The Princess of Wales has called for “action at every level” to help balance and restore society's social and emotional skills, as her early childhood foundation published new research on the subject.
In a keynote speech at a symposium convened by Kate to discuss the findings, the future queen said skills are the “human wiring we need”.
He emphasized the importance of children's development in the early years and said that those he had met at a “crisis point” in their lives had told them that, in order for others to avoid their journey, a safe and loving childhood was needed.
Former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair was invited to the event and took part in a Q&A with his former Commons opponent, former Tory leader Lord Hague, to discuss the importance of early years development.
Kate's Royal Foundation Center for Early Childhood Kensington Palace held a global listening exercise, involving experts from 21 countries, with the results described as “almost a manifesto for social and emotional skills”, by the centre's director, Christian Guy.
Speaking at London's Design Museum, which hosted the event, the princess said: “The skills that allow us to know ourselves, manage our emotions, focus our thoughts, communicate with others, cultivate positive relationships and exploring the world are just as valuable to our long-term success as reading, writing, or arithmetic.
“These skills are the foundation, not only for helping children thrive, but also for restoring, protecting and investing in humanity.
“So to balance and restore calls for new thinking and action at every level. Because the future for our children is something we all build together, through the actions that each one of us takes every day.”
Kate launched the Shaping Us in the Early Years campaign in January, which aims to highlight the importance of the formative years of a child's life.
The long-term project is said to be her “life's work”, which she hopes will influence attitudes towards children in their early years.
Ahead of her speech, she briefly met Shaping Us champion TV presenter Fearne Cotton, who is hosting the event, and admitted she was “nervous” but “excited” ahead of her speech.
She also revealed that her youngest child, Prince Louis, is being taught in a nurturing environment at Lambrook School in Berkshire.
Kate told Cotton: “Louis' class, they came back with a wheel of emotions, it's really good… these are five or six-year-olds and they go with names or pictures of a color that represents how they're feeling that day, so there's a real appetite at school, especially taking part in discussions'.
In her speech, Kate said she wants the new research to “find out how we help people grow, think and behave throughout life”, bringing together different groups from health systems to businesses and scientists to look at one question.
“What are the key skills that we develop in early childhood, but continue to grow beyond, that help create the basic foundations for life and allow us to continue to thrive as adults?” asked.
“The task was to find a common bridge and distill a set of basic skills that could be applied equally to children and adults.”
Sir Tony and Lord Hague were questioned on stage by Cotton and the former prime minister said: “I don't think there should be a big political divide about the importance of the early years. wherever you sit on the political spectrum, you should accept it, and people do.”
He added: “The question is what is the best way to implement the right policy to make this a reality? And, by the way, those countries that have focused a lot on early education, particularly some of the Nordic countries, you can see the results there at the later educational level.”
In a lighter moment, the former Conservative Party leader joked about Sir Tony's flirtation with pop music with his band Ugly Rumors while at university.
Lord Hague, chairman of the trustees of the Royal Foundation of the Prince and Princess of Wales, who stood down as Tory leader after Sir Tony led Labor to a general election victory in 2001, quipped: “If you had become a rock star , I would have had such an easier career.”