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Celebrating St Patricks Day !

March 2, 2012

It’s that time of year again and the children will be getting excited about the upcoming St Patricks Day celebrations. This provides a wonderful opportunity to focus on children’s sense of identity and belonging.

Through listening to children as they play, through discussions at circle time and in connecting with parents, practitioners can understand and explore ideas about living in communities, what it means to be a certain nationality and participating in local events such as the Paddy’s Day Parade.  

We have put together a list of possible ideas that you may want to explore in your service and which link with Aistear and Siolta…  Take the idea of St. Patrick’s Day and use it across the curriculum, at circle time, in the art area, in the book corner and in working with parents.


Circle time


Prompt conversation by having a variety of props relating to St. Patrick’s Day, e.g., Shamrock, Badges, Flag, pictures of parades, green junk and art materials (paint, paper, ribbon, boxes)
This is a great chance for children to share their experiences of St Patricks Day, so start the discussion with a few open ended questions and leave time for them to think and respond.

•    Who do you think St. Patrick is?
•    What happens on St Patricks Day, in the local town?
•    What could we do here in the  preschool to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?      
•    Will you be going to the St.Patrick’s Day parade?
•    What sort of things would you see in the parade?


Books and stories


There are books that focus on St. Patrick’s Day but building on the theme of belonging, you can enhance the children’s sense of place and citizenship through selecting books and telling stories that relate to their lives in the here and now.

Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day – Author – Joan Holub
An interactive book where children can lift the flaps as they see the children in this book; make holiday crafts; taste traditional Irish food; perform a play about Saint Patrick and even march in a Saint Patrick’s Day parade.

Whoever you Are – Mem Fox

Come over to my House – Theo LeSieg

Wake Up, World! A Day in the Life of Children Around the World – Beatrice Holler

Children can also make their own books about St. Patrick’s Day, or even about where they live. All you need is paper, paints, markers, crayons and an attentive adult who will support the activity.  
Tell their own stories and have them recorded by the adult.  The children may also want to draw a picture to link in with their story.


Informal chats with Parents


Let the parents know about the activities that the children are doing as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Talk with the parents and check in, asking them about their prior experiences of St Patricks Day when they were children, and what they will be doing this year.
St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish tradition with rituals of its own.  For those parents and families from other places across the globe,how do they celebrate and mark their National Days? Maybe they could come into the service and depending on their expertise help the children make instruments/teach songs/bake bread/ tell stories…


Building on Interests – Activities emerging from discussions


Talking with and listening to children provides us adults with a window of opportunity to understand what and how they are thinking. In listening to the children’s ideas and experiences a whole range of exciting possibilities’ may emerge.  The challenge is to build on the  children’s points of interest.

•    What was their favourite float/person/thing in the parade in their town or on the telly? How could we make this?
•    Designing our own parade – Where could we have a parade?
•    What might we include in our parade? What sort of instruments might we use/make? What costumes will we wear?
•    Documenting how we made our own parade/costume etc with stories, drawing and painting pictures , photos,  videoing  our parade
•    Making cards for parents and family, especially those who may live away from Ireland
•    Baking Irish soda bread or icing biscuits with the colours of the Irish flag
•    Making green playdough and green slime to make sculptures of all sorts of things..
•    Growing shamrock-  Sow outdoors from March to September and sow indoors all year round. When planted in early January you should have good-sized plants by Saint Patricks Day.

•   Creating masks (if the children show interest from the parade) 

  • Hunting for Treasure – for lucky leprechaun gold


Building on children’s interests shows respect for their ideas and allows us as practitioners to extend their themes across the curriculum. The ideas outlined above help children develop awareness of their place in the community, and lays the foundations for citizenship (participating in community life).  In using the theme of St. Patrick’s Day, Siolta Standards, Aistear themes and Regulation 5 are all touched upon.  


Links  with Siolta:


Síolta  Standard 14: Identity and Belonging

14.2 The setting promotes a confident self- and group-identity through the provision of an appropriate environment, experiences and interactions within the setting.

14.3 The setting promotes positive understanding and regard for the identity and rights of others through the provision of an appropriate environment, experiences and interactions within a setting.

Síolta  Standard 16: Community and Involvement

16.2 The setting actively promotes children’s citizenship in their local ,regional and national community.
i.e. How do you enable babies and young children to be present/participate in events and activities within the community?-think about participation in community events (e.g St Patricks Day parade,market day etc)

Linking to Aistear:


Theme: Identity and Belonging – The theme of Identity and Belonging is about children developing a positive sense of who they are, and feeling that they are valued and respected as part of a family and community.

It might also be linked to : Building Partnerships between parents and practitioners

Or as below in learning experience 22 : Theme: Communicating – Aim 3 Children will broaden their understanding of the world by making sense of experiences through language.


Some examples from Aistear :




Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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