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Early years

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Our aim is to provide every child with the best possible start in life.
All you need to know about pregnancy through to your child's first five years of life.
We are committed to making the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) a reality for all children and young people in Wales.
Reducing poverty, particularly persistent poverty, in some of our poorest areas and communities is at the centre of the Welsh Government’s policy agenda.
We want to ensure the way we govern has the most effective impact on making our society fairer and more inclusive.
Practitioner with young children
The support and stimulation children receive in their early years fundamentally affects their abilities and potential throughout life.

The early years, which in Wales is defined as the period of life from pre-birth to the end of Foundation Phase or 0 to 7 years of age, is a critical part of childhood; a time children should be able to enjoy, when they grow, develop, play and learn in a safe and nurturing environment.

Many factors influence a child’s life chances and progress in the early years. There are long lasting and positive effects from early years programmes. This is recognised in Building a Brighter Future: Early Years and Childcare Plan.

The key themes in the Plan are:

  • children’s health and well-being
  • supporting families and parents
  • high-quality early education and childcare
  • effective primary education
  • raising standards.

The Plan sets out the direction of travel for the next 10 years and brings coherence across different policies and programmes impacting on and influencing children and families in the early years.

If you need further information please email earlyyears@wales.gsi.gov.uk.