide loving, safe and secure homes for their babies and young children to thrive.” 

In the film, we see Layla navigate her way through various experiences as a new born, a toddler and young child, with the help of those around her. The film shows how her  interactions with people and places – from her parents’ cuddles, to a reassuring arm on her shoulder from a nursery teacher and supportive cheer from a swimming teacher - stimulate her brain and development. It also shows the importance of the support Layla’s parents receive, helping them to manage the very normal worries and challenges of caring for a new baby. As the film ends, we see Layla celebrating her fifth birthday, surrounded by a large group of family, friends and others, all of whom have played a role in shaping her young life. 

The Shaping Us campaign launches as the Centre for Early Childhood released new data on public understand of child development which shows around one in three (36%)  adults report knowing just a little or nothing about how children develop in their early childhood. This follows on from research conducted last year highlighting that very few people recognise the unique importance of the 0 -5 period compared to other stages of life. The long-term ambition of the Shaping Us campaign is to transform public awareness of this issue over the coming months and years. 

Professor Eamon McCrory, Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology at University College London and a member of The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood’s Advisory Group said, “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. These connections drive our development, building the foundations for all future learning, behaviour, 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. 

“We can help close the school attainment gap, giving everyone a fair chance to fulfil their educational potential; we can help children build the capacities and confidence they need to effectively manage challenge and adversity in later life; and we can act in a preventative way to reduce the risk of future mental health problems, so often an underlying factor in complex issues such as addiction and homelessness.” 

Carey Oppenheim, early childhood lead at The Nuffield Foundation and member of The Centre for Early Childhood’s Advisory Group added, “This campaign is vital in raising awareness among all of us, of the critical importance of a child’s early years. Healthy, happy childhoods matter to families in the here and now, as well as providing the foundations for the health, wellbeing, and productivity of future generations.  

“Parents and carers cannot do this alone, and nor should we expect them to. Families are increasingly experiencing inequality and uncertainty and deserve support from wider society. That might be individuals like the neighbour we see in the film offering their help, wider members of the community creating supportive environments and professionals such as healthcare workers, social workers and early years practitioners with the training and expertise to help.  

“It also includes systems and structures designed with young children and their carers in mind, such as quality early education and childcare, accessible local parks and safe, affordable housing.” 


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Genres: Animation

Categories: Awareness, Corporate, Social and PSAs

Wonderhood Studios, Tue, 31 Jan 2023 09:51:24 GMT