Living the dream Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Winner
Consumer Services

After waiting five years for a passport to immigrate to the United States, Stella Moga-Kennedy left Communist Romania with her husband and daughter in 1979. Arriving in America with a master’s degree in education, practically no money and knowing no English, Moga-Kennedy took low-paying jobs to make ends meet. Soon, she learned English and got a job teaching French in a local Montessori school.

Then, with the birth of her second child, Moga-Kennedy was searching for a good day-care center but was disappointed with the quality of the day cares in the Cleveland area. With little money to her name, Moga-Kennedy founded Le Chaperon Rouge Childcare and Elementary Schools in 1982 in the basement of a North Olmsted church. Starting with three children, Le Chaperon Rouge quickly grew to 89 in just nine months. Since then, Le Chaperon Rouge has enlarged to an eight-location business, with a ninth location in the works.

At Le Chaperon Rouge, children are taught in small classrooms, grouped by age and aptitude. They learn subject areas including French, computer training and gymnastics. Children also are served nutritious meals that are prepared on site. Moga-Kennedy’s philosophy is simple: to provide the fundamentals of a solid preschool education while integrating the extras necessary that further enhance a child’s ability and desire to learn.

The teachers at Le Chaperon Rouge also benefit from Moga-Kennedy’s high standards of excellence as she treats them with respect and offers them the equivalent to a two-year college degree in early childhood education.

Moga-Kennedy’s entrepreneurial spirit has helped Le Chaperon Rouge continue to succeed through the economic crisis. For parents who have lost their jobs, she offers free child-care services while they go to job interviews.

And along with integrating a strong curriculum into her students’ lives, Moga-Kennedy reaches out to the community. She is on the board of directors for the Children’s Museum of Cleveland and, in the past, has supported the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Brian and Joe Telethon.

How to reach: Le Chaperon Rouge Childcare and Elementary Schools, (440) 934-2716 or www.lechaperonrouge.com