Kate wants the project, called Shaping Us, to highlight the significance of the formative years of a child’s life.
In a speech made on Monday night at Bafta’s London HQ, the princess said: “The campaign is fundamentally about shining a spotlight on the critical importance of early childhood and how it shapes the adults we become.
“During this time we lay the foundations and building blocks for life.
“And it is when we learn to understand ourselves, understand others and understand the world in which we live.
“This is why it is essential to not only understand the unique importance of our earliest years, but to know what we can all do to help raise future generations of happy, healthy adults.”
The long-term project, launched on Tuesday by the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, is said to be Kate’s “life’s work”, which she hopes will influence attitudes towards children in the early years period of their lives.
During her speech the princess outlined the scope of the campaign, describing it as a “long-term” project, beginning with how a child develops and the importance of these formative years.
It will go on to “explore in more depth the importance of a child’s social and emotional world” and the significance of relationships and “surroundings and experiences”.
A 90-second claymation film has also been released, depicting how the development of a young girl from the age of zero to five is shaped by interactions and her environment, and will be shown in cinemas from Friday.
It was aired at the evening reception hosted by Bafta and attended by celebrity supporters including former Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes, rapper Professor Green, presenter Fearne Cotton and Lionesses captain Leah Williamson.
After the screening Williamson praised Kate’s project as “amazing” and revealed she had not met the Prince of Wales since he gave her a hug after the national team won the women’s Euros last summer.
Speaking about the campaign, she added: “So I think it’s an amazing, amazing thing to start raising awareness of because we won’t see the fruits of this tomorrow or next year, but in years to come and how we look at our society.
“I hope that we are in a better position because of things like this.”