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Promoting Public Understanding of Child Development in the UK

A FrameWorks Communications Toolkit

Welcome to Promoting Public Understanding of Child Development in the UK—a collection of framing research, recommendations, and sample communications.


Welcome to Promoting Public Understanding of Child Development in the UK—a collection of framing research, recommendations, and sample communications.

This toolkit is designed to help leading voices in the child development and care sector increase public understanding of

  • the importance of ensuring the long-term wellbeing of children as healthy citizens and future workers;
  • the challenges the United Kingdom faces in fostering positive development outcomes for all of our children;
  • how early child development and child mental health happen; and
  • the relationship between healthy child development and the design and delivery of quality programs and services for children and their families in all UK communities.

This toolkit, sponsored by the Social Research Unit at Dartington and generously funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s A Better Start programme and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, is designed to help communicators in the field to translate the science of early childhood development and mental health in the British context, in order to increase public support for evidence-based programs and policies designed to improve child and social outcomes in the UK. The toolkit models how to use the FrameWorks Institute’s evidence-based recommendations for communicating with average UK residents about these issues in ways that build public understanding and support.

The kit’s materials include:

  • sample “ready to go” communications that can be used as is or adapted and repurposed for your organisation’s needs;
  • communications examples that demonstrate the “do’s and don’ts” of the framing recommendations;
  • graphics and Tweets that model the key concepts of the recommendations;
  • annotations that explain the framing strategies being illustrated.

Users are encouraged to borrow toolkit language verbatim if desired—no citation or special permissions are needed—and also to adapt the examples to the immediate needs of a local communications context.

For 15 years, FrameWorks Institute research has demonstrated that effective communications can help activate the public’s engagement with complex social issues—such as the child development support and resources necessary to help all children achieve good development outcomes. This toolkit is based on the findings of ten years of international empirical communications research on how to effectively translate early childhood development, in addition to a year of multi-method social science research in the British context. This British-based research has queried the thinking of 6,560 Britons and included peer discourse sessions, on-the-street interviews, large-scale surveys and usability trials. For more on the evidence base that informs the recommendations in this toolkit, visit our website.

Getting Started

New to framing? These materials offer a succinct overview.

Key Framing Guides

Useful guides to keep communicators on frame.

Communications Samples

These materials model how to apply the tested frame elements to current news or calendar events. They can be used as templates or taken as ready-to-go communications pieces, adapted to local contexts (by adding, for example, local references or site-specific information) or restructured for a variety of media (for instance, by repurposing an editorial as a blog post or public remarks).

Multimedia Resources

Animations make it easier to apply tested frame elements to your communications and presentations.

Building Better Brains

This short animation models the Core Story of early childhood development.


This short animation explains how children’s mental health must be level—just like a table—in order to support their ability to function well in their daily lives.

Skills Rope

This short animation explains how children’s development of cognitive, social, and emotional skills relies on interdependent processes, similar to the way many strands form a rope.

Resilience Scale

This short animation explains how child development is like a scale, whose outcome can be assisted by piling up positive factors that contribute to healthy outcomes and offloading negative ones.

Additional Research