Featuring popular songs such as “Baby Shark” to classics like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” Isadora Ferrao’s Sing Along Story Time sessions are enrapturing children at Camana Bay.
The weekly sessions, held at Books & Books, feature a mix of reading, song and music designed to encourage a love of music and books from an early age. Over the last couple of years, the event has grown to become a favourite on the roster of family-friendly events held at Camana Bay’s Town Centre.
“I read books that capture the children’s attention,” Ferrao says. “Then we sing popular songs in between the stories.”
Sing Along Story Time was started by Ferrao, affectionally known as Miss Izzy by the participants, in June 2016. Recently the event moved from Saturday mornings to Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
“During the festive period, it was easier for Books & Books to move Sing Along Story Time to Sunday because Saturdays were so busy,” Ferrao says. “However, after trying it for a few weeks a lot of parents preferred this day. So in 2019, Sundays are officially the new Saturdays!”
Ferrao says the sessions are ideally suited to children up to four years old, with many youngsters becoming regular attendees. Ferrao says one of the things she loves about the Sing Along Story Time events is that they are interactive, with the children participating by doing things like turning pages of the books in addition to singing.
“We always have fun as a community,” she says, adding that each child brings something different, based on his or her personality, to the event.“Some children like to dance and they come up to the front to do just that. Others like to participate with the story portion, and others just like to smile or wave at Miss Izzy from afar.”
Sing Along Story Time has been a hit with the kids, Ferrao says.
“Most of the children take the time to say thank you at the end and I am often surprised with high fives, hugs and smiles.”
Ferrao says the sessions are designed to be informal and fun, adding that she selects the books and songs at the children’s request. Due to the informal nature of the sessions, there’s no problem if the participants come late or leave early.
“It is purposely not structured so that those with younger ones can come and go as their children’s attention span and/or needs require,” Ferrao says. “It is a treat, not a chore, and people just show up when they can and leave when they need to.”
ROOTED IN MUSIC
Isadora has been entertaining on Grand Cayman for some 15 years. She is best known as the lead singer and owner/manager of local band Bona Fide. Established in 2008, Ferrao and her band Bona Fide can often be found performing Caribbean genres such as soca, calypso and reggae at community events, weddings and concerts across the island.
While Ferrao says her voice has always been her “main instrument,” she is a also talented pianist and has taught herself to play the guitar, guitalele and ukulele as well. She has even been known to play the drums on occasion.
Ferrao typically plays the keyboard at Story Time; however, she says that she often likes to mix it up from time to time to keep the sessions fun and different.
“Every now and then I change it up and play the guitar, the guitalele or the ukulele,” Ferrao says. “The kids love the ukulele in particular as it is small and purple and looks like something they could play themselves.”
She adds: “I think for many of the little ones the highlight of Story Time is the music.”
GROWING IN POPULARITY
The sessions typically attract up to 20 youngsters, along with their parents or carers.
Many of the youngsters are regular attendees, enabling Ferrao to truly get to know each child’s likes and dislikes.
“The children themselves are the highlights of this event for me,” she says. “I truly delight in them all and I love to see the children’s confidence grow when I give them the opportunity to participate. I think it is an absolute privilege for me to speak into the lives of the children … and have a sweet musical relationship with them.”
There is currently no limit on attendance or reservations required. However, Ferrao says that as the sessions are becoming increasingly popular, those who do not come early won’t get one of the spots sitting close to her.