The Duchess of Cambridge was in south west London on Tuesday to visit Robin Hood Primary School in Raynes Park, where she joined in celebrations for the pupils’ work with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Campaign for School Gardening.
Dressed casually in knee-high boots, jeans and a wax jacket, Kate’s considerable personal interest in gardening was on display as she joined children in activities at the outdoor learning area and sensory garden. The pupils are just some of the thousands in the 34,000 schools and groups that have become engaged in gardening through the campaign, which provides children with opportunities to boost their development and enhance their skills.
The Duchess also gave a speech during the engagement in which she said: “I’ve got such fond memories of being in the garden and being outside from my own childhood, and I’m sharing that with my own children George and Charlotte at the moment.
“What you have created here is really so special. Hopefully you will have lots of memories of your time here in the garden, looking for insects or planting bulbs. I hope you remember these special times for the rest of your lives.”
During her visit, the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge also received a briefing on the nation-wide Royal Horticultural Society’s campaign, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. In addition to the physical and mental benefits children receive from working outside in nature, she also heard more about the crucial life skills the campaign helps foster such as communication, personal confidence and the benefits of teamwork.
One of the highlights of the visit was Kate’s visit to Robin Hood Primary School’s eco-friendly ‘Bug-ingham Palace’, an outdoor home for caterpillars, ladybirds, woodlice and stag beetles. The school has developed a progressive outdoor learning curriculum for all their pupils with the RHS’s support. This includes a purpose built Outdoor Learning Area and Sensory Garden as well as a range of outdoor classes in the woodland setting that encourage the pupils to explore and develop their knowledge and understanding of the natural environment.
The school’s outdoor learning co-ordinator, Sally Spires, said of Kate: “She was incredibly warm and interested and understood the idea of using outdoor learning to promote the development and mental health of young children.
“She clearly enjoys it herself and said how much she enjoys getting her children out in the garden with their toys and dinosaurs.”