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Kate Middleton Debuts Unique Claymation Film for Her New Campaign

Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales attends a pre-campaign launch event, hosted by The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, at BAFTA in central London on January 30, 2023
Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales attends a pre-campaign launch event, hosted by The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, at BAFTA in central London on January 30, 2023

EDDIE MULHOLLAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton has officially launched her Shaping Us campaign to raise awareness of the unique importance of early childhood — and she's doing it with the help of a new film.

The 90-second claymation film shows how a little girl named Layla develops from pregnancy to age five and how she is shaped by her interactions with the people and environment around her. The short film, which features a track by Lokki entitled "Breathe a Breath of Me," will appear on Piccadilly Lights at Piccadilly Circus in London and will be screened in cinemas across the U.K. starting on Friday.

The Princess of Wales is spearheading the campaign, which seeks to increase public understanding of the crucial importance of the first five years of a child's life.

"The way we develop, through our experiences, relationships, and surroundings during our early childhood, fundamentally shapes our whole lives," Kate says. "It affects everything from our ability to form relationships and thrive at work, to our mental and physical well-being as adults and the way we parent our own children."

"These are the most preventative years. By focusing our collective time, energy, and resources to build a supportive, nurturing world around the youngest members of our society and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to the health and happiness of generations to come," she continues.

"All of society has a role to play in this, even if you are not directly involved in a child's life, because we are all responsible for building a more compassionate world in which our children can grow, learn and live.

"In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to help support parents and caregivers provide loving, safe and secure homes for their babies and young children to thrive."

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01HRS ON TUESDAY 31ST JANUARY, Kate Middleton, Centre for Early Childhood
STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01HRS ON TUESDAY 31ST JANUARY, Kate Middleton, Centre for Early Childhood

The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood Shaping Us: Layla's Story

On Monday, Kate made a landmark speech as she kicked off a week-long series of events in support of Shaping Us. And those close to her say that this ongoing work will define her public duties for decades to come.

"She wants this to be her life's work. In terms of legacy, she would want in 10 years' time, to see a much greater societal change in awareness when it comes to the early years," a Kensington Palace spokesperson adds.

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01HRS ON TUESDAY 31ST JANUARY -Kate Middleton, Centre for Early Childhood
STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01HRS ON TUESDAY 31ST JANUARY -Kate Middleton, Centre for Early Childhood

The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood Shaping Us: Layla's Story

Adds Amanda Berry, CEO of the Royal Foundation, "The early years is a lifetime passion for the princess."

Aides say that even though she's a mother of three to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, it is not parenthood that is driving her.

When she started her royal working life more than a decade ago and focused on issues such as mental health and addiction, she found that often the suffering of those she met could be traced back to those earliest years of life.

Following her fact-finding mission, she learned more and picked up more expertise and wanted to know more about how the first five years of children's lives really shape their physical and mental health and well-being later on as adults.

Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales (L) and Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales
Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales (L) and Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales

EDDIE MULHOLLAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Prince William and Kate Middleton

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New data from Kate's Centre for Early Childhood shows there is much work to be done in raising knowledge. According to a study in the U.K., around one in three (36 percent) of adults report knowing just a little or nothing about how children develop in their early childhood. This follows Kate's successful survey last year that found that very few people recognize the unique importance of the 0-5 years old age range compared to other stages of life.

Professor Eamon McCrory, Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology at University College London, is one of eight expert advisers to Princess Kate in her work.

"During our earliest years more than a million connections between the nerve cells in our brain are formed every second - faster than at any other time in our ives. These connections drive our development, building the foundations for all future learning, behavior, and health," McCrory said. "By ensuring children and parents are supported during this critical period we – as individuals and a society – can positively influence the lives of the next generation for decades to come."

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Carey Oppenheim, Early Childhood Lead at The Nuffield Foundation and another member of The Centre for Early Childhood's Advisory Group, added, "Healthy, happy childhoods matter to families in the here and now, as well as providing the foundations for the health, wellbeing, and productivity of future generations.

Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales (L) and Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales attend a pre-campaign launch event, hosted by The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, at BAFTA in central London on January 30, 2023.
Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales (L) and Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales attend a pre-campaign launch event, hosted by The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, at BAFTA in central London on January 30, 2023.

ED MULHOLLAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Prince William and Kate Middleton

"Parents and carers cannot do this alone, and nor should we expect them to. Families are increasingly experiencing inequality and uncertainty and deserve support from wider society. That might be individuals like the neighbor we see in the film offering their help, wider members of the community creating supportive environments and professionals such as healthcare workers, social workers and early years practitioners with the training and expertise to help.

"It also includes systems and structures designed with young children and their carers in mind, such as quality early education and childcare, accessible local parks and safe, affordable housing."