KANSAS CITY, Mo — A Kansas City couple is continuing their mission to make quality child care accessible to every parent who needs it.
After starting KD Academy, formerly named The Kiddie Depot Learning Center, 16 years ago in Penny Dale-McCant’s home, Penny and her husband Myron McCant opened their fourth location on Prospect Avenue Saturday morning.
“It was just something about the kids I loved. I didn't have a lot of them — I didn't want a lot of children of my own. But I just wanted to love on other people’s kids,” Dale-McCant said. “I told my husband we gotta do something — we gotta do something.
"There’s too many families just left out here without good quality childcare. And so that was the whole reasoning behind this — we’re just trying to help as many families as we can.”
The new 10,000 square feet, 24/7 facility will be state-of-the-art with award-winning literacy and STEM-based programs. At the focal point will be a saltwater aquarium foyer and a multipurpose lab for STEM and coding.
“When our children go to kindergarten, they are still lagging so far behind the 8 ball,” Dale-McCant said. “We decided to go to the schools and we said, ‘Hey, what do our kids need to know by the time they go to kindergarten?’
"They gave us a kindergarten readiness list and what we ended up doing was, we took that list, gave it to all our staff and said, ‘Hey, these are the things that we are gonna focus on.’”
The child care center says at its core, it emphasizes early education, literacy and healthy nutrition. These were all things Dale-McCant saw a need for in the community she grew up in. She and her husband were intentional about the location of the facility.
“I grew up in this area, so I know this area," Dale-McCant said. "And like we tell everybody, we could’ve taken this vision anywhere. But I feel like I owe this community because it's who made me.”
For working moms like Damesha Cook, it gives them the peace of mind they need.
“This is their second home, so besides being with you, that’s the second place that’s keeping them," Cook said. "It just helped me to know that when I was at work or when I was trying to find work, they were okay, they were being fed.
"And when I picked them up, it was like coming to another home. I never had to worry about them.”
The expansion will allow staff to serve 335 more children and will provide jobs to 46 additional caretakers.