Early childhood care and education should be among “the defining strategic issues of our time”, Kate Middleton and the US first lady have said.
Kate and Jill Biden called for a “fundamental shift” in the approach to a key life stage in a joint article based on their shared passion for improving early years development.
In the article published by CNN, Kate and Dr Biden said the early years really matter for life prospects and expertise needs to be “at the heart of how we rebuild with boldness and purpose from the pandemic”.
The joint article came after they met for the first time at Connor Downs Academy in Hayle in the county of Cornwall, where world leaders have gathered for the G7 summit.
The two women said they hoped to work together internationally on the issue with measures including conversations in families and communities about the subject, and business leaders looking at how to support parents and caregivers.
Great value should be placed on the role of mothers, fathers and caregivers as the disruption of the pandemic has helped people focus on the things that matter most, they said.
“Having been kept apart, we all value our connection to our families and loved ones in a much deeper way,” they added.
“If we care about how children perform at school, how they succeed in their careers when they are older, and about their lifelong mental and physical health, then we have to care about how we are nurturing their brains, their experiences and relationships in the early years before school.”
Kate has previously focused on the role early childhood has on lifelong outcomes while Dr Biden is a community college educator with more than 30 years of teaching experience.
Pledging to champion this work in years to come, they: “This is an agenda that should unite us all.
“We must have new conversations in our families and communities. We need CEOs to consider how they support the parents and caregivers in their workforces.
“And we need leaders across the world to understand that early childhood care and education is where they can make some of the most important, long-term impacts for their nations.
“We both have work to do in our own countries, but we also hope that we can work together across borders and oceans on how to elevate the importance of early care and learning for children.
“We should undertake new, international research projects and highlight the most successful, innovative examples of early years interventions that we can all share and learn from.”