Named Tiny Happy People, the new BBC resource is aimed at developing children’s communication and language skills. The Duchess, who focuses on topics such as early years’ development and children’s mental health and wellbeing as part of her royal duties, has been working behind the scenes on the broadcaster’s education initiative for a number of months and even visited Broadcasting House last November to work on some of the video resources and social media content.
The platform focuses on encouraging parents and carers to talk to children from as early an age as possible.
With a range of free films, articles, quizzes and parenting tips, everything on Tiny Happy People has been specially designed with experts to help nurture children’s language right from pregnancy.
In particular, Kate had a hand in two cartoon films, one on the “science of singing to bump” while pregnant, and another on how eye contact is key to a language’s learning. The BBC said the duchess helped with the character and background development for the two animations. Other advice on the platform includes tips on staying at home during the pandemic, focusing on how to create a calmer bedtime routine and how to soothe children’s anxiety.
The duchess was interviewed by BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin about the project as part of the national launch and said she wished she’d had access to the tips and tools available on Tiny Happy People as a first-time mother.
The film, which will be broadcast on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday, saw Kate tell Minchin about the “massive gap” in the support parents receive before their children start school.
“In the first few months there’s a huge amount of support from midwives and health visitors,” the duchess said. “But from then onwards, there’s a massive gap before they then start school.”
As part of the launch, Kate also had an opportunity to meet with three families who had been involved with the creation and piloting of the digital resource. During a socially distanced chat in a garden last week the Duchess met 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 to see how they have found using the platform.
“Hearing some of the things from parents today, Ryan at the beginning, saying how his baby has got five different cries,” the Duchess told Minchin. “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.”
Kensington Palace said the Cambridges’ Royal Foundation will collaborate with the BBC on the long-term roll-out of the initiative.
The BBC’s education team has been hard at work over the past few months to supply new digital platforms to children across the UK who are unable to access school or nursery during the pandemic. A new mental health game was launched for the CBeebies Go Explore app which encourages young children to learn mindfulness activities, whilst the corporation also launched BBC Bitesize, a total of 14 weeks of daily online lessons for children of all age groups in April.
Additional reporting by PA