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STORIES AT PLAY© – Program for Early Childhood
Storytelling Increases Emerging Literacy

Characters and stories come to life as the storyteller enchants her young listeners Telling “off the page” to the youngest listeners is a form of expressive artistry that, after 15 years telling to young children, Nicolette has developed into Stories at Play©.


Storytelling in the early education classroom:

  • Increases a child’s enjoyment of language;
  • Enhances a child’s confidence as a speaker; and
  • Increases a child’s awareness of story sequence and structure.

But most importantly, we – the storyteller, the children and the teacher – have fun!

Stories at Play© has multiple programs each one revolving around a theme.

  • Animal – bear, turtle, spider, etc.
  • Learning skill – circles and spheres, numbers
  • Social value – I am special, helping hands

Each program includes classroom performance and interactive activities that prompt the children to use their imaginations to enhance their sense of authorship.

Stories at Play© can be booked as a single visit or contracted as a Storytelling Residency in which the storyteller comes monthly or for a pre-determined set of days.


Nicolette Nordin Heavey is a dynamo on stage, drawing the audience in with her animated voices and energetic performance. Each assembly is adapted to the age level and curriculum of the audience. The most popular Assembly Shows are:

Around the World with Stories –  Kindergarter – 2nd Gr:   The students are taken on a journey across the world which they map as the storyteller tells.
Mythologically Speaking –  2nd Gr. – 7th Gr. Colorful, interactive myths that focus on Creation myths, animal myths or ancient gods/goddesses myths.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: That’s What Stories Mean to Me –  Elementary School & Family: This show culminates with some students working with the storyteller to present the tale, and other’s participating by sharing their own experiences of what respect means to them.
Wishes aka Making Smart Choices in this World of Infinite Possibilities –  Elementary School & Family: The audience shares their wishes as they learn through story that there is no such thing as infinite wishes, not even in story. They see how some characters use their wishes wisely, others, not so much.
The Heart of a Champion –  Elementary & Middle School & Family: Adapted for each age group, these myths, legends and narrative focus on what makes the ordinary person a hero.
Fairytales Revisited –  4th,5th & Middle School: These are tales, or versions of fairytales, that are not often told because of the complicated journey the characters often take. Very often bad things happen to good people, but it is never the end of the world.
The Hero’s Journey – Your Journey – Middle School & High School(9th gr): As children embark on the moral choices of adolescence, ancient myths and legends, as well as contemporary narratives, echo the contemporary challenges they face.


Nicolette Nordin Heavey is a trained Teaching Artist and becomes an integral resource for teachers. These programs integrate the art of storytelling with the curriculum as a way of engaging all types of intelligences in the learning process. Short-term residency programs can be adapted to last 4 to 10 days.

Programs are adapted to each classroom’s curriculum needs. Here is a sample of the most requested programs:

Think, Storytell, Write –  Each of this three-part residency can be implemented individually, or combined to teach effective pre-writing strategies while engaging students with improvisational games, character development, and public speaking. The components of this residency compliment preparation for the MCAS Long Composition.
A.    Connect Story to Personal Narrative
B.    Characters Come to Life
C.    Thriller – Creating Suspense or Rising Action in a Story
Nature Myths –  Fact AND Fiction Students learn that myths are stories that answer questions about the world. Many myths have facts in them, but the plot and many characteristics of this genre highlight that it is fiction.
His-Story/Her-Story –  Students are given characters in history to research individually, or as a group.  The storyteller coaches them on how to make historical characters come to life using voice, description and a storyteller’s intuition. Compliments Massachusetts 5th Social Studies Curriculum.
Mythologically Speaking –  Using the ancient gods and goddesses for inspiration, students will visually depict their own god/goddess/hero through symbolic mask-making and create a story about their character.
Reality Speaks –  Storytelling development techniques are used to prompt students to find  a meaningful personal experience, to add vivid sensory detail, and to capture the audience’s attention from the first sentence to a tight resolution.
The Hero’s Journey –  Your Journey Oral storytelling will introduce students to the characteristics inherent in epic heroes. Dramatic and improve activities will help them see their role as a hero and pinpoint an experience in their journey to mold into a meaningful narrative.
Reality Speaks/High School version –  High school students preparing to enter college or the job market need to know how to tell their story using language effectively and efficiently. Using techniques that develop successful story slams such as The Moth, students will find a meaningful personal experience and turn it into an oral narrative that grabs the audiences attention, builds tension and delivers a universal message.



Nicolette Nordin Heavey delivers highly interactive workshops for teachers of preschool through high school coaching them on how to include the art of storytelling in their classrooms every day.

Stories at Play –  Teachers practice taking a story “off the page” and getting into character definition, using language rhythms, movement and music to enhance the story.   Teachers are given an outline of how to integrate stories from the oral tradition with classroom books to enrich students’  understanding of theme and enhance cultural awareness.
Stories from Scratch –  Storytelling is a proven way to help students understand complex ideas in any subject.   Teachers are coached on how to find a meaningful experience and relate it to a teaching topic, then turn the tables and help students create personal stories around a theme or topic in the classroom’s curriculum.