Jill Biden, Kate Middleton visit school to focus on early childhood education

Jill Biden, Kate Middleton visit school to focus on early childhood education

June 11, 2021

First lady Jill Biden and Kate Middleton on Friday visited a school in Cornwall, the site of the G-7 summit, to put a focus on the importance of early childhood education.

Biden, a longtime teacher, and the Duchess of Cambridge toured the state-funded Connor Downs Academy, which works with students who have experienced trauma in their lives.

PHOTO: First lady Jill Biden  and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge chat with children during their visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, Cornwall on the sidelines of the G7 summit on June 11, 2021.

They walked in wearing face masks, but were the only ones wearing them inside.

The two women chatted with the students, ages 4-11, asking them about the projects they were working on and the students, all wearing uniforms, showed off their work.

PHOTO: Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and first lady Jill Biden chat with children during their visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, Cornwall on the sidelines of the G7 summit, June 11, 2021.

They were told by the teacher that the students were learning about how to make the world a better place and how to sound out words and write sentences.

Biden seemed very much in her element, sitting down with students who were reading “Greta and the Giants,” working on math and drawing.

PHOTO:First lady Jill Biden and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, talk with children during a visit to Connor Downs Academy, in Hayle, Cornwall, Britain, June 11, 2021.

Biden and Middleton sat at three different tables during their time inside and at the final one, where their teacher said they were learning about the White House and Kensington Palace, Biden picked up a photo of the White House and leaned over to a young girl to point out where her bedroom is.

PHOTO: First lady Jill Biden shows a picture of the White House as she visits Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, Cornwall on the sidelines of the G7 summit, June 11, 2021.

Asked how important early childhood education is, especially in a pandemic, Biden answered, “It’s the foundation of everything. I can tell you that as a teacher at the upper levels, if they don’t have a good foundation, they fall so far behind. So, this is amazing to see what these children are doing and how far advanced they are at 4 or 5 years old. It’s impressive.”

PHOTO: Britain's Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, left, and first lady Jill Biden, carry  carrots for the school rabbit, Storm, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, West Cornwall, during the G7 summit in England, June 11, 2021.

Later, Biden and Middleton went outside with a tray of carrots so the the students could feed one of the school’s five rabbits they take care of, named Storm.

PHOTO: First lady Jill Biden and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, meet the school rabbit, Storm, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy, in Hayle, Cornwall, Britain, June 11, 2021.

They then listened to a roundtable of educators from the U.K and others from the U.S., participating virtually, in a discussion that focused on mental health, early childhood development and including parents involved earlier in their schooling.

PHOTO: First lady Jill Biden and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge take part in a round table discussion during her visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, Cornwall on the sidelines of the G7 summit, June 11, 2021.

“As an educator myself, so much of what you’re saying has certainly touched my life,” Biden said, reflecting on the years she spent teaching at a psychiatric hospital.

“Early childhood education is so important to lay the foundation for all of our students,” she said, and thanked the Duchess for inviting her.

Middleton said it was a “huge honor” to have Biden in the United Kingdom and thanked her for her interest in early childhood education.

“I have a million questions written down here,” Biden said, as the event was ending. “I had so many things that I wanted to ask about, but I guess I’ll have to just come back.”

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