Our beautiful community and barrier islands took a devastating hit from Hurricane Ian. Though a native Floridian, and living in Naples since 2001, I have never seen anything like the destruction from this hurricane. Every one of us has been impacted by the hurricane in some way. 
To date, 17 Fun Time families and several board members, emeriti and supporters have experienced flooding, loss of vehicles and damage to their homes. We are grateful to report that the Collier Community Foundation (CCF) reactivated its Collier Comes Together Hurricane Fund to assist Hurricane Ian victims. We received a $10,000 grant from them to provide relief for families at our academy who have suffered financial loss due to the hurricane, as well as tuition assistance to impacted families.

As parts of Florida and beyond continue coping with the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian, please know that all of us at Fun Time Early Childhood Academy are holding you and your family close in heart and mind. 
We understand the amount of work it takes to recover from a natural disaster, including providing social and emotional support to children who have been affected in various ways. To help support your child during this challenging time, we would like to share this toolkit with you: Helping Your Child Prepare for a Storm and Its Aftermath
This has been a difficult time for our community, but it has also been heartwarming to see how people have come together to help others recover and rebuild. As debris continues to be picked up, cable and internet are fully restored, and homes and businesses are repaired, let’s continue to help and support each other through this difficult time. 
February 16, 2023 - Fun Time Academy Signature Event
The Show Must Go On!
Parent Involvement and Special Events
CMON Museum Visit
Ms. Cindy from the CMON Museum came to Fun Time Academy this month to engage our VPK children in learning about magnets and gave them a chance to think and act like scientists. Children of all ages have a natural “attraction” to magnets. As small investigators, they enjoyed learning how magnets work, testing various items to see which were magnetic. Additionally, they used a magnet to get a race car to move on a paper plate and learned new vocabulary such as attract and repel. What a wonderful way to get children thinking, problem-solving and experimenting with everyday items while exploring this “magnetic” topic! 
In addition to outreach visits at our center, CMON will host five family night events—one each in the months of December, January, March and April from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Families will be invited to participate in activities that complement the topics that their children are learning in school related to science, technology, math, engineering and art.

The museum will also host a free family night at the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples for exhibit exploration on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Save the date and mark your calendar!
United Arts Council Theater Classes
Theater class this month was all about language and communication. We all know that children develop language through their interactions with adults and other children. This month, they learned about spatial awareness as they spun and danced on their spots on the carpet. As they danced, they also talked about different positions and where their own bodies were in relation to others. Learning about spatial awareness allows children to be successful in positioning their bodies in order to interact with their surrounding environment. The concept of imitation was also introduced as each child took turns repeating the moves of other classmates. Imitation is a crucial aspect of a child’s formative years because it allows them to learn new things by watching others around them.

