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.
Book now for our 2019 National Conference March 20th 2019 10.30 to 4.30
What Price Infant Mental Health? what are the costs of ignoring the emotional wellbeing of our youngest children?
The focus of our 2019 conference is infant mental health and what needs to change to reduce the growing number of children and young people with mental health problems. Speakers include: Dr Cheryll Adams CBE Institute of Health Visiting, Mary Gordon, Founder & President of Roots of Empathy, Dr Pam Jarvis, Leeds Trinity University, Dr Aric Sigman, Member of a Fit and Healthy Childhood APPG..Dame Sarah Storey, Paralympian & Ambassador for the Disabled. To book your place go to 2019 conference page
What people said about our 2018 National Conference
"Thanks you for the conference. It was an amazing reflective space"
"Thank you. Brilliant.. Inspirational work as always"
"It has brought my enthusiasm alive again."
"Your conference always invigorates me."
"Great conference "
"Very high quality speakers. I'm so filled with optimism for the future"
"My first time. Really impressed. Enough reading material to keep me going for months. Very, very well done."
Images from our 2018 conference
Infant mental health on a Page - What About The Children? has been meeting with other members of the All Parliamentary Group, 'From Conception to Age 2' to develop a shared narrative about infant mental health. Currently, many different terms and phrases are used, especially by policy makers, which often leads to misunderstanding and a dilution of the importance of the emotional wellbeing of the under threes in government policy. The goal is to create a clear, concise and compelling descriptor based on the best evidence - "Infant Mental Health on a Page".
OFSTED Education Inspection Framework Consultation - OFSTED is carrying out a process of consultation on its proposed changes to the Education Inspection Framework (EIF). HM Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman sees these changes as "an evolution, not a revolution" actively seeking the views of professionals and others. For sometime What About The Children? has been concerned that the Early Years Foundation Stage Guidance and the EIF don't sufficiently acknowledge the importance of 'consistency of carer' especially during the key period of development 0 to 3 . The EIF includes inspections of settings for the early years 0 -5. What About The Children? has attended a number of the nationwide series of regional consultation meetings arranged by OFSTED, to 'speak out' about the importance of attachment and the emotional needs of the under threes and why meeting these needs should be a key judgement of quality in inspections of early years provision. We are also working on a written submission on the EIF to OFSTED by the deadline in April.
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.