Only one in four people recognise the specific importance of the early years, according to the UK’s biggest ever study on the topic.
The Duchess of Cambridge has unveiled the findings of a nine-year project exploring how difficult experiences in early childhood are often the root cause of key social challenges such as poor mental health, family breakdown, addiction and homelessness.
It found that while 98% of people believe nurture is essential to lifelong outcomes, most people don’t understand the importance of the first five years of a child’s life.
Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on families, it found parental loneliness has increased during the pandemic from 38% before to 63%. Parents living in the most deprived areas are more likely to feel lonely.
Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘The LGA has repeatedly raised concerns about the underfunding of the early entitlements, so it was good that extra funding was announced in the recent Spending Review. However, with many early years providers struggling due to COVID-19, it was disappointing that this was not a more significant and immediate investment to support providers during this unprecedented time.
’It is crucial we retain the good quality early education and childcare that improves children’s outcomes and reduces the disadvantage gap. Given recent evidence that up to one in six early years providers may not survive winter due to COVID-19, immediate investment is needed.’
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