In support of Children's Mental Health Week, the Duchess of Cambridge visited two primary schools in London to find out more about the support offered to students, teachers and parents to help with mental wellbeing.
Kate was greeted by a very excited group of singing children.
Kate met Herbie the school dog.
They hit it off very well :)
The Duchess watched students participate in 'The Daily Mile'. For fifteen minutes every day students run or jog at their own pace. Teachers have found it not only improves their fitness, it also benefits their concentration in class.
Kensington Palace said: "One of the Duchess’s key areas of work is child mental health and the importance of support to provide young people with in-school mental health services at the earliest stage possible, to tackle problems before they can escalate."
Last September, it was revealed Kate had convened a steering group in preparation for a project which will support children and enable them to reach their full potential. A royal source told reporter Rebecca English it will be a "lifelong project". During the inaugural Royal Foundation Forum last February, Kate spoke about the "long-lasting resonance" the work of the Foundation should have and discussed plans for the future. "Since our roles are lifetime roles, our commitment to the work we do through the Foundation is genuinely long term. The work we do can and should have a long-lasting resonance. For this reason we're able to support causes we're passionate about for decades into the future. Like the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales we feel strongly we have to take a long-term view that is measured in generations." We expect to see the launch of the initiative at some point this month.
Simon Perry reports:
'Kate has put mental health at the forefront of her public work and recently set up a steering group of academics and experts to help advise her on the best ways forward in tackling the problem.
Her younger brother, James Middleton, recently spoke out about his own battle with depression, revealing: “I know I’m richly blessed and live a privileged life. But it did not make me immune to depression. It is tricky to describe the condition. It is not merely sadness. It is an illness, a cancer of the mind.”
James said he felt compelled to follow the lead of his sister Kate, brother-in-law Prince William and Prince Harry, who have been strong advocates for mental health.
“They believe we can only tackle the stigma associated with mental illness if we have the courage to change the national conversation, to expel its negative associations.”
Place2Be launched the first ever Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015 to shine a spotlight on the importance of children's mental health. Now in its fifth year, they hope to encourage more people than ever to get involved and spread awareness. It's been terrific to see the growth each year and the important themes chosen.
The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is ‘Healthy: Inside and Out’, focusing on the connection between physical and mental health.
More from Place2Be:
"When we think about healthy living, we tend to focus on looking after our bodies – our physical wellbeing – through food, being active and getting enough sleep. However, in order to be healthy overall, it’s important that we look after our minds – our mental wellbeing – too. Our bodies and minds are actually very closely linked, so things that we do to improve our physical wellbeing can help our mental wellbeing as well.
When we take steps to be Healthy: Inside and Out, it helps us to feel better in ourselves, focus on what we want to do and deal with difficult times. We know from our work in schools that children in every class have diagnosable mental health conditions and many more struggle with challenges from bullying to bereavement. Whether you’re someone who works with children, a parent or carer, passionate about spreading the word, or keen to raise vital funds for Place2Be you can get involved and help us reach as many people as possible."
Research by Place2Be found 56% of children said they worry "all the time", while 33% get less than the recommended nine hours of sleep every night. The charity found these children are likely to struggle with their worries more.
What a lovely way to connect with your classmates by choosing your greeting when you arrive into school. Well done year 1! 🤗 🤛 👋🤝@Place2Be #headstogether #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek #fiveways #connect #healthyminds #happyminds pic.twitter.com/SZeKKqla2F— Christ Church Primary School (@ChristChurchCoE) February 5, 2019
The Duchess was asked to bring something that made her feel good. The Mail Online reports Kate told the youngsters: "I’ve got something. It’s not very big. Do you want to see it? This is a photograph of my family. These are my children and this is my husband. And my family makes me feel happy. And we like playing outside together and spending lots of time together as a family. And that makes me feel very happy."
William and Kate chose the Autumnal photo for their Christmas card. The image was taken at their country home Anmer Hall by Matt Porteous, it was one of the most candid family shots we've seen of the Cambridges. I thought it their best Christmas card selection thus far; it offered a glimpse into their "off duty" life in Norfolk.
More from The Telegraph:
'After being greeted by singing children in the playground and dignitaries, where she was also given a posy, she joined Charlotte Monk, a Year 2 teacher, for her ‘Show and Tell’ class, listening to the youngsters talk about objects they had brought in and how they made them feel, from swimming goggles to football stickers.
Shannon showed her an orange ball and told her: "When I feel stressed at home I take it out and makes me feel a bit happier." "Did you find the ball by yourself or did someone give it to you?" asked Kate.'
The Duchess joined Year 6 pupils for a food diary, which explored the link between food choices and emotions.