To wrap up the class, the children all had a chance to use their imaginations as they pretended to play basketball and worked together to create a detailed story. Each child was tested to remember the details from the previous children in order to collectively tell a story. Being introduced to and practicing concepts like spatial awareness, imitation and the use of imagination are critical for children to be able to learn, work and play with others. We are thankful to the United Arts Council for providing this fun but intentional theatre class for our children. Everyone had a blast! 
Halloween Costume Party
On Halloween, the children enjoyed our annual costume party, thrilled to dress up in their favorite costumes and parade around the classrooms. We also held a dance party outside, where the whole school was involved. It is a fun tradition at Fun Time and one that the children certainly look forward to each year. 
In The Classroom
Remember learning about the food pyramid? Now we are teaching children about My Plate, a symbol for the five food groups. It is a fun and inquiry-based nutrition education program that fosters the development of healthy food choices and physical activity. And teachers are able to meet Florida Early Learning Standards for math, science, language arts and health in these lessons.
Children are becoming more food-smart as they practice counting, reading and writing while exploring healthy choices from different food groups. They are learning about what constitutes a balanced meal and a healthy snack and are discovering the colorful varieties of fruits and vegetables and how they grow. They’re watching sweet potatoes grow in our garden and will harvest and eat them once they’re ready. Teachers talk with children about how to identify feelings of hunger and fullness. Because we engage in family-style dining at Fun Time, lessons about My Plate continue all year long.
In October, our children have been studying science and scientists. They have learned what tools scientists utilize and how they use their senses to study the world around them. They are learning to ask questions, notice details, draw and record what they see, and compare and measure. They had the opportunity to put this all into action while carving their class pumpkin and quickly learned that hands-on science is FUN!
Welcome New Staff Members
Noelia Galvan has been a wonderful addition to our VPK classrooms. Born in Mexico, she grew up both there and in Florida. Noelia has a CDA and Director’s Credential to her credit and has been teaching since 2001. She has a passion for children and became a teacher because she wanted to make a difference in their lives. “I can inspire children and help them build their self-esteem. I want them to believe in themselves and their capacity to learn, no matter their backgrounds or abilities. I want to help inspire my students and guide them down the right path to help them reach their full potential.” Noelia is married and has a son and a daughter. Her hobbies include walking and dancing. We are so happy she has joined the Fun Time family. 
Bianca Bellido, our new Marketing & Communications Coordinator, is originally from Lima, Peru and now lives in Naples. She has a communications degree from Saint Ignacio de Loyola Institute, with six years’ experience in marketing. What she enjoys most is graphic design and photography. Her hobbies include riding bicycles, traveling and spending time with her two-year-old daughter Rafaella, who also attends Fun Time. Bianca says, "I’m very happy to have my my daughter at Fun Time Academy. She has learned so much in a short period of time. She was potty trained in a week and never wants to leave the school! 
Success Story
Meet Sabine and Marc!
Marc started attending Fun Time Early Childhood Academy in August 2022 after being referred to our school through Head Start. Although Sabine, Marc’s mom, had the option of a different school closer to her home, she selected Fun Time after a tour. She was most interested in all of our parent events and our ability to connect her with various community resources. She loved our philosophy regarding family involvement and could not wait to be a part of the Fun Time family. While Marc had his “play date” to meet his teachers and new classmates, Sabine told us that her family suddenly had become a one-income household because of a recent childbirth as well as her breaking her foot.
Since August, Marc has been assessed in literacy and math, and the teachers have also observed his social-emotional behavior in order to create a baseline to track his growth throughout the year.
When Fun Time reopened on Monday, October 3 following the devastation of Hurricane Ian, Marc was one of approximately 40 students not in attendance. Our administrative staff immediately went to work calling all the families of the children who were absent, and it was then that we found out that his family had suffered the complete loss of their home, cars and all their belongings because of flooding caused by Hurricane Ian. They had no place to live, nothing to wear and no transportation.
In addition to Marc’s family, there were several others who were severely impacted by the hurricane and lost or suffered damage to their cars, homes and personal items. Our staff then reached out to various community resources, and the school soon began to receive donations of water, food (from Harry Chapin and Meals of Hope), clothing, diapers, formula, toilet paper and other necessities that we passed on to our families in need.
With the magnitude of Marc’s family’s losses, we didn’t stop there. We helped Sabine connect with various resources from the Collier Cares app and FEMA to apply for assistance. We also submitted an application to a local grant foundation that provided her with funding to purchase lost items. Sabine was standing in the hallway of Fun Time as she received a text telling her she could live in an Airbnb as temporary housing. Due to a language barrier because English is her second language, she did not understand the text at first and was in tears when she realized that her family, including her two young children, now had a safe and dry place to live.
We are so thankful to the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF) for providing financial support to help us keep our doors open even in times of devastating loss in the community. By providing funding to Fun Time, our center was able to remain open, providing a safe environment and quality education to the children and, in this case, life-changing resources to the families we serve. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of the children in our community.
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!
Support Our Mission
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
Fun Time Early Childhood Academy | [Website]