Kate Middleton proved that it’s never too late to learn something new, dropping in on a high school science class studying children’s psychological development.
The royal paid a visit to the Nower Hill High School in London on Wednesday to sit in on a lesson, much to the surprise of the 12 and 13-year-olds who were not informed they’d have a special guest until about 15 minutes before her arrival. Once there, Kate met with a few of the students learning about neuroscience and the importance of early childhood in brain development. These lessons were based on research from Oxford University’s department of psychiatry about the importance of learning during the first five years of life and how it goes on to impact the rest of that child’s future.
Middleton told the students she met with, “Really well done. I completely found it interesting. It’s a real passion of mine. Learning about babies’ brains, about how our adult brains develop and how our early childhood influences the adults we become.” She added, “Keep thinking about it, keep talking about it with your friends. Well done, I’m super impressed. Thank you for having me today.” This area of study has long been of great interest to the Duchess of Cambridge who, earlier this year, launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. The center is intended to “drive awareness of and action on the extraordinary impact of the early years, in order to transform society for generations to come” and help ameliorate some of today’s biggest societal issues such as addiction, family breakdown, poor mental health, suicide and homelessness.
The headteacher of the high school, Louise Voden, told People of Kate’s visit to the classroom, “I never thought she would do that!” Voden continued, “She was an absolute natural. She was really interested in what they had to say and their thoughts about the materials they had been learning about. She clearly feels very passionately about it.” She also said that the whole visit was “delightful” and the Duchess “made them feel at ease” by “reading the children’s body language and knowing who is perhaps a little hesitant and nervous. She picked up on the signs with the children, and got down to their level and asked questions in language they can understand. She really engaged with them and asked them great questions. She was just extremely down to earth.”
“You can see the interest genuinely stems from the fact that some children who don’t enjoy the right experiences in their very early years go on to have real problems. She is really keen to see this work go into the mainstream science curriculum,” the teacher added of Kate’s ongoing investment in adolescent mental health. “Speaking with her she is clearly interested in young people’s mental health and is concerned about young people’s mental health. Things have gotten so much worse for young people during the pandemic. We are seeing poorer mental health in young people at the moment and it is something we are all concerned about.”
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