The Princess of Wales launched a new long-term campaign from The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood on Tuesday. Shaping Up, the awareness raising campaign to increase public understanding of the importance of the first five years of a child’s life, kicked off with the release of a short claymation film.
The 90-second film highlights how babies and children develop in response to their early experiences. The film shows how a little girl named Layla is shaped by her interactions with the people and environment around her from pregnancy to the age of five.
“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,” the Princess said in a statement. “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,” Catherine continued. “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.”
The Princess of Wales has today 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.#ShapingUs follows over a decade of work by HRH on early childhood and lifelong mental health. pic.twitter.com/iOyKCVIhmi— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) January 31, 2023
The short film—which features a track by Lokki titled “Breathe a Breath of Me”—will appear on Piccadilly Lights at Piccadilly Circus in London and will also be screened in cinemas across the UK starting Friday.
“Our earliest years shape the rest of our lives,” the Waleses’ social media account captioned the short film on Instagram. “From pregnancy to the age of five, the world around us, the people we meet, and the experiences we have are all #ShapingUs.”
The launch of Shaping Us follows over a decade of work by Catherine on early childhood and lifelong mental health and wellbeing. In an open letter ahead of the launch of the campaign, the Princess wrote that “as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life” and that she is “absolutely determined that this long-term campaign is going to change that.” Catherine penned, “It will start by highlighting how we develop during early childhood and why these years matter so much in terms of shaping who we become.”