The Princess of Wales, Catherine, visited Sittingbourne based local specialist centre, Orchards, to participate in the Family Portage Session as part of the Early Childhood Campaign ‘Shaping Us’ that was launched at the beginning of this year to highlight the importance of first five years of a child’s life and their life-long impact.
This was Kate’s second engagement of the week. Yesterday, she visited Leeds and Lancaster
The Princess of Wales is visiting the Orchards Centre in Kent to highlight the importance of supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities, as well as their families. It’s all part of her #shapingus campaign. pic.twitter.com/c9ndd84VmE
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) September 27, 2023
Early Years and their life-long impact is the core focus of The Princess of Wales’ public role as the member of the Royal Family. Kate has been working on the issue for more than a decade now. In 2021, The Princess of Wales launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood that works towards driving awareness of and action on the extraordinary impact of the early years, in order to transform society for the future.
The Centre focuses on three key areas of activity:
- Research: promoting and commissioning high-quality research to increase knowledge and share best practice;
- Collaboration: working with people from across the private, public and voluntary sectors to collaborate on new solutions; and
- Creating Change: developing creative campaigns to raise awareness and inspire action, driving real, positive change on the early years.
Portage is a service for children with special education needs and disabilities from birth up to pre-school age and works with families to aid the development of their children. The service is available across England and Wales as home learning sessions in the community where specially trained Portage practitioners work with families and their children to learn together, play together and enhance their participation in the community.
“It is the first in a series of engagements she will carry out in the run-up to Christmas in support of her long-term Shaping Us campaign, which aims to highlight the importance of childhood experiences for the under-fives.” – The Telegraph
The Kent Portage Centre provides support to children with special needs and disabilities and their families. The National Portage Association is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and works with over 100 Portage services providing a quality framework and training for Portage practitioners and parents.
In February this year, The Princess of Wales launched a campaign called ‘Shaping Us’ to raise awareness of early childhood . The campaign highlights how during early childhood, from pregnancy to the age of five, our brains develop at an amazing rate – faster than at any other time in our lives. The research has shown that our experiences, relationships and surroundings in the first five years of our lives fundamentally shape our future self. You can read more about Catherine’s work on Early Childhood here.
During the session today, Catherine was joined by seven children with a range of special needs, including social communications difficulties, Autism and Down Syndrome. The Princess met each child, one of their parents and a Portage practitioner who supports each family.
“The visit is an opportunity for The Princess of Wales to learn about the difficulties faced by many parents and carers who struggle for the time and resources needed to look after children with special needs “. – Kensington Palace
The Princess of Wales participated in few games with children and while hearing from their parents. The Princess also met parents and some of the front-line practitioners running the service in order to understand more about portage and how it supports families on a day-to-day basis. Hello! mag reported, “Janet Rickman, Chair of the National Portage Association, said: “You could see she was really engaged with the families and playing with the children.”
What The Princess of Wales wore to Portage Session
- Zara Red Tweed Blazer – (Repeat – debuted in June 2021 at the Football match between England and Germany.)
- Nude UFO Top
- L.K.Bennett Frieda Crepe Trousers – (Repeat – debuted in February 2022 when she visited PACT in London)
- Spells of Love Medium Twist Hoops – (Repeat – debuted in March 2022 during a Wales visit
- Boden Clothing Pointed Ballet Flats – (Repeat – debuted in April 2023 when she visited The Baby Bank in Windsor)
- Cartier Watch – (Repeat – Debuted in 2014)
Catherine was wearing her Zara Red Tweed Blazer that was first see in June 2021 at the football match between England and Germany.
And her L.K.Bennett Frieda Crepe Trousers.
Catherine was wearing her Spells of Love Medium Twist Hoops
and her Boden Clothing Pointed Ballet Flats.