To start Mrs. Moga's interview on 'Moving America Forward,' click on the arrow.
Mrs. Moga-Kennedy has written a book about her experience, "Stella's Way: From
Communist Romania to becoming a prosperous entrepreneur living the American Dream: My journey
and the 10 lessons I learned in life and business."
To purchase a book here at amazon.com, CLICK HERE.
History of LeChaperon Rouge
"Le Chaperon Rouge" was established in 1982. Founder Stella Moga, MA in education, began this
undertaking with the firm belief that some existing day care centers
were inadequately preparing children for the rigors of school and the challenges of adulthood.
Mrs. Moga discovered in many facilities a tendency to create unnecessary levels of stress in the
young child. To minimize this factor, "Le Chaperon Rouge" teaches using educational play. Children
readily accept knowledge and information when it is presented in this manner . By making learning fun,
performance-related stress can be greatly reduced. Additionally, the child who learns to associate
achievement with pleasure can be expected to function more successfully as an adult.
A second and equally problematic factor exhibited by many centers is a general lack of quality supervision.
The unfortunate fact is that some centers provide little more than mass baby-sitting services. In such settings,
precious little care or attention is given to the individual child. Emotional and intellectual development suffer
greatly in environments of this type.
At "Le Chaperon Rouge," the complete young person is nurtured and cared for. In the years since its inception,
"Le Chaperon Rouge" has consistently provided child care and development services which are recognized and lauded
by parents and educators alike. We have former students now working or bringing their own children to the program.
How the school got started
Stella Moga arrived in the United States on September 16, 1979 in hopes of leading a better life. Sixteen years later,
she has made a better life for herself ... and thousands of children, with seven schools and 108 employees.
Mrs. Moga was inspired to begin her own day care center after she could not find one she liked for her son, Alex.
"I searched all over the city and could not find a facility I was comfortable with," Mrs. Moga said.
She worked extra jobs, went to business school at night, and developed a business plan for a day care center.
With $1,800 and a space in the bottom of a church, she opened up the first Le Chaperon Rouge in 1982.
The curriculum at Le Chaperon Rouge mixes fun, free-spirited activities with lessons in reading, mathematics,
science, social studies, French, computers, Spanish, geography, good manners, physical education, and other basic
early childhood educational components.
Parents of kindergartners pleaded with Mrs. Moga to start an elementary school because the children
graduating from her school are bored to tears when they attend other schools. Le Chaperon Rouge expanded
the program to include fifth grade. Offering one of the best reading programs around to small groups of
children from kindergarten to fifth grade, Le Chaperon Rouge is a great benefit to working mothers who
can drop off children in the morning and not worry about breakfast, lunch, and snacks, before and after
school care, sports activities, French, computers, etc. All of these services for a competitive price.
Classrooms exist for children of all ages, keeping them in small, manageable groups of similar skill levels.
The buildings are built from the ground up with many classrooms, indoor and outdoor playgrounds. Some other day
care centers keep children of different age groups-2,3,4, and 5 year olds all in one large classroom.
Le Chaperon Rouge schools operate from 6:30am to 6:30pm, offering parents flexible scheduling and a safe, comprehensive
educational setting. Le Chaperon Rouge is not a babysitting service - children are challenged and exposed to new concepts
on a daily basis.
Make the right choice with Le Chaperon Rouge Child Care and Development Centers.
Why choose Le Chaperon Rouge versus national day care centers?
- Le Chaperon Rouge schools are owner-operated.
- Children are placed in small classrooms. They are grouped by age and aptitude. We are fortunate to offer separate classrooms for the following ages: 6 weeks -
12 months, 12 months - 18 months, 18 - 36 months, 3, 3 1/2, 4, 4 1/2, Pre-K and Kindergarten.
- Our state-of-the-art facilities are built with children in mind. We include surveillance systems, lock
facilities, rubber floors in play areas and indoor and outdoor playgrounds.
- We provide extra curriculum like French, Spanish, music, gymnastics and fitness for children.
- Our menu includes 100% fruit juice, fresh fruit like bananas, oranges, melon, cantaloupe, apples,
fresh vegetables, etc. We provide a candy-free environment.
- There is not a big turnover with our employees because they are happy. Happy employees = happy
children. Our teachers are provided with hospitalization, paid vacations, sick days, holidays, paid
time off for birthdays, college tuition reimbursement (half), free in-service training and a good work
environment plus all the materials they need to run a successful classroom.
- Our children are very well prepared for the competitive future. Children score off the charts on
national tests. When they graduate from Kindergarten, they are placed in gifted programs or high-level
reading or math.
