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December 18, 2017 06:58 AM

 

Princess Charlotte is growing up — and heading to school!

The little princess is off to nursery school in the new year, her proud parents Prince William and Kate Middleton announced on Monday.

The two-year-old will be attending Willcocks Nursery School starting in January 2018. The school, which is based in a church hall, is next door to London’s Royal Albert Hall, and very close to the family’s Kensington Palace home.

A royal source tells PEOPLE, “They chose that nursery because they thought it would be an ideal first step for Charlotte’s education and they were impressed by the team who work there.”

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge /Getty

Tuition at Willcocks runs at £3,050 — or $4073 — per term, with three terms per year. The total annual tuition is £9,150, or around $12,000.  The school says it “strives to maintain its ethos for high standards, excellence and good manners” on their website.

“We are delighted that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen the Willcocks Nursery School for Princess Charlotte,” the school said in a statement released by the couple’s office. “We look forward to welcoming Charlotte to our nursery in January.”

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The school’s website describes the atmosphere as “a fun and structured morning with lots of free play where children embark on the first stages of learning to read, write and to understand simple numbers with the minimum of pressure.”

The choice is somewhat of a surprise move for William and Kate: It was thought by some insiders that she would follow her brother brother Prince George, four, to Thomas’s Battersea, where he started in September.

George started nursery school at the same age as Charlotte will, two and a half, in January 2016. was a Montessori school just a short drive from the family’s country home, Anmer Hall. Unlike George — who started at his school on a part-time basis — she will be attending full time.

The news comes alongside the release of the family’s annual Christmas card, an adorable photo snapped at their London home at Kensington Palace.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images/PA Wire

It’s sure to be a big year for the whole family. Beyond Charlotte starting school, she’ll also become a big sister when William and Kate welcome their third child this spring. And of course, Prince Harry is set to marry fiancé Meghan Markle on May 19.

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