By Amanda Foust
An interactive, cozy-spaced and family-focused business is coming to Carmel this fall. Local entrepreneurs Tonya Bergeson-Dana and Jessica Beer are partnering to create what will be a play cafe called The Urban Chalkboard.
The plan is to have it feature a unique and engaging environment for parents and children alike.
Both Bergeson-Dana and Beer have been faculty members at IU School of Medicine for 7 years and have PhDs in Child Development. But this business venture will be a new experience as both have spent much of their time preparing grants and working on research within the confines of academia.
“We sensed a large gap between child development researchers and families,” Bergeson-Dana said, “The Urban Chalkboard is our way of closing the gap between child development research and families with young children who can put the research to good use.”
The plan is to implement child development discoveries into the play cafe. The toys and play involved will be centered around this development.
Bergeson-Dana and Beer said they plan to use their science backgrounds in creating the play area for children.
“We like to think of it as Starbucks meets Children’s Museum,” Beer said.
There will be a cafe for parents to enjoy a guilt-free space while their children are being entertained through the learning environment. The cafe will offer coffee, an assortment of light foods and WiFi availability. Families will also have the opportunity to participate in classes researched and developed by experts.
“One of our classes is about music and emotion. We also would like to have a baby yoga class learning to self calm and self regulate,” Beer said. “There will always be a parent class that accompanies a parent/children class so we can educate parents on why we are doing what we are doing and provide resources for parents to see the science behind it.”
They will develop more classes based on parent requests and interest once the business is underway. The hope is for families to learn more about children and receive professional opinions when it comes to developmental issues. The play cafe also plans to host birthday parties, book clubs and mom’s groups. After hours they plan to offer “parent talks” where they will serve beer and wine.
The big message of The Urban Chalkboard is that it is a place where families can love going and so do their kids.
“We want this to be a place families feel comfortable coming and really play a big part in the community,” Beer said.
The Urban Chalkboard will be located at 452 E. Carmel Drive in the Carmel Marketplace.
For more information visit www.theurbanchalkboard.com