Spring has sprung, and it's time to dive into our March newsletter! As the world around us bursts into life, we're excited to share all the happenings at our centers.

We've immersed ourselves in the great outdoors with gardening activities and invigorating nature walks. It's been a breath of fresh air to witness the season's beauty unfold before our eyes. Additionally, we've embraced the spirit of St. Patrick's Day with engaging crafts and activities that explore the rich cultural heritage behind the holiday.

At the heart of our programs lies the belief in the transformative power of play. Through a variety of stimulating games and activities, we're fostering creativity, critical thinking and teamwork skills among our students.

Community involvement is a cornerstone of our mission, and we're grateful for the support of our partners and volunteers. From collaborating with organizations like Healthy Earth on educational initiatives to receiving grants from esteemed institutions such as the Naples Woman's Club, these partnerships enrich our programs and amplify our impact on the community.

As we navigate through the season of renewal, we sincerely thank you for joining us on this journey of growth and discovery. Together, we're creating meaningful experiences and shaping a brighter future for all.

Warm regards,

Jessica Campbell

New Santa Barbara Location Gets a Makeover

The week of March 11-15 was Spring Break for our students and teachers at our new Santa Barbara location. It was the perfect opportunity for a Fun Time team of staff, board members, friends and volunteers to spring into action to initiate a transformation. This included a group of students from Florida Gulf Coast University, who rolled up their sleeves and dug in to make our new location look and feel like home.

During the week, new bedding was put down on the playground, the building received a new coat of paint inside and out, new bulletin boards were installed and much more. The renovations were not only cosmetic but also functional in nature in order to bring the facility up to Fun Time Academy's operational standards.

If you would like to donate to the ongoing renovations at the new Santa Barbara location, you can do so by clicking the button below. Thank you in advance for your support.

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FTA Receives $275,000 Grant from

Naples Children & Education Foundation

We are pleased and honored to announce that we have recently been awarded a grant of $275,000 by the Naples Children & Education Foundation. NCEF funding supports tuition assistance for 96 toddlers and preschoolers to receive quality child development services year-round. Funding will also assist with the expansion of Fun Time’s services to additional children hosted at two new locations--Poinciana Elementary and Golden Gate High School.

Thank you, Naples Children & Education Foundation, for supporting quality early learning. The partnerships from all the organizations you support make a collective impact on the children in our community.

The Naples Children & Education Foundation, the founding organization of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, is improving the educational, emotional and health outcomes of underprivileged and at-risk children. Through its annual grants and strategic initiatives, NCEF has impacted close to 90 of the most effective nonprofits in the community, providing more than 300,000 children with the services and resources they need to excel. NCEF’s unique approach, which emphasizes collaboration between organizations and bridges public and private resources, has become a blueprint for how to transform a community, one issue at a time.

SWFL Chapter of The Kiwi Club 

Presents Check in Support of FTA

The Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Airlines Kiwi Club recently raised over $7,500 in support of Fun Time Early Childhood Academy. This generous gift was raised through raffles held by the club throughout the season as well as their annual auction. The club held a check presentation ceremony on Saturday, March 23, at Lely Country Club.

The Kiwi Club membership consists of former and current American Airlines stewardesses/flight attendants and former stewardesses/flight attendants of airlines acquired by or merged with American Airlines, including former & current (non-contracted) flight attendants of American Eagle (now Envoy).

Welcome to Our Newest Staff Member!

Maria Talledo recently joined Fun Time Academy as a teacher at our new Santa Barbara location. Maria is from Lima, Peru, and immigrated to the U.S. in 2013. Maria has a bachelor’s degree in childhood education and is excited to be a part of the Fun Time family.

She and her husband Miguel have two children, Adriano and Hugo. During her spare time, she enjoys crafts, decorating, cooking and baking, and spending time on the beach. Her favorite colors are purple and teal (a great fit for Fun Time), and she also loves milk chocolate. Join us in welcoming Maria to the team.

Books for Collier Kids Brings Literacy Home

for Collier County Students and FTA

At Fun Time Academy, we know that literacy is a standard predictor of a child’s future success. A lack of basic literacy skills is linked with academic failure, delinquency, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment, low productivity and welfare dependency. With a similar mission to provide access to low-income families and children, Books for Collier Kids (BCK) provides more than 10,700 children a month with a new book selection to engage their minds and inspire their creativity.

Books for Collier Kids is an all-volunteer organization with no office or staff, and 91 cents of every dollar they raise is spent on books. The organization, begun in 2005 as First Book-Collier County, changed its name in 2015 to Books for Collier Kids, reflecting a focus on disadvantaged children in pre-K, kindergarten, first and second grades in our county. Since then, they have expanded across Collier County and began providing books to FTA students in 2017.

Books for Collier Kids currently serves 32 schools, and 140,000+ new books are distributed annually (1.8 million books since 2005). In 2023, they received a coveted four-star rating by Charity Navigator.

