Ark Row Kids
Our newest chamber member is Rachel Berman. Although she majored in communications at the University of Florida, Rachel is now the new owner of Ark Row Kids.
After the North Miami Beach native graduated from college in 2001, she moved to New York City where she worked in the wholesale fashion industry, and this is where she met her future husband. They now have two daughters, 6 ½-year-old Rafaela, and 2 ½–year-old Soleia.
The family moved to Tiburon four years ago and, after Rachel received her Early Childhood Education Certificate, she began to teach Mommy & Me preschool classes at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Tiburon. “Even though I enjoyed the fashion industry, I’ve always loved being with children,” Rachel says.
When COVID hit, all preschool classes were cancelled, and Rachel began to wonder what she could do. A couple of her co-teachers at the JCC mentioned to her they had heard Ark Row Kids was for sale. Rachel learned that its owner, Ana Santana, was moving back to Brazil because her U.S. Visa was not being renewed - in spite of her owning a viable business.
Ana interviewed a number of people interested in buying the business, and landlord Laleh Zelinsky also talked to each one. Finally, Mrs. Zelinsky said to Ana, “The one that would be the perfect fit is Rachel!” Ana agreed.
Rachel took the plunge and purchased Ark Row Kids in July 2020. Ark Row Kids reopened a month later.
“I had so much support from women in this community,” Rachel says. “I found it so heartwarming, and it gave me that extra boost that I needed to help me be a success.”
The new owner had to clean out, discard, sort and organize the facility before opening day. “Two friends from the JCC, Erin Burns and Nicolette Anderson, came over and spent an entire Saturday helping me clean and organize,” she says. “I am so grateful to them!”
Ark Row Kids, unlike most other children’s centers, accepts those as young as 18 months. They do not have to be potty trained, but they do need to be able to walk.
Rachel offers her space to rent for birthday parties, with all equipment and supplies available to use, for $175/2 hours.
A natural caregiver, Rachel is compassionate and patient, all qualities needed with young children. Ark Row Kids focuses on activities that range from music to art movement to gardening.
The classes are prepared with an emphasis on developmentally appropriate activities, with special attention given to each child so he/she can flourish in his or her own way.
Classes are small, and kids are encouraged to communicate and learn social skills. Activities include arts and crafts, music, dance, story telling and outdoor play on the especially equipped deck with its seesaw, sand table, building Legos, water play and slide.
“It’s important to me for this job to be a success because I want to make my girls proud,” Rachel says, “and when purchasing this business, I thought my daughters could have it as a legacy.”Ark Row Kids is at 122 Main Street
Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
For more information, go to www.arkrowkids.com