'Look after yourselves': Duchess Kate and students talk about how to be kind during online assembly

By Heather Cichowski

Being kind to others and yourself is so important and vital during these times. Duchess Kate brought that message to Oak National Academy when she held a virtual assembly focusing on kindness and mental health on June 18.

The Duchess of Cambridge was joined by pupils from Waterloo Primary Academy in Blackpool, who have parents working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oak National Academy is an online classroom developed in response to the COVID-19 lockdown. It provides free resources designed to complement existing teaching.

Kate's kindness assembly was based on a lesson plan available from the Mentally Healthy Schools site, which also has many resources to aid in students' well being. It was created in cooperation with Place2Be, one of the duchess's patronages.

After being introduced, Kate thanked the students for attending virtually and highlighted what she would be addressing. She also discussed how COVID-19 has affected us all.

"We all have ups and downs in our lives, especially when things change in our lives, as they have in so many ways recently," the mom of three said.

"This can cause us to have a huge range of different feelings – sometimes these feelings can be good, but sometimes they can be uncomfortable, and we feel worried, angry or upset."

She went on to tell viewers the "frustrations" they're feeling over being inside during lockdown and not being able to see friends and family are "totally normal and... they won't last forever."

Kate encouraged those experiencing difficult emotions to talk to someone, such as a family member, friend or teacher, to feel a bit better.

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke with students via Zoom on June 18. Photo: © Kensington Palace via Getty Images

Kate also highlighted how the reverse is true and the students can help others who might be going through a difficult time.

"And you can also play your part in helping others to feel better too, whether offering a friendly ear, or helping someone in need," Duchess Kate said.

Prince William's wife also brought up self-care and looking after ourselves.

"Small acts of kindness can go such a long way. But as we help others, we mustn’t forget to nurture ourselves, by taking the time to focus on the things that make us feel happy too," she continued.

Kate then joined the pupils to hear about their thoughts on kindness and what it meant to them. It's clear the duchess is great with children and would make an amazing teacher! She encouraged the students to give their answers and congratulated them for doing good deeds.

The mom of three asked a young girl named Olivia what she had been doing to help her mummy and daddy after she said being kind is "tidying up after ourselves."

"Yeah, I've done loads of jobs so they don't have to do it," responded the young pupil.

"Wow, that is very kind of you!" remarked Kate.

MORE: Duchess Kate shares moving images from her 'Hold Still' photography project related to the coronavirus pandemic

Other students said they have been helping their parents do all the washing, while another one baked a rainbow cake to show her support to frontline workers.

Next, the Waterloo Primary Academy students showed off their photo submissions for Duchess Kate's Hold Still photography project. The initiative is connected with her patronage, the National Portrait Gallery, and it explores people's stories and experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. The students were submitting their images in relation to Hold Still's theme of "Acts of Kindness."

The photos included a boy sharing his blocks with another student and them working together to build a block tower. Another pupil named Talia was photographed giving students free dinners and a young girl was captured cleaning up her painting so the area would be tidy for the next person.

All the students said they were busy doing rainbow pictures, too, to show their support for health care workers.

"Look after yourselves," Kate finished as she said goodbye. "Reach out when you need help. And do your part to support those in need."

It was such important advice for the students and viewers of all ages to hear, and the lesson highlighted how small acts of kindness can go such a long way.


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