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.
A summary of the Goodman Lecture 'Are we betraying children and childhood and if so what's to be done about it' given by Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green is now available to download. Other conference papers are also available.
RESPOND, CUDDLE, RELAX, PLAY, TALK the building blocks for a healthy brain.
On a recent visit to Bedford, What About The Children? saw first-hand the benefits of a universal integrated approach with a clear emphasis on attachment, continuity of care and relationships. Bedford Early Years Partnership has adopted Five to Thrive, a programme which recognises that parents are the most important people in children's lives and how parents behave around their baby in their first three years has a significant impact on how the baby's brain develops. Bedford Council's Early Years Partnership is an example of a service with a 'holistic continuum of support which aims to provide all children a firm foundation in life. Their offer provides an integrated range of multi-agency support from pre birth to 3 years plus.
Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green in conversation with delegates at our 2017 national conference 'Do infants have rights? Who has the responsibility?
Royal support for infant mental health
The Duchess of Cambridge attended the launch of 'Out of the blue' a suite of films produced by Best Beginnings to raise better awareness about perinatal mental health. The films have been shaped by focus groups, Stakeholder days, independent editorial board and Parent Panel. What About The Children? has been a contributor to this development process and was invited to attend the launch event held at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. To find out more about these resources go to www.bestbeginnings.org.uk
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.