Gingerbread School’s inception sounds like one of those typical entrepreneurial success stories we have all heard about…A person with relentless dedication and passion turns an idea into reality! Well, this is one of them!
Her name is Lorraine Pelosi, and to say that she understood the needs and stress of working parents would be an understatement! In the late 60’s as a young mother with three children, her husband passed away. To secure a future for herself and her children she completed her education and got a job. To make everything work, she needed to secure childcare. At that time it was common for centers to be more like babysitting, a safe, friendly place where a child would play and be fed.
Mrs. Pelosi was earning her degree in education and believed in a progressive philosophy, that the growing mind of a very young child learns best through discovery and so began her dream of opening a school that would nurture the whole child. Through her studies on the theories of Maria Montessori, Erik Erikson, and Jean Piaget, she had become interested in the process of learning and the stages of development and decided to base the Gingerbread program on these principals.
Several years later she remarried. She and her husband Andrew said goodbye to the cold winters up north and moved their family to Florida. In 1974, armed with a passion for education, her husband’s support, and an entrepreneurial spirit, Mrs. Pelosi opened her first preschool. The success of the school and the remarkable results appear in the children urged her to expand and quickly added additional locations throughout Pinellas County.
Knowing that parents entrust us with their most prized and valuable possession – their child, the school continues to offer progressive educational experiences for the children in our care. As we celebrate our 43rd year, it is clear that we continue to meet the commitment of our founder’s vision. We continue to grow, like the ¬children in our program, and implement new practices as research on child development and early learning advances.
Mrs. Pelosi is officially retired but continues to serve as an adviser. Her legacy continues to thrive as the talented and dedicated staff at Gingerbread provide an inspired version of her original program while her two daughters, Susan Baraybar and Gina White ensure that school’s sacred values and mission remain intact.