By Maria Cook
The Urban Chalkboard Learning Studio and Play Café is closing Oct. 25 following a farewell open house. The café at 452 East Carmel Dr. provides a place for children up to age 6 to play while parents eat or work at tables nearby.
The Urban Chalkboard was created by co-founders and child-development researchers Dr. Jessica Beer and Dr. Tonya Bergeson-Dana in 2014. In a farewell post on the company’s Facebook page, The Urban Chalkboard announced it would be moving “in new directions not limited by our four walls or a single physical location.” Beer said those “new directions,” along with Urban Chalkboard’s lease being up at the end of November, played a role in the decision to close.
“We needed to be able to shift our focus from day-to-day operations to new business development opportunities that leverage the people, processes and knowledge capital we have been fortunate enough to learn over the past five years,” Beer said. “Our lease term was up and it was the right time for us to make that move.”
Beer confirmed that the future business opportunities will still involve helping children gain access to play, which she believes is crucial for their development.
“Every single day at The Urban Chalkboard we see babies and toddlers use play to practice their emotions, start a conversation, test an idea, try to be patient (or not!) and test their limits. Our play cafe experiment has given us ample data to show that play builds healthy, resilient brains and buffers against stress,” Beer said. “Our next step is to use everything we’ve learned to increase accessibility and opportunity to play through strategic partnerships, licensing and consulting and productization throughout the Midwest,” Beer said.