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Clonakilty Kindergarten
  clonakilty kindergarten

Festivals Celebrated

The Festival Year

As pre school children are yet to understand the concept of long periods of time, they need images that relate to the present seasons. Our festivals have a profound significance as they are acts of gratitude for life itself. The celebrations express the different seasons of the year, this helps the child to relate to time, develops a sensory perception and an attitude of respect for what nature has given us.

At the Kindergarten it is not so important what we do as how we do it, it is done in harmony with an attitude of joy and gratitude.


Our seasonal table is filled with harvest produce which ripens at this time of year and is cause for celebration. Families contribute produce and the children make jams and soups.


St Micheal was known for conquering the power of darkness and subduing dragons. Michaelmas falls near the balance point of daylight and darkness in the year, so Micheal teaches us courage as we say farewell to the lighter days and face darker ones. The children celebrate by carrying out courage tests and subduing a dragon. We also pick the Michaelmas daisy which is in flower at this time of year.


We play Halloween games, make spooky spiders and plenty of spooky baking.


In legend, Martin was a soldier who went on to become  Patron Saint of Beggars and Outcasts after his experience of offering clothing , food and a lantern to a poor beggar he discovered shivering and starving. Later Martin dreamt he saw Christ wearing the clothing he offered the beggar. Martin devoted his life to helping all people regardless of their  station in life.

At this time we discuss the importance of sharing and kindness with the children, we also make lanterns for our procession on the evening of Martinmas, where we sing songs and share cake at a local park.


Traditionally Advent marks the  four weeks up to Christmas. Here at the Kindergarten our Advent celebration gives the children and parents a sense of anticipation. At the start of Advent a spiral path is laid out in greenery with a candle at the centre. Each child in silence carries her own candle along the spiral path, lights it from the first flame and sets it down within the spiral. Gradually the room fills with light. Nothing is said only music played to mark the childrens' journey and the growing candles to bring warmth and light to winter days.


As well as decorating the tree, making and receiving Christmas gifts, it is tradition that the children perform a Nativity play for all the families. All are welcome and after we share food together to celebrate the festive season.

St. Bridget

February 1st marks the first day of spring. Bridget the maiden of Spring brings light and the fertility of the land is reawakened. To celebrate we make the St. Bridget cross offering protection. As Bridget walks the earth on the eve of this day she  blesses whatever she touches. The Kindergarten has a hand made quilt that we lay out awaiting her blessing,  this quilt then offers the wearer protection. It is used to wrap the children when feeling unwell, sad or have hurt themselves. The children know it is a very special quilt and this alone helps them to feel better and special.

Also preparation for sowing in the garden begins.

Valentines Day

It is often said that on this day the birds choose their mate and frogs lay eggs, so we search for frogspawn and make plenty of heart gifts.

The days name originally came from Bishop Valentine who was martyred on this day which was the eve of a roman festival during which random men and women were chosen to be sweethearts.

Shrove Tuesday/ Pancake Day

This day was traditionally the last chance to use up the stored ingredients before Lent, it was also a way to determine a young girls prospect of marriage for that year on how well she tossed a pancake. There was often great festivity before Lent. We make and eat plenty of pancakes this day, while singing our special pancake making song.

St Patrick

Although not one of the old Irish festivals, St.Patrick is now celebrated widely and is a welcome break from the Lenten fast. This day is close to the spring equinox and seen as the time to plant the main potato crop. The week before St Patrick's is known as Irish week and use of the Irish language is encouraged. At the Kindergarten the children make all sorts of shamrocks and listen to the life of St Patrick at story time.

Our EVS students organise our invovlement in the St Patricks Day Parade which the families are invited to attend.

Mothers' Day

Originally a day to honour 'Mother Church' it has become a day to honour our own mothers. Daffodils are in bloom around this time an plenty of gifts are made and baked by the children.

Easter Egg Hunt

The name is derived from the pre christian goddess symbols of rebirth and fertility, the Saxon Eastre and Old German Eostre. The ancient symbols of hare and egg known as signs of return to life after winter now carry the christian association of the Resurrection of Christ. In the Kindergarten at this time of year we are busy with Easter crafts and baking of hot cross buns.

The exchange of Easter eggs as gifts we re-enact the ancient wisdom of that which appears dead in fact contains new life. All of the Kindergarten community celebrate in the garden of one of our families, sharing a lunch. The children search for the eggs that the Easter Bunny has left.

May Day

The moon shines bright and stars give light,

A little before it's day

So bless you all both great and small

And send you a joyful May

May Day was in ancient tradition the celebration of the beginning of summer and the light half of the year. The sun grows stronger and this is celebrated with dancing. The children dance around the maypole which represents the tree of life and fertility wearing flowers in their hair and bells on ankles to welcome the warmer days.


Summertime celebrations continue throughout the season, mostly by enjoying the crops from the garden, be it flowers or food. Plenty of baking, crafts and being outside to enjoy and celebrate the summer days


Celebrating Birthdays of our children is something special we look forward to. The parents are asked to celebrate with us, birthday candles are lit as parents tell us what their child was doing at age one, two etc.

A celebratory meal of pasta is enjoyed together followed by cake supplied by the parents. Our Fairy story for the day revolves around the the birthday child as the main character and the child receives gifts made by the children. The day celebrates the importance of that child among her friends on her journey in life.

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Festivals Celebrated

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Lady's Cross
Co. Cork
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