The Duchess of Cambridge and Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady of the United States, together visited Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, West Cornwall, and led a roundtable discussion on the importance of early childhood on lifelong outcomes. The visit took place during the first day of the G7 Summit.
The Duchess and Dr. Biden firstly visited the school’s Reception Class to hear how its pupils are supported through a bespoke Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, which uses child-led teaching to help its pupils to develop as independent, confident and successful learners. Her Royal Highness and The First Lady also joined children taking part in a number of classroom activities.
Delivering education to children aged 4-11 years old, Connor Downs Academy is a member of the Aspire Academy Trust family which comprises 28 primary schools across Cornwall. It works to create a caring and challenging environment in which all pupils are encouraged to fulfil their potential. The school recognises and values the importance of nurturing positive relationships and actively supports the mental health and wellbeing of both children and staff.
The Duchess and Dr. Biden then led a roundtable discussion with a number of representatives from the early years sector who have been influential in The Duchess’ work in this space, working closely with The Royal Foundation. They discussed why early childhood is so important to lifelong outcomes and what can be done to make a difference.
The importance of providing adequate support for parents and children alike during early childhood, and the positive impact that this can have across society, is something which Her Royal Highness and The First Lady have both gained an understanding of through their respective work.
For over ten years, The Duchess of Cambridge has seen first-hand how the root cause of so many of today’s hardest social challenges – from poor mental health and addiction to family breakdown and homelessness – can be traced right back to the earliest years of life. In that time, she has worked with experts and spent time listening to the sector, parents, families and carers about their experience of and work on the early years. Next week, The Duchess will step up her work in this area, with a major announcement outlining how she will elevate the importance of early childhood and continue the conversation on this vital issue.
Through her years as an English professor and former high school teacher and reading specialist, Dr. Biden has witnessed the struggle of students who lacked a solid foundation of early childhood care and education. She, along with President Biden, are committed to increasing opportunities for all children and young people to grow, learn, and gain the skills they need to succeed.