As we welcome spring, we have many wonderful activities planned for our students, both indoors and out. We ensure that our children are safe, healthy and learning. At our quality center, we offer them supportive, nurturing relationships with trusted teachers and positive, diverse learning experiences that are developmentally appropriate.

In the early years, children’s brains develop quickly. We use research-based curricula that promotes the cognitive, language, motor, social and emotional development of children in a creative and explorative manner. Our staff works hard to promote and welcome parent participation and involvement. The experiences that our children have now will influence how they learn and develop in years to come. We want to ensure that they have the skills and attitudes to succeed in school and throughout life.
The National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education recently visited Fun Time, and we went through a self-study process to ensure that ongoing program improvement occurs at our center as we focus on individual standards. During our self-study, we collected documentation, ensured that all staff participated in ongoing training, conducted classroom observations, collected staff and parent surveys, and evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of our program. We hope that you will share with others what a quality early learning program we have and that only 17% of centers in Southwest Florida are accredited. We are proud to be both a 5-Star school (as rated by the Early Learning Coalition of SWFL) and Nationally Accredited. We were marked “meets standard” in all categories, and we look forward to hearing back from the commission about their final decision for re-accreditation of our quality early learning center. 
100 Women of Talis Care
Thank you to the 100 Women of Talis Care for their incredible generosity and support of our mission at Fun Time by donating $13,000! We are incredibly grateful for such giving people in our community. The 100 Women of Talis Care also partnered with the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, which matched an additional $5,000, bringing the total donation to $18,000!
United Way of Collier and the Keys
We were excited to receive funding and support from United Way of Collier and the Keys for the 2022-2023 school year. On April 11, we received a check for $10,000 from United Way to support our quality educational programming during the summer. This program is critical to our children’s education and continued progress towards kindergarten, enabling us to maintain and even improve their readiness during the summer months. Thank you, United Way!
Fun Time Donor Appreciation Event
On Thursday, April 7, Fun Time Academy welcomed and hosted our donors and supporters at Naples Sailing and Yacht Club to show our gratitude. The history that was shared about Fun Time by Skip Zink, Ann Olson and Sue Manion was heartwarming and informative, helping all who attended to better understand how we have been able to maintain our 60-plus-year tradition of quality, affordable education for children of low-income working families. There has never been a greater need for expansion of services for children in our community. We are excited to explore ways that we can serve more children and continue to make a positive impact by preparing them for kindergarten, ready to read and ready to learn!
Greater Naples Leadership 25th Anniversary Celebration
Greater Naples Leadership welcomed community leaders to their 25th anniversary celebration, including executive director Jessica Campbell, who represented Fun Time Early Childhood Academy. Masters Class XXV, which included board member Roger Schorr, was recognized. Several current and past board members were in attendance at the celebration. 
Thank You, Ray Erickson!
Thank you to Ray Erickson at Southwest Florida Wounded Vet for the donation of hula hoops and bouncy balls! Our kids continue to have a blast practicing their hula hoop skills, hand-eye coordination and even meditation on the playground each day.
Board Member Updates
Kris Pfaehler will be taking over as board chair, and we thank Ann Olson, outgoing board chair, who will now head the governance committee. Ron Ciesla, Robin Larkin and Marsha Murphy joined our board emeriti, and we welcomed two new board members, Kelly Saylor and Pam Heffernan.
Welcome Our Newest Staff Member
Maddie Constable
Maddie was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey. She attended New Jersey City University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and early childhood. She has been working with children for the past 25 years in many capacities, including kindergarten. For 20 of those years, she has lived in Naples and worked with children age two to five. In her free time, Maddie enjoys watching her three sons play football and baseball. She also loves to go to the movies and collect dragonflies. Maddie’s love of children is evident in her teaching. We are so happy that she has joined us at Fun Time!
Parent Involvement and Special Events
Bunnies & Bagels
Our theme this month was Bunnies and Bagels as parents and children enjoyed Easter-themed academic activities at our family involvement event. Parents and children worked on literacy, math and color-sorting activities while enjoying tasty bagel snacks. Thank you to Books for Collier Kids for providing our take-home books this month, Mickey’s Easter Hunt!
Author Visit
Ryan Adkins, author and animator, visited our pre-K classrooms to read his story Dream Catcher. Our children loved hearing the tale and watching his short animated film based upon his book. Ryan engaged the children in conversations about being shy and how to achieve their hopes and dreams in the future. We are always delighted to bring representatives of different occupations into Fun Time so that our children can see a sampling of the diversity of opportunities which might be in their future!
Spring Egg Hunt
Students enjoyed a visit from the Easter Bunny and a spring egg hunt this month, which tied in nicely with living things and their environment! Thank you to Sheila Zellers, Joy Zellers Rautenkranz, Landin Rautenkranz and Tamiami Hyundai for their generous donation of pre-filled eggs and baskets that the students used during the egg hunt. 
Volunteer Appreciation Brunch
Volunteer Appreciation Week took place April 18 to April 22, and we hosted our annual Appreciation Brunch for all of our wonderful Fun Time volunteers. They enjoyed light refreshments while sharing their experiences and funny stories. If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to Megan Neill at 239-261-8284 or mneill@funtimeacademy.org.
In The Classroom
April was a month of discovery and exploration as children had the opportunity to learn and understand how living things grow, change and proceed through lifecycles. By observation, books, and songs, they learned about how animal mothers take care of their babies and how living things interact in their environments. By using scientific inquiry and simple tools, the children were able to determine similarities and differences, how living things grow, and how to distinguish between living and non-living. 
Meet Ezekiel!
Ezekiel started at Fun Time when he was just two years old with Ms. Carmen and Ms. Raquel. At first, he struggled in many areas, including personal care, language skills and transitioning to new activities. He often had difficulty using the bathroom independently, feeding himself and communicating his needs when he was upset or uncomfortable in a situation. Due to his struggles with communication, he frequently became angry or would cry. He lacked social-emotional skills, which also affected his friendships in class. Ezekiel’s frustrations led him to close himself off, and he often refused to participate in group or individual activities. At home, mom and dad reported the same behaviors.

