Kate Middleton puts on brave face as she praises Jamaican teachers despite independence call

Speaking at a teacher training college in Kingston, Jamaica, Kate said she 'truly' believed that by recognising the 'extraordinary impact' of early childhood.

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The Duchess of Cambridge has hailed the work of teachers who play a “crucial” role in shaping societies by nurturing the people that children will become.

Speaking at a teacher training college in Kingston, Jamaica, Kate said she “truly” believed that by recognising the “extraordinary impact” of early childhood, “we are on the cusp of one of the biggest opportunities for positive change in generations”.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with locals during a visit Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with locals during a visit Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae in Kingston, Jamaica.

She said teachers were “at the front line” of such work.

William and Kate paid a visit to Shortwood Teacher College during their first full day in Jamaica.

It was the second time this year that the duchess had taken her work on early years abroad, following a visit in February to the Lego Foundation in Copenhagen.

On Tuesday, the Cambridges flew to Kingston from Belize and went to Trench Town, where they were cheered by crowds, had a kickabout with England footballer Raheem Sterling, joined a jamming session in a museum dedicated to Bob Marley and even tried out the Olympic team’s bobsleigh.

It is the first time in Jamaica for both of them and the duchess said that since arriving, they had been “touched by the warmth that this island’s people have shown us”.

Shortwood was founded in 1885 and offers four-year degree courses in secondary, primary or early years education. Its early years course is a national flagship and graduates are said to be in huge demand.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet winners of Jamaica's famous Manning Cup.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet winners of Jamaica's famous Manning Cup.

Kate praised its foresight in establishing an Early Childhood Education programme and its recognition that the early years were “fundamental” to a child’s journey through life.

She said strategic investment and “a well-trained professional workforce” were critical in helping to raise children.

“Decades of science and research have shown us that our earliest experiences establish the fundamental foundations that shape and connect our future lives,” she said.

“It is when we learn how to form relationships, how to love, how to manage our feelings and emotions. It is when we develop our sense of identity, belonging and worthiness. And it is when we shape our values and understanding of the world.

“So we are doing something much more than just building healthy children – we are nurturing the people they will become, the families they will build and the communities they will be part of.”

The duchess told the assembled students: “You as teachers are at the front line of this work and play a crucial role in shaping our societies by positively impacting the futures of literally thousands of young people over the course of your careers.”