Duchess of Cambridge speaks about the importance of the early years, mental health

by Freya Lucas

February 14, 2019

Speaking at a roundtable discussion at the Mental Health in Education Conference held yesterday in East London, the Duchess of Cambridge described herself as “very naive” as a parent, in terms of understanding the importance of a child’s development in the early years, and the impact this has on their future, British Telecommunications (BT) has reported.

 

The Duchess of Cambridge reportedly said it was important that everyone working with children during this critical and formative time “gets it right”, based on her learning over the past eight years of working with charities, and speaking with leading UK experts in mental health, addiction, family breakdown, homelessness and education.

“They have taught me over and over again that the root cause of so many of today’s social problems can be traced right back to the very earliest years of a person’s life and often over generations.

“The scientific and other evidence is clear, the first few years of a child’s life are more pivotal for development, and for future health and happiness, than any other single moment in our lifetime.

 

“And as we have heard today, it is therefore vital that we support teachers with their own wellbeing so that they can find the best level of care for all children, in their schools and communities in which they work.” she said.

 

During a roundtable focused on mental health training for educators, BT reports that the Duchess asked if the importance of “soft skills” is part of educator qualifications, stating it isn’t a part of parental learning which is promoted in the UK, and allegedly saying “…But also the importance of relationship building, empathy and resilience can also be taught and monitored at home as well.”

 

BT reports Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of The Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families, as saying making educators solely responsible for the development and monitoring of children’s mental health “is wrong, is clearly wrong. I think it’s our shared responsibility, responsibility of community, to support the educators, to support the children.”

 

Advice and support for educators wishing to learn more about mental health and wellbeing from an Australian context is available here.

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