-Article taken from WestLife Newspaper - Women in Business Section.
I have two children that have attended Le Chaperon Rouge daycare and Kindergarten
classes over the past four years. The staff has provided a warm and friendly
environment for my children to explore, learn and grow. All of the services
they provide, including the before and after care programs, have been managed
in a professional and caring manner. I would characterize my personal experiences
here as extremely positive. Without reservation, I highly recommend this facility
for families seeking childcare services. My family certainly appreciates
everything they have done for us." Lori Nadzan
Child care centers and private elementaries: from Westlife Newspaper, February 7, 2001
When Stella Moga immigrated to this country in 1979, she arrived witn one suitcase, spoke no English and didn't have enough money to make a telephone call from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.
Today, the native of Romania is the entrepreneur owner of daycare centers in Northeast Ohio. In three years, she hopes to take Le Chaperon Rouge Child Care & Development public and expand the business into a nationwide chain.
For Moga, there is no place on earth like the United States. Even after more than two decades in the U.S., she rhapsodizes about her adopted country and the possibilities it offers its citizens. "I wake up every morning and thank God I'm in America," she says fervently. "I know many people here take this country for granted. I understand that, because they have nothing to compare it to." Her basis for comparison was the nightmare of living under a communist government.
When Moga's family headed to Cleveland to begin their new lives in America, they were told by some well-meaning folks to apply for welfare. "So I did, or I tried to," she says. "I stood in line downtown and I thought, "I'd rather go back than do this."
So, knowing virtually no English, Moga got a job in the kitchen at the old Stouffer's Restaurant at Westgate, then in the factory of Joseph & Feiss Co., maker of men's clothing. From there, she went to work at the old Halle's department store downtown. What really changed her life, though, was enrolling her son, Alexander, who was born in 1981 very premature, in a day-care center so she could work.
By this time, the multilingual Moga was teaching French at a Montessori school in Bay Village. "At that day-care center they let him cry all day long," she recalls. "This made me very angry. One day, I came home and I said to my family, "I can do this better."
But Moga had earned a master's degree in education in Romania, so she knew a few things about young children. Her main problem, as her family had pointed out, was that she didn't have very much money. Nevertheless, she was determined. She bought toys at garage sales. She found space in the basement of a church in North Olmsted in September 1982 and with $1,800 working capital, started Le Chaperon Rouge.
She started out with just three youngsters. But she knew from personal experience that if there's one thing people are looking for these days, it's good, reliable, clean day-care facilities. She distributed 5,000 fliers and it wasn't long before Le Chaperon Rouge had outgrown the church basement. "It grew like a garden," says Moga. "Soon I had a long waiting list, so I had to find a bigger space."
In 1984, she moved to a bigger building in North Olmsted. In 1986, she established a second Le Chaperon in Westlake in a rented space. In 1992, she built her current facility, a one-story, red brick building with white trim at 27390 Center Ridge Road across from the permanent Porter Public Library. The Avon Lake Le Chaperon is in (The Landings) Travelers Point, behind Perkins Restaurant. Moga also bought a building in Strongsville for her center there in 1990, and eight years later demolished that to build a new building for school.
"Le Chaperon Rouge" is the French rendering of Little Red Riding Hood, the centers' symbol.
Three more schools were built in Avon, Amherst-Lorain, Independence, and Hudson.
"My dream is to develop this program in many American cities, and I'm going to make it," she says. Moga believed she has hit upon a formula for successful child-care facilities. "We provide high-quality care and education, good food, learning a foreign language, computers and physical exercise at a very reasonable price."
How does she do this? "I guess I know how to manage money," she says. "We are not babysitters, or just a day-care center. We are teaching the children something all the time." Moga's claim is that the day care/school is "like a second home" where everyone is content in a cheerful facility. Staffers seem genuinely glad to see her. They speak highly of her and her program. Many have been on the staff for years.
"America gave me a business and a good man. I'm a happy camper," Moga says with a wide smile.
Le Chaperon Rouge expanded to elementary schools to 5th grade. We offer exceptional academics, social groups, good nutrition, extra classes (French, Spanish, Physical Education, Multicultural Art Education/Diversity, Sports) and homework all under the same roof.
Our children score the highest in national tests and they are placed in gifted programs when they go to public schools.
Stella Moga is listed on the National Registry of "Who's Who" in America.
