Christmas cheer as traditional nativity plays and shows return to schools for the first time since the pandemic

It’s show time. After two years of restrictions that put traditional Christmas celebrations on hold in primary schools, the nativity plays, parades and pantos are back.

or parents, seeing their child perform on stage is the stuff of Christmas magic and schools are scrambling to welcome families back in the wake of the pandemic.

While the crib is still going strong, schools are also taking on plays that reflect the diversity of their populations and address issues such as inclusion and climate change.

At Scoil Naomh Feichín, a 300-student school in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth, students and teachers have prepared a variety of ambitious shows. While the junior classes dealt with the crib, the senior classes’ panto pandemonium took parents on a whistle-stop tour of the best parts of many traditional pantomimes.

Principal Bryan Collins said the school was filled with color and excitement as students prepared to take the stage in front of their families.

“It’s a great feeling for everyone. Some parents have never been to a concert or a play at school. Wellbeing at school has skyrocketed this week as everyone comes together,” Mr Collins said.

“We have 11 class groups with everything from the traditional birth story to hosanna rock-hosanna roll, a kind of Jesus Christ superstar musical on stage. Each class group has about 25 minutes for their show,” he says.


Pupils rehearsing for their Christmas school play at Scoil Naomh Feichín, Termonfeckin, Co Louth. Photo: Mark Condren

Sinéad Dowd, who teaches first graders, worked hard to ensure her students, dressed as polar bears and penguins, were ready for her production with an ornate Arctic and Antarctic-themed set Eddie the penguin. Although it is a funny story, Ms. Dowd was keen to explore the serious aspects of environmental protection and the dangers of global warming with her students.

Seven children from Ukraine have enrolled in the school this year. Mr Collins said the students wanted to do something for them this Christmas as a gesture of welcome and kindness.

“They are holding a raffle and the proceeds will be used to buy toy vouchers for the Ukrainian children to get something they like,” he said.

Mr Collins said the only downside to this week’s Showtime height was that there was still more class time to complete.

“It’s like watching two people Late late toy shows in a row. You get to the top of the excitement scale — it’s hard to maintain that,” he said.


Pupils from the Junior Infant Class at Rush National School, Co Dublin, rehearse for their nativity play. Photo: Mark Condren

At Rush National School in north Co Dublin, Headmaster Morgan Doran said not only did the parents really miss the Christmas plays, but his teachers are keen to get their students back on stage.

“That year the teachers came to me wanting assurances that the Nativity would take place. They really missed it,” said Mr. Doran.

Each year the school of 724 students uses the Millbank Theater across the street for their Christmas performances, adding a professional touch to the occasion. This year is no different as the four classes of children bring up their own version of the nativity scene for their families.

Children from the school’s senior year choir are visiting two area nursing homes to host a Christmas service for residents. This visit, which has become a tradition at the school, has had to pause during Covid. Meanwhile, the school choir filled the local church for a Christmas service for parents and grandparents yesterday.

Scoil Chlíodhna Community National School in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork opened its doors in 2015 with three pupils.

The multi-denominational school, which has grown to 348 students and 31 employees, prepared for the magic of the season in its own special way.

Principal Teresa Coughlan said that as a multi-denominational school, they try to infuse each child’s values.

The school uses an interfaith calendar to spread out various celebrations over a three year cycle and this year they looked at the celebration of Christmas around the world.

“Every year we take a main celebration and go deep into why. We have many different cultures in our school and Carrigtwohill is a very diverse community now,” said Ms Coughlan.

“This year all children will learn about the history of Christmas and why it happens. On December 21st we will do “Christmas around the world”. All our teachers from second to sixth grade will each visit a different country and then each grade will visit that teacher. The children have passports which they stamp when they visit,” Ms Coughlan said.

Each class will also perform for their families with songs, poems and short plays focusing on the different cultural traditions of Christmas.

“These are the times of great joy. To have the kids back on stage performing for their families is very exciting,” she said. Christmas cheer as traditional nativity plays and shows return to schools for the first time since the pandemic

Fry Electronics Team

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