“What you and the other volunteers do for our students is amazing. Our students get to build their own home libraries, thanks to you. We hope you know how much we appreciate it.

~ Darlene Spano

Director of Education, Fun Time Early Childhood Academy

Community support allows BCK to continue providing life-transforming educational adventures and experiences to our neediest children:

  • $50 buys 1 book for every child in a Head Start Pre-K or Title I classroom
  • $100 buys 1 book for every child in 2 classrooms
  • $250 buys 1 book for every child in 5 classrooms
  • $500 supports an entire classroom (250+ new books) for a full year, providing each child with a book a month to take home, cherish and share.

For more information on Books for Collier Kids, please visit or call BCK chair Sallie Williams at 239-394-4062.

Plant A Seed and Watch It Grow!

The Healthy Earth Organization, with support from companies such as Target

Suncoast Credit Union, Florida Blue and Home Depot, along with numerous volunteers, helps to bring nature and learning to our children at Fun Time Academy.

Our healthy earth gardens provide children with hands-on learning that not only leads to a sense of pride and accomplishment but also teaches them about our natural resources. Children at our downtown location recently had the opportunity to collect vegetables such as radishes and sweet potatoes, while children at our Golden Gate location planted a new crop of herbs, lettuce, tomatoes and flowers.

In addition, children at our Santa Barbara location had the opportunity to learn from members of the Healthy Earth team about the incredible process that caterpillars go through to transform into beautiful butterflies. The children had fun and delighted in learning about the process.

The Healthy Earth Organization, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization, was created in 2019 to empower young individuals in Southwest Florida to better understand nature and educate them on current critical environmental issues. Our mission is to provide experiences and resources to allow the next generation with the ability to develop new and unique ideas and solutions that generate positive change for our community and environment. 

Smart Boards Provide Interactive Learning Experiences

Smart boards have revolutionized early learning by offering interactive and engaging educational experiences. These dynamic tools integrate multimedia content, fostering diverse learning styles and enhancing comprehension. Children are naturally drawn to the colorful visuals and interactive features, promoting active participation and knowledge retention.

Smart boards enable educators to customize lessons, tailoring content to individual needs and facilitating differentiated instruction. Moreover, they encourage collaboration and communication among students, fostering teamwork and social skills development. By leveraging technology in early education, smart boards not only make learning fun but also lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning and technological fluency in today's digital age.

Fun Time Academy is fortunate to have smart boards in many of our classrooms. Recently we were able to secure a grant through the Naples Woman's Club that allowed us to purchase three additional smartboards. These smartboards will continue to enhance the classroom experience for all of our children.

With Fun Time's recent expansion, there is still a need to secure more smart boards so that all of our classrooms are able to take advantage of this technology. If you or your organization is interested in making a donation to support the purchase of more smart boards, please click the link below. Thank you for your continued support of Fun Time Academy, our children and their families.

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Assistance for Families. Preparedness for Kids.

Parents are a child’s first teacher. And who better to teach them than those who love and understand their individual needs? During these important years of development in a child’s life, school readiness programs unite with parents as partners to make certain children achieve social and emotional well-being.

Florida’s School Readiness Program offers financial assistance to eligible low-income families for early education and care so that they can become financially self-sufficient and their children can be successful in school in the future.

Visit to learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply today!

How to Enroll in VPK

Learn more

In The Classroom

Throughout March, children had the opportunity to explore concepts related to the Earth, discovering various landforms such as mountains, beaches, valleys and volcanoes that contribute to the beauty of our planet's landscape. They learned about the different ways that we can help the Earth, engaging in sorting and counting tasks to understand the importance of recycling, while learning new vocabulary such as reduce, metal and processing plant. Additionally, they actively participated in hands-on gardening activities, discovering firsthand how planting trees and other greenery can benefit our planet.

We Are lucky to Have Amazing Fun Time Families

This month we focused on the amazing families that we have at Fun Time Academy. Our at-home projects are getting more creative each month, and we love that more families are participating in these fun at-home adventures. The children love bringing them into their classrooms and describing how they decorated the project and who helped them with it at home.

Volunteer Spotlight: John Johnson

After being an active donor as well as the husband to one of our board members, Jinny, we welcomed John Johnson into the volunteer program with open arms in the Fall of 2024!

After meeting with our volunteer coordinator to discuss his interests, we developed a new literacy program focused on math. Each week, John meets with three students to read literature focused on math skills. The excitement of discovering shapes, lines, patterns and numbers is a joy to witness! He brings with him an excitement for learning and a passion for building relationships among early learners, helping them grow their confidence in language skills and math!

Learn more about volunteering

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2023 Annual Report

Our 2023 Annual Report is here, showcasing a year filled with success, learning and growth! Thanks to your support, we've achieved incredible milestones.

Here's to more fun and discovery in the months ahead!

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Thank You!

Your commitment to Fun Time Early Childhood Academy allows us to provide safe, quality, affordable education and care for children and parents from low-income working families and to prepare the children for kindergarten, ready to read and ready to learn!

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