Tate Exchange: taking over a gallery with ‘Lifelong Kindergarten’ ideas

Here at London CLC we are pretty big fans of Scratch and the opportunities for learning and creating that it offers to pupils, writes Caitlin McMillan, London CLC computing tutor.

Scratch was created by an MIT Media Lab research group headed by Mitchel Resnick, so we were very excited to learn more about its approaches to development and education when Resnick’s book Lifelong Kindergarten was published last year.

London primary school pupil trying VR headset
A London primary school pupil enjoying trying out VR at Tate Exchange last year.


Renick’s basic principle is that, as children progress through education, a focus on following instructions and rules comes at the expense of what he calls ‘creative learning’, where children can ‘define their own problems rather than simply solve the ones in the textbook’.

The ideas set out in Resnick’s book really resonated with us, particularly in relation to our work with Tate Exchange.

For the second year running, London CLC are Tate Exchange associates. This means that, on 27 February, we will be running an event for 120 school children at Tate Modern, setting up workstations, creating artworks, and facilitating visits to Tate’s collections.

This year’s theme is ‘production’ and the pupils will be encouraged to think about production and consumption and how digital technologies and innovation have changed the process of designing and making. Pupils will look at how the materials and processes used in the works on display in the Tate gallery, why they have been used and how this might change the way they see the art.

Children learning at Tate Exchange
Free flowing learning and play at Tate Exchange last year.

Last year we decided to challenge ourselves to work a little differently when it came to Tate Exchange; we wanted to provide a learning environment separate from the normal school experience with space for experimentation and development of ideas – in other words, ‘creative learning’. Our approach mirrored that found in many reception classes – we set up workstations with different activities and then gave the pupils free choice on the day, allowing them to move between activities whenever they liked and to choose how they spent the time.

The approach worked so well last year, we’ve decided to use it again.

This free-flow model for the day aligned really well with Resnick’s key ‘lifelong kindergarten’ principles:


Each workstation provides the children with a project that they can work on: can you build a cardboard city? Can you weave a woollen sculpture? The children are learning through making and creating goals for themselves.


Allowing children to self-select activities means that they can follow their passions and their interests. Some may choose to spend the day drawing what they can see from the windows or designing a collage on the computer. Others will explore and try out all of the activities on offer. It is up to them.


Our Tate Exchange day sees children from a number of schools across London come together to experience the event. Throughout the day, they are encouraged to interact with their peers from other schools, sharing ideas and creating things together.


We aim to give children the opportunity to interact in new ways with a huge variety of physical and digital objects. Our activities are designed around allowing pupils to be playful and imaginative in their learning or, as Resnick puts it, to be ‘designing, creating, experimenting and exploring’.

  • If you would like more information about our Tate Exchange day, or to join us in the afternoon, you can find details here. You can also follow the day virtually on our live blog (up and running from Tuesday morning – find it here) and via Twitter.
  • Read more about last year’s Tate Exchange project

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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