The Duchess of Cambridge has three children under the age of six; therefore, she is no stranger to babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. This, together with being married to an heir to the throne, puts her in the ideal position to make a difference to children development services across the UK, which is exactly what she is trying to do.
Last week, Kate Middleton launched her 5 Big Questions survey, aimed at any adult over the age of 16 in Britain, regardless of whether they have youngsters themselves.
Its intention is to find out what the public, as well as businesses and organisations, think about the opportunities children have, what they need, and how the country can help the youngest generation.
While the royal intends to give kids in the UK the best start to life with this survey, the main question is whether it will be a success or not.
To find out more, read on.
What is the survey?
The questionnaire is being conducted by The Royal Foundation, following eight years of the Duchess learning more about how early childhood experiences can impact society.
A spokesperson from Kensington Palace said: “The survey aims to spark the biggest ever conversation on early childhood that will ultimately help bring about positive, lasting change for generations to come.”
It noted that early years’ experiences up to the age of five are “instrumental in shaping our future lives”.
Over the years, the mother-of-three has come face-to-face with many families who have to endure daily challenges, while she has also spoken to experts, practitioners, organisations and academics on the subject.
In May 2018, the 38-year-old also led a steering group of experts to discuss ways to make improvements in this area.
What questions are being asked?
In order to ascertain the success of the survey, it is important to look at what questions The Royal Foundation is asking the public.
The survey, which is designed to only take a few minutes so it is not too time-consuming for busy mums and dads to fill in, first asks what are the most important things for children to live a happy adult life.
It then goes on to probe the participant to choose from four statements regarding whose responsibility it is to enable a young child to have the best chance of health and happiness.
The third question asks how much you agree with a statement about whether the mental health and wellbeing of parents and carers has an impact on the development of youngsters.
The survey also wants to know what most influences the development of children from gestation to five years old between nature and nurture.
Lastly, the questionnaire asks which period of a young person’s life is the most important for adult health and happiness.
These five questions cover a range of factors that would shape a child’s life, including their care, the health of their parents, their upbringing, and their mental and physical wellbeing.
What the answers might reveal
While the answers are likely to vary significantly, the Duchess hopes a pattern will emerge that will inform what Brits generally believe about early years’ development, in comparison to expert opinion.
It will show those working in the early years sector, including nurseries and pre-schools in Manchester, the thoughts of parents and carers, revealing if there are any gaps in support at home and what childcare services need to do to engage with the youngsters and their guardians better.
Mental health initiative Health Together, which was spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said: “The findings will provide vital information for the early years sector and start to give parents and carers the support they need, alongside helping children build resilience to any adversities they might face.”
Will it work?
Kate Middleton has thrown herself behind the campaign, and has been on a whistle-stop tour of the country to promote it.
As well as visiting a young people’s hospital in London, she has been to Birmingham’s Science Museum, a children’s centre in Cardiff where she took part in a baby sensory class, a nursery in the capital, and a women’s prison in Surrey.
She hopes that by changing the way children and parents in Britain are supported during the most crucial years of development, this will help make huge differences in their future.
“We are at the heart of raising the next generation. The science proves the importance of the early years, but the next step is knowing how best to support parents and families to do the best job they can,” the Duchess stated, adding: “Being able to listen to how we can provide support in communities across the country I think is really vital.”
With such a drive to make positive changes for youngsters all over the country, this scheme looks like it could really have an impact on every child’s life in the UK.