Darwin and Melissa Eubanks treat the students in their learning center like their own. This is the passion that drives what they teach and how they teach it. They take personally and seriously their responsibility for making sure that each of their 70+ children is prepared for kindergarten and prepared for the richly diverse and ever-changing world.
The Eubanks own and operate Minds in Motion – a children’s learning center on the outskirts of Greenville, South Carolina – that sets itself apart by focusing on teaching science, mathematics and languages. In addition, the center is deeply diverse. Practically in the backyards of Michelin and BMW, Minds in Motion serves families from an incredibly diverse local population with a teaching staff that is just as culturally blended. From the Ukraine and Russia to Bangladesh, the Minds in Motion learning environment offers its children a unique learning experience and helps them to prepare for the start of school – potentially in a classroom that is just as culturally diverse. Darwin and Melissa are inspiring multi-cultural learning in their center.
Our visit to Minds in Motion got me to thinking: Why is this differentiator important?
From my perspective, there are two obvious reasons that the focus on diversity is important.
Children develop a more global perspective when they are taught about the cultures of the world. It goes beyond just being around children from other cultures. While the faces that you see at Minds in Motion may have roots from many places around the globe, it’s the curriculum that really stretches the boundaries for children. By teaching such cultural details as the types of crops grown in different countries, regions or by different ethnic groups. Minds in Motion uses its many gardens that are planted around its center include a Japanese garden, a Native American garden, a sensory garden, and a “repellent” garden filled with such plants as lemon balm and lavender.
Children develop fewer cultural barriers when they experience cultural diversity early on. If you don’t think being open minded about other cultures is important, consider that when the children from Minds in Motion start Kindergarten, they will do so in a Greenville County School system environment that is 59.9% Caucasian, 26% African American, 10.4% Hispanic, 2.6% Asian and .2% Native American. And since we can’t simply prepare children for where they are but for where they might go, look at U.S. 52% Caucasian, 16% African American, 24% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 1% Native American and 3% whose race blends two or more. Now it makes complete sense for Darwin and Melissa to insist that a diverse blend of languages be included in their curriculum.
The world we live in is made up of people who aren’t all the same and opening up this realization to children early in their learning experiences will help them to grow up being more open-minded, well-rounded, engaging and globally-minded.