Le Chaperon Rouge is a child's best friend: from West Life, July 24, 2002 by Liz Lucey
"I wake up every morning and thank God I am in America. I know many people here take this country for granted. I understand that, because they have nothing to compare it to." -- Stella Moga
Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little gountry girl, the prettiest creature who was ever seen. Her mother was fond of her, and her grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman had a little red riding hood made for her. It suited the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Riding Hood.
This excerpt from one of America's favorite children's stories left an indelible mark on Stella Moga, founder of Le Chaperon Rouge. Today, the native of Romania is the proud owner of a chain of day care centers in Westlake, North Olmsted, Avon Lake, Strongsville, and Rocky River -- with plans for expansion in Independence, Avon and Broadview Heights. Le Chaperon Rouge's logo is the French rendering of Little Red Riding Hood, indicative of the protective and nurturing care of children that Moga represents.
This is a successful entrepreneur who continues to give back to her community. Moga's primary mission statement is to be a major spokesperson in Washington for day care centers and to bring awareness to Americans that children need to be better educated, fed, and nurtured in their daycare centers.
"This is code blue for America. A child's most impressionable years are preschool years. We have such abundance in this country. Why are dayare centers serving powdered juices, microwaved meals and overcrowding schoolrooms with as many as 30 children per teacher?" says Moga. Why aren't we giving second and third helpings of food to children, especially with tome of the fees that parents are paying? I see daycare centers where 40-50 kids are put in one room. There is no excuse for this. It's a matter of greed--to save on equipment and toys. And, I will make a substantial difference in the quality of children's lives."
Moga is true to her convictions and never spends time - she invests it. Last year, she was voted Republican of the Year and met President Bush's Chief of Staff, Andrew H. Card, Jr. On Novermber 29, 2000, Andrew H. Card, Jr., was appointed to be Chief of Staff because of his impressive service record in the public and private sector, including serving in the administrations of two former presidents. Moga found that she and Card shared somethign in common: a passion to improve daycare centers throughout the country. She has received Card's encouragement to lead a task force in improving daycare centers. Washington never made the time to look into it and respond to her calls.
"I will not accept that there are not enough teachers to facilitate those daycare centers. I constantly have teachers from other daycare centers asking for jobs even though some of the employees have been with me more than ten years and some fifteen to twenty years. As an American, I hold mayors, councilmen and leaders of each city accountable for these unacceptable conditions," says Moga.
Moga sees much of the problem with unhappy daycare teachers and caregivers. "In some daycare centers, these women are paid less than a McDonald's salary. If you have unhappy teachers, it's going to impact the children. The people that work for me feel necessary and appreciated."
Le Chaperon Rouge is unique in that people have an opportunity to go into a CDA Program and earn a diploma synonymous to an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Staffers at Le Chaperon are paid well above the minimum wage of many day care centers and, comparable to Catholic school salaries in the K-8 school.
Beverly Hartwell is a registered nurse that has seen Moga's vision come to truition during her 14-year employment with Le Chaperon Rouge. "Academically, the children at Le Chaperon are moer advanced, because they are challenged an motivated and have more individualized attention. This is one of the most reasonably priced daycare centers, because Stella knows the financial strain of being a single parent," says Hartwell.
Born in Romania, Moga has treasured every day since she immigrated to America in 1979. She is adamant that anything is possible in America and has difficulty understanding why so many Americans are unhappy.
"I can go to the grocery store and buy food. People don't smell the roses. I waited seven years to get a phone in Romania. I had to pay that in full and did not actually get the phone until three years later. We should be stres-free in this country; you have all the staple items supplied to you: food, transportation, and a voice in the government. In France or Germany, I would never be able to do the things I am doing in America."
Moga will never forget the kindness extended to her when her young son developed serious medical problems and she had no insurance. As bills mounted to well over $100,000, the Hill Burton Foundation stopped in and paid the bill. Today, her son Alexander is a healthy undergraduate student at Bowling Green University, majoring in psychology. She is proud of her daughter, "Dee Dee" who assists her on daily operations and shares the same appreciation of freedom as her mother does.
"I think we should take care of our own. While it's a wonderful thing that there are many Americans who adopt children from all over the world, we have so many American children who need help."
Moga also believes Americans should simplify their life and spend more quality time with their children. "Children don't get enough quality time, we provide so much material things instead of attention. I see children with designer clothes with parents who are working overtime to afford that. Video games were one of the worst contributions to American children. We need to simplify things, spend time with family, and nurture a child's natural gifts. Read more, create more and you will find motivated children."
