The smile of a child has always been the most important thing to me, says Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson discusses the importance of mental health

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The Duchess of York has spoken about her sheer excitement at welcoming her first grandchild earlier this year, August Brooksbank, the son of HRH Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank. Sarah Ferguson also spoke about her charity work over the years and her own organisation.

The smile of a child has always been the most important thing to me

The Duchess of York

In a rare interview, the Duchess of York addressed her partnership with the Montessori Group – one of the world’s leading Montessori organisations that emphasises the independence of a child from a young age.

Sarah, 61, was thrilled after becoming Chair of International Montessori Ambassadors following a lifelong dedication to service to a wide variety of children’s charities, including Teenage Cancer Trust.

The Duchess, who married Prince Andrew in 1986, is often praised for sharing her passion for charity work and helping others across her various social media channels.

Following her latest announcement, the Duchess spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about her decision to partner with the Montessori Group.

“The smile of a child has always been the most important thing to me – that’s why I have concentrated so much of my charity work over the years on children’s causes,” she said.

Sarah went on to add: “I hope that my new role will allow the Montessori Group to reach more children, their families, and practitioners, ensuring more children get the best start in life.

“I really believe in honouring Maria Montessori’s humanitarian legacy and drawing on the Montessori values such as creativity and resilience which are more important than ever in today’s world and for the future of society.”

“I hope I’ll be able to draw on my networks and the connections I have built throughout my philanthropic career to build new partnerships and help the Montessori Group make even more positive social impact internationally,” she explained.

Sarah shares a personal connection with Montessori education, with her youngest daughter, Princess Eugenie, 31, starting her education at a Montessori nursery in 1992, close to the York family home, Royal Lodge, in Windsor.

Mum-of-one, Eugenie, attended Winfield Montessori alongside her cousin, Zenouska Mowatt, with the pair often being dropped off by the Duchess.

Sharing her experience, she said: “Eugenie started her education at a Montessori nursery in Windsor in 1992, and it gave her the very best start in life.

“It encouraged her natural curiosity and set her up for a love of learning that I’m delighted to say that she still has today.”

Discussing the partnership between the Montessori Group and the Duchess, Leonor Stjepic, CEO of the Montessori Group, said: “The collaboration between the Montessori Group and The Duchess of York came about as we were so inspired by her work during the pandemic, particularly her storytime series on YouTube.

“Encouraging children to be curious and creative is an essential ingredient in the Montessori approach, something which reading has long-inspired.”

Earlier this year, Sarah’s family welcomed the first York grandchild, August, four months, with her eldest daughter, HRH Princess Beatrice, 32, set to give birth later this year.

“I’m over the moon to have become a grandmother, naturally,” exclaimed Sarah.

The author went on to say: “But it isn’t that that has made me aware of the importance of education, I have always believed in its power to transform children’s lives.

“That’s why I set up a foundation called Children in Crisis which went on to build schools in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other countries — that charity merged a few years ago with another one called Street Child which has carried on its work, and my new charity Sarah’s Trust has a strong focus on education.

“I believe very strongly that every child has a right to an education, and I won’t rest while one in five children in the world still isn’t in school.”

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