The Duchess of Cambridge has been secretly working behind-the-scenes with the BBC on a new online platform which aims to support parents in developing the communication and language skills of their children. Mum-of-three Kate described the Tiny Happy People initiative as "gold dust" for parents as she was interviewed by BBC Breakfast's Louise Minchin about the project.
WATCH: Duchess of Cambridge backs BBC's new initiative Tiny Happy People
The Duchess met with three families who have been involved in the creation and piloting of the digital resource, which features free activity and play ideas for nought to four-year-olds. Kate, wearing a black and white polka dot dress by Emilia Wickstead, held a socially distanced meeting in a garden last week with Ryan and his eight-month-old daughter Mia; Henrietta, Abu and their 11-month-old daughter Amirah; and Kerry, Darren and their two-year-old son Dexter to see how they have used the resources.
Kate with Abu, Henrietta and their daughter Amirah
The Duchess revealed to Louise that she wished she had had a resource like Tiny Happy People, when she was a first-time mum, during the interview, which will be shown in full on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday. She said: "In the first few months, there's a huge amount of support from midwives and health visitors. But from then onwards, there's a massive gap before they then start school.
"Hearing some of the things from the parents today, Ryan at the beginning, saying how his baby has got five different cries.
"He's learnt a huge amount from Tiny Happy People and it's information like that I wish I had had as a first-time mum, but, for so many parents, it's gold dust really for families to be given those tips and tools to be able to use, particularly in these first five years."
Kate speaking with Ryan and daughter Mia
Back in November 2019, Kensington Palace confirmed to HELLO! that the Duchess met with the BBC Children’s and Education team and then the The Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the BBC's General Director, at Old Broadcasting House in London.
It's now been revealed that during that visit, Kate met the Tiny Happy People team to take part in development sessions and to learn more about the production process. The Duchess helped in the character and background development for two animations on parenting, which are now available on the Tiny Happy People website about making eye contact with babies and singing to babies.
In England, one in four children starting primary school are behind with their language learning, rising to 42 per cent in some areas, according to the Department for Education.
The online platform offers a range of free films, articles, quizzes and parenting tips that have been specially designed with experts to help to nurture children's language right from pregnancy.
Kate with the Tiny Happy People team at the BBC
The Duchess of Cambridge, who has made early years development one of her key focuses, said: "Families and carers are at the heart of nurturing the next generation of happy, healthy adults, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to turn to for advice. Tiny Happy People is an invaluable resource which provides parents and carers with support and tips, as well as simple activities to ensure children develop the language skills they need to have the best possible start in life. I am delighted to have been part of its journey and hope families across the UK will enjoy exploring the resources."
Kensington Palace says that the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will collaborate with the BBC as they continue to develop and roll out Tiny Happy People.
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