The team …
Paulla Keen – Director & Head of Care
Paulla has been in the field of special education and residential social work for 25 years. She’s worked with children and families in a range of settings including family crisis intervention (special needs), residential schools for children with autism, profound and multiple learning challenges, and behavioural challenges, as well as two Rudolf Steiner communities and two schools for the blind. As a result, she has a wealth of experience leading teams in best practices and setting up care facilities within a variety of methodologies and settings. Since coming to the Netherlands in 2000 she has worked within the DIR/Floortime framework, implementing home programmes, guiding families in best developmental practices and helping them through the many emotional and practical difficulties faced by the family of a child with special needs.
Kevin Walton – Director
With a background in music and theatre, Kevin has specialized in creativity in development projects for 18 years. He’s worked with many NGOs, including UNICEF and Save the Children, on international projects for marginalized children, using creative techniques to develop communication and interaction. With Thangam Debbonaire, he has written acclaimed and widely-used education resources for work with children and young people on building healthy relationships. Kevin has worked one-to-one with children with communication and interaction challenges since 2002. He has a psychology degree from the Open University and is an approved DIR/Floortime provider having studied at the DIR Institute in the United States.
Doro Katzenberger – Dipl. Psychologist
Doro majored in psychology at the University of Trier, Germany, specializing in developmental and educational psychology. She has worked with children and young people aged 3 to 22 in both mainstream schools and special education in Germany and the US. She has worked both with groups and one-on-one to help children with learning disabilities, behavioural challenges, ADHD and communication and interaction challenges including work on developmental and intelligence diagnostics and school-readiness assessments. She has been at Stichting Ark since 2011 and is responsible for child assessments and the development of individual goal plans which guide and support the learning process of our children given their unique profile and needs. Doro is
currently completing her DIR Floortime/FCD Professional Certificate with the Profectum
Anat Segal – Educator
Originally from Israel, Anat first began working with children as a volunteer educator for ‘Amutat Alon’ – designing and running activities for groups of children from under-privileged Bedouin and Jewish communities of the Negev. Since moving to Amsterdam in 2006 she has worked one-to-one with children with special needs both in their homes and as support ‘shadow’ for children making the transition into school. Anat has worked for Ark since 2010 and is currently completing her professional certificate in DIR/FCD (Floortime) from the Profectum Academy. A fine art graduate from the Rietveld academy and a keen musician (guitar and violin) Anat combines her creative flair with her knowledge and experience of children to make an inspiring member of the Ark team.
Eefje Kerstens – Educator
Eefje has MScs in Pedagogical and Educational Science and in Social Geography from the University of Amsterdam and is currently completing her teaching certificate there. She has a wide range of experience as an educator both in Dutch classrooms and for organizations working worldwide (such as Amnesty International) focusing especially on human rights and using theatre, creativity and nature as an educative tool. Eefje joined the Ark team in 2012 having lived in the neighbourhood for many years. Central to her philosophy for work with children is ‘following the child’s lead’ and she is delighted to have found a home for these ideas at Ark.
Suzanne de Bruin – Educator
Suzanne is a fine arts graduate from The Rietveld Academy and has a master’s degree in photography from St. Joost Academy, Breda. Suzanne has always enjoyed working with children, especially those who are disadvantaged. She gained her first experiences as a volunteer for the Foundation for the promotion of Cheerfulness (Stichting ter bevordering van Vrolijkheid) an organisation committed to improving the lives of children in refugee centres in Netherlands. She was subsequently taken on as a professional to lead workshops for the children including cross-cultural workshops with refugees and Dutch children. Now with children of her own, Suzanne is very happy to be a member of the Ark team, where her creativity, patience and respect for children with special needs are all highly valued. Suzanne comments – “It is very special and I feel very lucky to mean something to a child who has difficulty moving around in this world – a world that seems so easy to understand and logical to us”.
Nienke van der Ham – Educator
Other staff at Ark are a group of dedicated and talented educators all chosen for their
exceptional skills, experience and commitment to our methods, philosophy and vision.
“The team is an amazing group of committed and devoted teachers
who not only teach your child, but love your child on top of it.” (A parent)