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Love & Laughter Learning Center offers free VPK; Cape resident new director at day care

By Staff | Sep 10, 2008

The Love & Laughter Learning Center still has slots available for its free voluntary pre-kindergarten program for children ages 4 and 5.

The day care is part of the voluntary pre-kindergarten program run by the state of Florida.

“This is free to the parent,” said owner Michele Wedemeyer.

The center also has several subsidized program funds from the state for parents who meet certain lower income requirements.

The center is located at 1313 Laurel Drive in North Fort Myers.

Wedemeyer and her husband, Walter, bought the center about two year ago, and completed major renovations on the whole building.

“It was always a dream of mine to open a child care center,” said Michele.

Love & Laughter provides day care for infants to 13-year-olds, and has a before- and after-school program.

“And we are now implementing a nights and weekends program for parents who work nights and weekends,” she said. “All meals are included — breakfast, lunch and snacks.

There is a public school bus stop right outside the door of the center for all area public schools, Wedemeyer added.

The facility also houses a private Christian school for kindergartners to 12th-graders called Agape Christian Academy. There are scholarships available for the program.

Staffing is a priority for the owners.

All teachers are screened locally and FBI fingerprinted,” said Wedemeyer of security.

She also announced a new director was recently hired.

Penny Greene, a Cape Coral resident, is a positive addition to our staff with a lot of experience.

Greene recently graduated with her associate’s degree in early child care education.

Her credentials are not limited to VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten) director endorsement, they also include emergent literacy school readiness, child care food programs, health, safety and nutrition, child growth and development, behavioral observation, and screening and special needs appropriate practices,” Wedemeyer said.

Greene said she knew she wanted to pursue a career involving working with children, but had originally thought she would like to teach adolescents.

Then I volunteered here at this center last year, and fell in love with the kids,” she said.

Greene urges local parents to take advantage of the state-funded voluntary pre-kindergarten program.

Learning actually begins at birth, and every child could benefit from this program,” she said. “We want people to know it’s free, and allows these children more growth and development.

Even though the voluntary pre-kindergarten program officially began in mid-August, children can still enroll.

They can still enroll as we have openings, and they still get the benefits of the program,” she said.

Wedemeyer said the staff is looking forward to an upcoming second annual event at the center.

We’re going to do another Fall Festival this year,” she said.

Last year the center did safe trick-or-treating within the building, along with games for the children.

Hours are from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Nights and weekend hours are available. For information on Love & Laughter Learning Center, call 656-6800.