As a result, the teachers knew that they needed to create a strong partnership with his parents in order to alleviate his frustrations. By using techniques from our social-emotional curriculum, Conscious Discipline, and other known techniques, Ezekiel has made tremendous progress towards kindergarten readiness in both the communicative and social-emotional domains. Ezekiel is now using the bathroom independently, participates in all individual and group activities with his friends, and is speaking in complete sentences to express himself. He even just celebrated his fifth birthday and enjoyed his classmates and friends singing Happy Birthday to him loud and proud!

In addition to communication and social-emotional skills, Ezekiel has made great progress in academics. On his first assessment of the year, he scored below average on three out of four domains, including phonological awareness, oral language/vocabulary and math. On his second assessment of the year, Ezekiel met and is even exceeding expectations in all four domains. He is now asking and answering questions and writing his name and other words independently.

We are so proud of him!
Fun Time Early Childhood Academy is a VPK Provider!
Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK), is a free educational program that prepares four-year-old's for success in kindergarten and beyond. Children who live in Florida and are age four on or before September 1 of the school year can enroll. Parents whose children are born between February 2 and September 1 of the calendar year may postpone enrolling their four-year-old's until the following year, when their children are five. Parents can choose from different educational settings and various program options, with flexibility to structure daily hours per week to meet the required number of instructional hours.

Prekindergarten Matters Research shows children who participate in high-quality prekindergarten programs:
·        Perform better on standardized tests.
·        Have better school attendance rates.
·        Develop lifelong social and emotional skills.
·        Are less likely to drop out of school.

Registration for the 2022-2023 year is now open. To register your child for VPK, simply visit the Family Portal at https://familyservices.floridaearlylearning.com to complete the application process. Parents may also contact us if they have any questions.
Get Involved with Fun Time!
Our children love interacting with our volunteers to read stories, complete academic activities and even head outside to our garden. If you are interested in volunteering, call us!

Want to help support our mission? Click here to view our Amazon wish list. Fun Time staff appreciate having a variety of books and academic toys to help support children in their development.
Take A Tour
Want to learn more about Fun Time and see our friendly, nurturing environment firsthand? You can view learning in action for each age group, hear about our curriculum, see our beautiful campus, and get answers to any questions you have.

Contact: Becca Mysels at (239)261-8284 or bmysels@funtimeacademy.orgk