Moga is in the process of creating a national plan to bring more Le Chaperon Rouge franchises throughout the United Sates - but she wants parents to be the shareholders and share in the profits. "There are many women who want to work, but they are putting their family first. My plan is to have these families as managers of a daycare where their child is enrolled. This is an investment for them not just in themselves, but in their child's welfare," says Moga.
Stella Moga is a success story and inspiration to women who have experienced injustice in their lives. The little girl who sustained unbelievable hardships in Romania under a Communist dictatorship has blossomed into a beautiful, confident woman who wants to protect children's rights and remind Americans that freedom is a gift.
Changing Child Care from Crain's Cleveland Business by Kimberly Bonvissuto
Stella Moga's journey in the child care industry strikes a chord with others in her field--dissatisfied with existing centers, she took a shot at doing it better herself. The Romanian immigrant settled in Northeast Ohio with no money in her pockets. She spoke little English and was working to make ends meet. She found her road to entrepreneurship through her young son, Alexander, whom she left in the hands of a day care center.
"They let him cry all day," she said.
Ms. Moga is one of a number of area residents who opened their own child care centers within the past few years to meet what they say is a growning demand not just for child care, but for quality child care./p>
She picked up toys at garage sales and started her own little school with three children in a North Olmsted church basement. Today Ms. Moga runs Le Chaperon Rouge child care centers in Northeast Ohio. She oversees 150 employees at eight locations.
"My schools are one of the best in the field. I'm not modest about it because it's the truth," she said. "We offer amazing preschool programs. We are a school with extended hours. We are not a day care."
The reality of today's society is that both parents work -- sometimes out of necessity. That means more children spend their early years in the care of professional child care centers that base their existence on working families.
Parents now have a range of options for their young children -- from home-based day care providers to commercial centers. The child care market in Northeast Ohio is filled with independent centers, although a few national chains -- KinderCare Learning Center, Children's World Learning Centers, The Goddard School Childtime Learning Centers, among others -- are claiming their slice of the child care pie.
Debbie Fodge, assistant director at Starting Point for Child Care and Early Education, a child care resource an referral agency in Cleveland, said the emphasis on quality and affordable child care came in the mid- to late- 1990s when welfare reform was the hot topic. Parents were forced to go back to work and term limits were placed on welfare.
"Quality has always been an issue. The real issue is the ability to pay for quality," Ms. Fodge said. "Quality care means you have staff that are trained and you are able to pay them something equitable to a school teacher."
Another impetus for curriculum-based child care programs has been the Ohio Department of Education's emphasis on proficiency testing and standards-based education. For children to be successful on these exams, there was a realization that preparation would have to begin at a much younger age. Within the past year, the state adopted early learning standars for the 3- to 5-year-old age group.
The Learning Years
The National Association for the Education of Young Children in Washington, D.C., created a voluntary accredidation system 19 years ago. Since then, it has accredited about 8,500 programs that involve more than 750,000 young children.
"There is a lot more recognition that the early years are the learning years, " said Alan Simpson, the association's communications director.
Le Chaperon Rouge: Complete Child Care from West Life, March 25, 1998
Stella Moga came to the United Stats on September 16, 1979 in hopes of leading a better life. Sixteen years later, she has made a better life for herself...and many others with six schools and 90 employees.
The "many others" are the children who are enrolled at her five Le Chaperon Rouge schools.
Moga got the idea to start her own day care center after she could not find one she liked for her son, Alex.
"I looked all over the city and could not find a facility I was comfortable with," Moga said.
She world extra jobs, went to business school at night, and developed a business plan for a day care center. Wtih $1,800 and a space in the bottom of a church, she opened up the first Le Chaperon Rouge in 1982.
The curriculum at Le Chaperon Rouge mixes fun, free-spirited activities with lessons in reading, mathematics, science, social studies, French, computers, geography, good manners, physical education, and other basic early childhood educational components.
In August of last year, Le Chaperon Rouge expanded the program to include fifth grade, offering one of the best reading programs around to small groups of children from kindergarten to fifth grade, a great benefit to working mothers who can drop off children in the morning and not worry about breakfast, lunch and snacks, before and after-school care, sports activities, French, computers, Spanish, and after school homework for a competitive price.
Classrooms for children age two, two-to-three and three-to-four, an accredited kindergarten program, and areas for infants and toddlers keep children in small, manageable groups of similar skill levels.
Le Chaperon Rouge is in operation from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., offering parents flexible scheduling and a comprehensive and safe educational setting. Le Chaperon Rouge is not a babysitting service - children are challenged and exposed to new concepts on a daily basis.
Make the right choice with Le Chaperon Rouge Child Care and Development Centers.