Raising awareness about the never-changing emotional needs of children under three in our ever-changing society.

CampaignsWe know beyond any doubt that the first 3 years of life shape a child's future for ever, out of all proportion to the rest of childhood. When their first 3 years are right, it brings huge benefits not only to the child but for the whole of society. This raises important questions not just about children and parents but more importantly for us all.

What About The Children? campaigns to prevent the emotional neglect of infants, calling on government, professionals and employers to institute policies and practice that support mothers with children under three to ensure that every child receives high quality, consistent, responsive loving care during their formative first three years.

Why children under three?

The brain grows to 90% of adult size by the age of three. From neurobiological research we know that during the earliest months of life the right hemisphere of the brain is developing particularly rapidly. This is the functioning area for intuitive skills needed for relationships, emotions and empathic understanding. During this period the majority of the synaptic links between the brain cells are formed; constant, close, loving emotional contact is vital for stimulating this synaptic development. We know from the research on Romanian orphans deprived of loving care in their first 36 months that their brains, at age 3, were measurably smaller than those of healthy well nurtured babies, in some cases by as much as one third.

For more information contact us or telephone 0845 602 7145.

Call for the reform of childcare provision for children under three.

CampaignsBabies Need Love Not Learning

MORE THAN A THIRD of mums of under-threes could be putting their child's development at risk because they don't see loving care as the priority when it comes to choosing childcare, new research reveals today. 34% of the mums polled say that 'social and educational opportunities' are more important than 'a close and loving bond between child and carer' when looking for childcare for their under-threes. And it's not only some parents who are missing the point; current practice amongst childcare providers does not encourage bonding between infants and key workers to form a loving attachment.

What About The Children? which conducted the research, is calling on Ofsted and the Government to review childcare policy, to reflect the vital role that a secure loving attachment plays in the mental, emotional and physical development of the children under-three.

What About The Children? acknowledges that early education and care in its current form is valuable and important for 3-4 year olds but it believes that group day care of children under three needs to be change to ensure continuity of carer and more attention to the emotional needs of children under three in day care. What About The Children? campaigns for Ofsted and the Government to implement the following changes to under-threes provision:

  • A new EYFS framework for 0-36 month olds - which is separate from that designed for the over-threes - to focus on emotional stability, not just learning
  • This to be reflected in new Ofsted criteria for under-threes, which should have attachment and loving relationships at the core
  • group daycare settings and childminders to be informed and educated about the changes