Research confirms that a child's experience in the first three years of life shape its future - out of all proportion to the rest of childhood. A secure primary attachment relationship is the main protective factor due to the impact it has on the developing brain. When a child's first 3 years are right, it brings huge benefits not just for the child but for the whole of society.
Scientific research is convincing in its message that the first three years of life shape a child's physical, emotional and mental development – for good or bad – out of proportion to the rest of childhood. What About The Children? is a voice for children too young to speak out about their emotional needs themselves.
What About The Children? campaigns for policies that promote prevention rather than intervention to protect the emotional well being of all children. It speaks for the emotional needs of under threes at All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG's) concerned with children, at the Early Childhood Forum, and Save Childhood Movement.
Young children, who are nurtured, talked to and played with attentively by a constant, sensitive and responsive carer – most often, but not always, the mother – with other caring adults as secondary attachment figures, will almost invariably thrive.
We campaign to ensure children receive consistent, responsive loving care in their earliest years critical for optimum brain development and long term physical and mental health.
What About the Children? brings together academics and practitioners at its annual conference & bi ennnial Goodman lectures on a broad range of aspects of early child development. Past conference papers can be downloaded here.
What About the Children? searches out current scientific research in neuroscience, psychology, biology and the medical sciences, selecting research that provide new insights into early life experiences. We summarise these academic papers for the wider professional community and others interested in children's well being.
Our Research Summaries are grouped by the year the research was published.
Our latest research summary is now available
- Amygdala-Hippocampal Connectivity Changes During Acute Psychosocial Stress: Joint Effect of Early Life Stress and Oxytocin (2015)
Fan, Y., Petske, K., Feeser, M., Aust, S., Pruessner, J.C., Boker, H., Bajouj, M. And Grimm, S.
Neuropsychopharmacology 40, 2736-2744.
This recent research paper, by a group of German academics, shows that stress and abuse in early life can have the effect of negating the calming effect of oxytocin in adult life.
What About The Children?
10th March 2016
'Cracking the Code'
young children are born ready to communicate
but they need a translator.
The Royal Overseas League Park Place, London SW1A 1LR
(5 minutes from Green Park Underground Station)
To register your interest please email email@example.com or call 0845 602 7145
Parental care giving is critical
"Early relationships and parental care-giving play a critical role in the development of the child's brain; influences social, emotional, and cognitive development; and even mediates life-long health outcome." Professor Nugent told the Irish Parliament in his addressed to the Joint Committee on Health and Children in January 2016.
The main thrust of his address to the Senators and House Members was that the first three years of life are a time of massive brain development, with lifelong implications for the child and society. The challenge for society is to get at the complexity that lies behind what is generally accepted as common sense: it's the start that matters.
"Children are our most precious national resource; they are the living messages to a time we will not see, and new scientific advances are showing the crucial importance of the foundation years and especially the first 1,000 days from conception until age two as a springboard for neuro-cognitive development, life-long health and wellbeing and socioeconomic success".
'Building Great Britons' First 1001 Critical Days APPG Report, February 2015
'The groundwork for good citizenship occurs in the first 1001 days. A society which delivers this for its children creates a strong foundation for almost every aspect of its future.'
Tim Loughton MP.
What About The Children? has worked to press home this key message for a number of years promoting the findings of scientific research to policy makers, professionals and parents. The full report and What About The Children?'s written and oral evidence made to the inquiry can be accessed here.
What About The Children? relies entirely on its supporters for funding and on the hard work of its committed volunteers.
Help us get the important message about emotional needs and early brain development out to even more people.
What About The Children?, a small national charity, brings together people from a range of backgrounds and expertise who have come together to campaign on behalf of the emotional needs of children too young to speak for themselves. The charity is independent with no political or religious affiliations.