More from the Mail:
Kate heard stories from others parents about challenges they faced and how they are keeping their children healthy.
‘It’s interesting how food and energy and how you feel work together,’ said Kate, smiling at the children. ‘It’s amazing the connection between physical and mental wellbeing.’
She also told them them that her three-year-old daughter already enjoyed eating olives. ‘Charlotte loves olives,’ she said, and told the youngsters how she frequently got her children to cook with her - including their favourite ‘cheesy pasta’.
She then moved into a final room to chat to a group of parents about issues affecting them and their children. ‘I’ve just been learning about healthy eating. There’s a very brave teacher who has laid out her weekly menu next door for the children to criticise,’ she told them.'
Kate heard stories from others parents about challenges they faced and how they are keeping their children healthy.
Kate received a posy of flowers from a little boy.
From there, Kate visited Alperton Community School to meet the UK’s first winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, Andria Zafirakou.
The Guardian wrote an outstanding piece covering Ms Zafirakou:
Zafirakou has spent her 12-year career at Alperton Community secondary school in Brent, teaching some of the most disadvantaged, ethnically diverse children in the country. She suspects most of us couldn’t “have a clue” about the depth of deprivation she sees in her classroom every day. “This is what deprivation looks like. Deprivation is when you have got six or seven separate families living in one house, sleeping one family to a room, sharing one bathroom and rotating the use of the kitchen. I had a girl who was truanting in my class, so I investigated and found it was because she had to go home during the middle of my lesson and cook for her family because that was their slot on the rota.” Children routinely arrive at school hungry and dirty – “I’ve put clothes in the washing machine for the kids, and we provide a free breakfast to every child” – while gang violence haunts the school gates.
These are the very conditions that put so many people off teaching, but when I ask if she wouldn’t rather teach orderly, motivated pupils, she looks amused. “Bor-ing! No, I love trying to figure out: how can I get in to that child? How can I get them to trust me and how can I help them? Trying to figure out, right, OK, that didn’t work, what do I need to try now? I love that.”
“How will those children deal with the mental health issues that they’re going to get from that system? It’s like a conveyor belt of stress,” she challenges. “How are those children going to be able to nourish themselves, and find ways of letting their anxieties out, or just being happy, being creative – socialising and building skills of resilience or perseverance?”
Kate heard how the school is using art to improve children's confidence.
The Duchess joined a roundtable discussion with teachers about students’ school readiness and teacher welfare.
Kate joined students taking part in the Random Acts of Kindness Club, which is an extra-curricular club focusing on the wellbeing of the school community.
More from People:
If you would like to support Children's Mental Health Week, donate to Place2Be or find out more please click here.
'The Duchess of Cambridge then joined the school’s “Random Acts of Kindness” club, which sees pupils writing inspirational messages to send to staff and prefects to boost morale.
“So much time and effort and energy goes into making these, it must be so appreciated by those who receive them,” she remarked.
“Does it make you happy by making them happy? Does it make you feel good?” she asked. “It goes a long way to making you feel good about yourself.”
The video below includes a clip of Kate looking at art created by students. She turns to them and jokes "This is what you can do when you don't use social media."
The Duchess chose a bespoke bright green Eponine London dress for the day.
A closer look at the fabric and pocket detail.
Kate's piece appears to be a custom version of the Spring/Summer 2018 style shown below in neon pink. It features a round neckline, the classic Eponine retro silhouette and a thick boucle wool fabric.
Kate debuted a new pair of boots - the L.K. Bennett Marissa style. The £295 boots are described as a "classic style featuring four eyelet lacing, an almond shape toe and a high block heel. Marissa is the perfect boot for dressing up the simplest of winter looks." With thanks to Alexandra for the swift ID.
The Duchess accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Lauren earrings.
And carried her black suede Mulberry clutch.
In other news, we have not one but two evening gown events coming up over the next eight days:
Sunday, 10 February - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall. The Duke, President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and the Duchess will meet BAFTA representatives and watch the ceremony. William will also present the Fellowship award.
Wednesday, 13 February - The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of 100 Women in Finance's Philanthropic Initiatives, will attend a gala dinner in aid of ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ at the V&A Museum. Kate will attend a private reception before making a short speech ahead of the dinner. Launched by the Duchess at the beginning of 2018, ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ is one of the legacy programmes from the Heads Together campaign, which aims to help people of all ages start conversations about their mental health.
The Palace also announced Kate will attend The Royal Foundation’s ‘Mental Health in Education’ conference on Wednesday 13th February. The conference brings together delegates from health and education to discuss what more can be done to tackle mental health issues in schools in support of both pupils and staff.