The engagement officially marks the end of Kate's maternity leave. Since Prince Louis was born we've seen Kate at a handful of engagements including Trooping the Colour, RAF centenary events and Wimbledon. The Cambridges spent a large portion of the summer at their country home Anmer Hall, enjoyed two weeks on the paradise island of Mustique, and travelled to Balmoral for a weekend with the Royal family. September saw George and Charlotte return to Thomas' Battersea and Willcocks Nusery for another year. The pair also had starring roles as page boy and bridesmaid for the Norfolk wedding of Charlotte's godmother Sophie Carter.
Kate chatted with a group of representatives upon arrival, before receiving a very warm welcome and several hugs from a group of children. Royal reporter Emily Andrews tweeted: "Kate was very happy to talk to the kids at St Augustine’s CoE Primary. They are aged 4-5 so the school year between George and Charlotte. Kate was great with them, asked them to show her all around and tell her what they liked best."
Today's engagement was an ideal choice for Kate combining her love of the outdoors and children.
In a letter written to coincide with Children's Hospice Week, organised by Together for Short Lives earlier this year, Kate wrote: "Spending quality time together is such an important aspect of family life and for me, as a mother, it is the simple family moments like playing outside together that I cherish."
Sayers Croft is a residential activity centre based in Surrey, which is owned by Westminster City Council. It aims to involve children and the local community in the environment, providing outdoor facilities for those who may otherwise be unable to access them. In London they have worked with Westminster City Council and Ruth Willmott Associates to create a Wildlife Garden, with an edible garden area and a Forest Garden.
'As she walked through the park, Kate shook hands with other parents out with their children and met with locals. She told one group of well-wishers that she had enjoyed her time with the kids at their forest school. She smiled and added, “All I found were tiny slugs! There are amazing facilities here,” she said. “Are you out for a walk?”
Mirianthe Engomitis, 56, says, “She said we were lucky to live near a place like this. She was asking if we had been here to see the park progress. It was lovely of her to stop.”
Last year, Sayers Croft Forest School had over 5,500 visits by schoolchildren from across Westminster and neighbouring boroughs, giving inner-city children a unique opportunity to learn about and engage with the natural world.'
Sayers Croft Field Centre was built in 1939 as part of the Camp Schools Programme to provide an educational base for city children to visit and learn about the countryside. However, at the outbreak of World War II the following year, the centre became home to evacuees from Catford Central Boys School in London, many of whom spent four years at Sayers Croft and remember it fondly. After the war the centre returned to its original purpose, to provide residential visits for schools where children could study science, geography and a wealth of other hands on subjects in the natural environment.
The centre still has all of the original buildings as well as original air raid shelters but a lot has changed in 70 years. Below, the dining room, then and now.
Sayers Croft has 56 acres comprising of a variety of habitats including ancient and managed woodlands, meadows, ponds, streams and fields. The site also has: Indoor archery range, Iron Age roundhouse, Maze, Craft room, BBQ and campfire areas, Camping field and tents and an Adventure Playground.
The Roundhouse is particularly popular with children visiting.
A thank you letter from a little girl called Amelie.
The Mail reports:
'Zoe Stroud, the interim head at Sayers Croft, said the duchess 'loved getting amongst the ivy' and spotted a frog. Ms Stroud said: 'The duchess asked parents questions about whether they found a change in their children, in their ability to work together, in their self esteem.' She said the children knew who they were speaking to: 'They're not that shy, but they do know she's a princess. Ms Stroud added that one of the youngsters referred to Kate as 'your majesty'.
Hello! reports "She helped collect leaves as the kids made 'leaf crowns'. "Look I made this," one youngster said, showing Kate his creation. "It's so pretty, so pretty. Those leaves look like jewels. They are amazing," she said."
The Duchess saw first-hand the positive impact that the Forest School has on children's emotional and physical wellbeing. She was shown the wildlife garden and met children involved in exploratory and investigative outdoor activities. Kate told the group she spends hours looking for spiders with George and Charlotte at home.
The Duchess joined Forest School sessions. Kate also heard from instructors and teachers about the beneficial effect that outdoor learning and being around nature can have on children's mental health, wellbeing and development.
Then it was Storytime with the group.
This little lady stole the show :)
Emily Andrews said Kate met a very sweet little boy named Romi. “He’s very chatty, he’s almost the same age as my little boy” she said.
Then it was time to say goodbye.
The video below is packed with moments from Kate's outdoor adventure with the excited group.
The Duchess was casual in new green separates and favourite pieces from her wardrobe for the outing.
Christin Zi noted Kate selected pieces from Swedish outdoor clothing brand Fjallraven. The $200 Stina Jacket is described as a "practical, comfortable, durable, everyday jacket". It featured a fixed hood and two side pockets. It's available in several colours at Fjallraven, MooseJaw, Zappos and Amazon.
The Duchess also wore the forest green wool Ovik sweater by the brand.
Kate wore her olive green ZARA biker trousers. The Duchess first wore them during the 2016 India tour.
The Mid-Rise trousers feature distinctive knee detail.
Kate accessorised with her Monica Vinader Siren wire earrings.
And completed the look with her Penelope Chilvers Long Tassel Boots.
Kate's hair looked fabulous today. Welcome back :)
Kensington Palace confirmed William and Kate will attend the first Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit on Tuesday 9th October. The Mental Health Summit will see political figures, leading academics and policy-makers from around the world come together with one common goal: better mental health for all. The meeting will help countries work together to deal with stigma attached to mental health and address other issues to do with mental ill-health. The couple will attend a workstream on 'Children, Young People and the Next Generation'.