Preschool-age children participate in storytelling each month at Art Sanctuary in South Philadelphia.
Storyteller Theresa Randall, known as “Nana Feather” engages children with stories, music and dance.
Tots and toddlers gather around Feather for stories, get to their feet to dance and open their mouths to sing along. Moms and dads join, as the Art Sanctuary space is filled with energy.
Feather, a North Philadelphia native, started storytelling as a hobby. She always had a special connection with children and is a real-life “nana” herself with four grandchildren.
“Storytelling wakes their little spirits up, everyone remembers storytellers,” she said. “I loved stories when I was little, it made me see people having a soul, mind and a voice—and I wanted to do it—storytelling makes us pop like popcorn.”
Along with stories, Feather sings songs with the children.
In one activity she instructed the group to sing, “I like myself—I’m glad to be me—there’s no one else—I’d rather be.”
During one performance, in the midst of song and dance, Feather discovered it was one little girl’s birthday.
Filled with enthusiasm, she pulled the birthday girl to the center of the room and led the group to sing Stevie Wonder’s version of “Happy Birthday.”
Feather is always received as children sporadically embrace her as she reads and sings to the group.
Nicole Owens works at Apple Blossom Day Care, located at 1601 Lombard St., where a lot of the children come from each month.
Last Friday was their third time participating in the storytelling activity. Owens believes the kids get “a breath of fresh air.”
“The school helps sponsor the event and the kids have an awesome time—they love to sing and dance,” she said.
Owens has a three-year-old son, Aydan, who she brought along to participate in storytelling.
“Music is a big part of my life and I definitely do a lot of reading with my son,” she said. “I think this opportunity is great,” she said.
Outside storytelling, Feather owns an arts management business called “Feather on the Wind Achievement Counseling and Consultant,” where she helps artists find direction in their careers.
She enjoys relating to people and feels the children connected with her at Art Sanctuary.
“I’m glad the children had the chance to relate and just dance,” she said. “We need to keep having events like this,” she said. “It makes you feel like you’re not alone and you can release your spirit.”