Sessions for primary schools

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Bring National Gallery paintings to life with a session delivered by a gallery educator.

Talking Paintings: interactive Gallery sessions for 4–11 year olds

These sessions are designed to build children's confidence and enjoyment in looking at and responding to paintings.

Gallery educators encourage pupils to think, imagine and make connections within and between paintings while making links with their previous learning and experiences. Sessions last one hour and are free for UK schools. For overseas groups, there is a charge of £50-£75 a group.

Choose from a theme below:

Themes for Key Stages 1 and 2

Buildings, Colour and Light, Every Picture Tells a Story, Food, Forces, General Introduction, Highlights of the National Gallery, History Through Art, Journeys, Landscapes, Materials, Myths and Legends, Pattern, Plants and Animals, Portraits, Reading Paintings, Religion in Art,  Senses, Still Life, Take One Picture, Water, Weather.

Magic Carpet Storytelling (3–5 year olds)

Come aboard the magic carpet and let your imagination fly. These interactive 30-minute sessions introduce Early Years Foundation Stage pupils to the world of a painting.

Group size: 10 to 60 pupils

To book, please phone 020 7747 2488

Special Eyes (SEN schools and units)

We welcome the opportunity to provide a Talking Paintings session for SEN schools and groups. These are led by experienced Gallery educators and take place in front of the paintings, although some groups may benefit from an introductory or follow-up session in a workshop space.

The sessions are multi-sensory, incorporating drama and props to enhance the pupils’ experience.

Group size: maximum 10 pupils

Sense It! (PMLD students and their staff)

An inspirational outing for pupils with PMLD (profound and multiple learning disabilities) and their staff.
Experience the sounds and spaces, smells, colours and light at the National Gallery. During your visit, take time to explore a single painting through the senses, and investigate how it was made in a practical workshop.
'Sense It!' is the outcome of consultation and a pilot project with specialist PMLD practitioners. Following a visit to your school from the session leader, we will provide a tailor-made Gallery session to match your pupils’ needs. You will have the exclusive use of the Pigott Education Centre and suitably equipped private spaces.

Group size: maximum 8 pupils

Available sessions

Thursday 11 February 2016
Friday 13 May 2016
Thursday 16 June 2016

To book an SEN session, please phone 020 7747 5890

'Sense it!' is generously supported by Elizabeth and Daniel Peltz

Explore It! (MLD and SLD students and their staff)

'Explore It!' is a new specially tailored programme for pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) and Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), which has been developed in consultation with teachers and specialist practitioners.

Sessions consist of a pre-visit to the school followed by a tailor-made gallery-based session designed to match pupils’ needs. During their visit to the National Gallery, pupils will explore a single painting through their senses, and investigate how it was made in a practical workshop. The gallery sessions are multi-sensory, incorporating drama and custom-designed resources and props to enhance the pupils’ experience. 

Available sessions

Thursday 3 December 2015
Thursday 25 February 2016
Thursday 10 March 2016
Thursday 24 March 2016
Thursday 23 June 2016

'Explore it!' is generously supported by the Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation