Get the royal cubby ready, Princess Charlotte is off to school!

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January 08, 2018 11:19 AM

Get the royal cubby ready, Princess Charlotte is off to school!

The 2-year-old princess officially started at Willcocks Nursery School on Monday. The school, which is housed in a church hall, is next door to London’s Royal Albert Hall, and very close to the family’s Kensington Palace home.

Prince William and Kate Middleton released two photos on Monday (taken by proud mom Kate!) to mark the special occasion.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share two photographs of Princess Charlotte at Kensington Palace this morning. The images were taken by The Duchess shortly before Princess Charlotte left for her first day of nursery at the Willcocks Nursery School,” the couple’s Kensington Palace spokesman said.

Princess Charlotte
The Duchess of Cambridge/KENSINGTON PALACE/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Charlotte posed for the sweet photos on the steps outside her Kensington Palace home and another standing as she held onto a railing. The little royal wore an adorable $150 burgundy Razorbil wool coat by Amaia paired with stone-colored tights, red shoes and a matching red bow. She carried a pink backpack by Cath Kidston.

Princess Charlotte
The Duchess of Cambridge/KENSINGTON PALACE/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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.”

Big brother Prince George started nursery school at the same age as Charlotte,  2 1/2, in January 2016. He attended 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 — Charlotte will be attending full time.

Prince George in 2016
Duchess of Cambridge/PA Wire via Getty

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 school invites parents for a short “stay and play” upon arrival.

“Once settled, you will be asked to leave for a short period to see if your child is happy to be left. As your child becomes more able to cope, the session will be gradually extended to the full morning or afternoon,” a statement on the school’s website reads.

According to testimonials from children on the school’s site, some of the students’ favorite class activities include show and tell, painting and birthday celebrations — with cake!

The three prime areas of learning for the Early Years Foundation Stage are personal social and emotional development, physical development and communication and language, which aim to help children develop skills in literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.

The spring term begins Jan. 4 and runs through March 27. The summer term is from April 26 until July 11.

Tuition at Willcocks, which was founded in 1964, runs at £3,050 — or $4,073 — 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.

The choice is somewhat of a surprise move for William and Kate: It was thought by some insiders that she would follow George, 4, to Thomas’s Battersea, where he started in September. William accompanied him to his first day of school, while Kate stayed at home with acute morning sickness, also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a condition that also afflicted her during her previous two pregnancies.

Kensington Palace/Twitter

The young future king – who will be known as George Cambridge at school, the palace says – walked hand-in-hand with his dad while wearing his new school uniform. George posed for a picture with his dad at home at Kensington Palace before leaving for the big day.

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