SIR - We support the Duchess of Cambridge in her mission to drive awareness of and action on the critical impact of the early years. Evidence shows that these years are the most important for children’s development and shaping the people they will become.

The Duchess’s Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood and its inaugural report, Big Change Starts Small, echo many of the values promoted and encouraged within the Montessori approach. We too are championing the importance of a holistic view to research-based decision making and policy change; supporting cross-sector and cross-discipline educational projects that highlight the essential place of early education, be that mainstream or alternative, to ensure the early years receive the recognition and discussion they deserve.

We hope this important step will encourage the Government and policymakers to consider their role in supporting the sector and young children.

It is long overdue that we, as a society, take a more holistic view of young children’s learning and that we take serious steps to professionalise the sector and respect its workforce. What ultimately matters the most, is improving outcomes for children. The more we know about the early years, the better these outcomes will be.

Leonor Stjepic, CEO of The Montessori Group, Bloomsbury Square, London