Prince George to attend Westacre Montessori School Nursery

Image source, CHRIS JELF
Image caption,
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have released a new photograph of their family

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced the nursery Prince George is to attend alongside the release of a new photograph of their family.

The two-year-old will go to the Westacre Montessori School Nursery in Norfolk from January.

A nursery spokesman said: "We are looking forward to welcoming George to our nursery."

The nursery, near King's Lynn, is close to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's home, Anmer Hall.

The BBC's royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the duke and duchess appreciate what they see as the care being shown by the British media around the privacy of their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and are grateful for the public's support in respecting the privacy of their young family.

He said the couple would be pleased George's new nursery was sited in a private road, not a public one.

Image source, Kensington Palace
Image caption,
The early learning at the Westacre Montessori School was rated good by Ofsted in June

The nursery said Prince George would "get the same special experience as all of our children".

Analysis by Peter Hunt, BBC royal correspondent

Prince George is continuing a royal tradition but not one that is long established.

The Queen was educated at home and relied on her nanny, Crawfie, to take her on educational trips - including a journey on the London Tube.

Prince Charles did go to school but his nursery was a palace room containing a blackboard, a desk and a governess.

It was at his mother's insistence that Prince William was exposed to children of his own age when he started at Mrs Mynors' School.

The new picture shows the duke and duchess with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte in the garden at Kensington Palace. It was taken in late October by photographer Chris Jelf.

Mr Jelf said: "I thoroughly enjoyed photographing a very lovely family, although you have to be sharp as you don't have long when there are two young children involved!

"I hope everyone enjoys this photo and I am honoured that the duke and duchess have decided to share it with the public."

Image source, Duchess of Cambridge
Image caption,
The nursery is close to the family home Anmer Hall, on the Sandringham estate, where this photo was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge in May

Kensington Palace said that the royal couple were "very much looking forward to their first Christmas as a family of four" and "hugely appreciative of all the warm messages they have received about their family this year".

The early learning at the Westacre Montessori School was rated good by Ofsted after an inspection in June 2015. It costs £5.50 an hour or £33 a day to attend the nursery.

The school follows the principles of an Italian doctor called Maria Montessori who developed a new approach to teaching in the early 20th Century, in which children take responsibility for their own learning.

Analysis: What goes on in a Montessori nursery?

The Montessori teaching method was developed by Italy's first female professor in the slums of Rome in the early 1900s.

Working with special needs children, Dr Maria Montessori developed a child-centred approach using the classroom as her laboratory.

Utilising children's natural instinct to learn through play, children are free to develop at their own pace.

They choose the activities they want to pursue, in effect being trusted as the masters of their own development.

Much Montessori philosophy has been incorporated as best practice in regular nurseries.

Staff may lead activities, such as identifying sand paper numbers, which children will be encouraged but not obliged to take part in.

Montessori nurseries can be quite different however, with some following the principles more closely than others.

To use the name, a nursery must have a Montessori-trained member of staff.

Prince William was the first senior royal to go to nursery and not start his education in a palace.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Prince William, pictured on his first day at nursery in 1985, was taught with other children at the desire of his mother

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