CACHE welcomes the introduction of the Early Years Research Centre by The Duchess of Cambridge

By Janet King, Sector Manager for Education and Childcare

Babies, young children, and their families are the threads that run through our society, linking generations, and creating the most significant impact as they do so.

All children in their formative years deserve to have access to the best possible experiences and opportunities that inspire and raise aspiration for their futures. There is a wealth of educational, scientific and cultural research and evidence that strongly advocates for these experiences, warning of the potential consequences that come from inequality and inconsistency at this crucial stage in children’s lives.

Raising aspirations must start in the early years sphere and with this in mind, sincere engagement with parents/primary carers is essential. This is why we warmly welcome the launch of the Early Years Research Centre by the Duchess of Cambridge, putting the sector in the spotlight and raising awareness of how truly transformational early years can be in creating a “happier, more mentally healthy and nurturing society.”

 

For far too long we have been swamped by statistics informing us of the links between disadvantage and outcomes, poverty, and the educational attainment gap. This has the potential to undermine, segregate and isolate families who are constantly reminded of this narrative, predicting their children’s seemingly inevitable fate. It’s really important to note that being ‘poor’ is not an indicator of poor parenting and ‘against all odds’ achievement. However, feeling ‘poor’ (financially or otherwise), can have a profound impact on confidence, resilience and esteem. This in turn, seriously de-values families and lowers the aspirations of the children impacted.

So, what makes a high quality early years experience? These experiences are organically dependent on strong leadership skills, parental engagement and sincere connections - ambassadors advocating for babies, children, and families alike. Strong pedagogical experiences across the early years sector with a commitment to graduate leadership must be present, through training opportunities and statutory sponsored commitment for long-term gain.

Early years staff remain passionate agents of change and make a positive difference every day in their roles. This has been more evident than ever over the past year as early years employees have played an integral role in keeping the economy going, supporting children and their families at an incredibly challenging time, and allowing parents to continue to work.

But this work alone is not enough to sustain a reliable and fair sector. Real change cannot be achieved without government intervention. We are not a society that is broken but we are one that is arguably muddled and compliant.