Some time ago, I was chatting with a friend of mine who’s living in Belfast. She was telling me about her new job: being an MDS. ‘What in earth is MDS?’, I asked. As soon as she explained that it means Multicultural Development Specialist and they are “experienced educators who are passionate about sharing their native language and culture with children” and that this business was started by a mum of four, it attracted my attention and I wanted to interview the woman behind this idea, as I believe it’s a really good idea to educate children in learning new languages. And, finally, here it is, Kim Constable‘s interview. I hope you will find it of your interest and I would like to thank Kim for her time as well as my friend for helping me to get in touch with her.
Who is Kim and how do you define yourself?
I am a 33 year old mum to four young kids – Corey (7), Kai (5), Maya (3) and Jack (1) and wife of Ryan. I am a humanitarian at heart and am passionate about children and their education. I believe that our kids are the hope for the future and that we have a duty to protect, cherish and nurture them so that they may grow into compassionate and loving adults.
When I had my first child I was unprepared for the strength of the love I would feel for him. My sole urge was to protect and be with him, and I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him and returning to work. Yet, although I enjoyed being a full time mum and caretaker, I also yearned to have something more for myself and I missed working and the feeling of striving towards something that was my own.
Being a full time mum can be very emotionally challenging and it is important for every mum that they have time on their own, away from the kids. I find that I can parent better when I have had a mental break from being a mum. When people ask me what I do I say I am a “Mum, who works at home”. Mum first, worker second.
What do you mean when you say you are a “control freak”?
I think that every single one of us has controlling aspects to our personality, but that some of us express them more outwardly. I have a tendency to be very controlling of all things in my life: I like my home to be run a certain way, I like my kids to be parented a certain way, my business to run according to how I want and I have severe “perfect” issues in all areas of my life. I find it hard to relinquish control and just let someone else make take over, do it their way and possible make a mistake.
However, controlling our external environment usually springs from a desire to control our internal viscera. Whenever I feel scared, or upset or angry, I go into controlling overdrive! It’s as if I want everything on the outside to be perfect, so that I can quell my inner fear. As I get older I am working on letting go. I practice yoga on a daily basis and this has helped me enormously with just allowing myself to experience the sensation of pain and discomfort, and relax into it.
What is The Rainbow Garden?
The Rainbow Garden was my first ever company and is a franchise of a multilingual children’s company that was started by a close friend of mine in New York, USA. It was designed to nurture children’s linguistic, emotional, physical and problem solving skills during their formative years. I have always loved languages and speak fluent French from living in France during my teenage years. When I heard about this company that was doing amazing things, teaching multiple languages to small children, I had to know more.
When did you start the Rainbow project and why?
I first started Rainbow when I had only two children and was pregnant with my third. I had always worked from home after my kids were born, but wanted to do something more meaningful. So armed with little more than a determination to succeed, I started The Rainbow Garden in Ireland, predominantly so that I could give my own kids the gift of languages. It’s an amazing concept. Kids who participate in Rainbow show enhanced musical and mathematical ability as well as incredible problem solving potential. When the brain is wired for multiple languages, it has to work harder than the unilingual brain, which usually enhances other area’s the child’s endeavour. Children also grow up more confident, with greater self esteem and with less fear, as they are exposed to many people of many languages and nationalities in their young lives.
How do you use social media and Internet to find overcoming families?
I have had mixed success with using social media and Internet for marketing purposes. The Rainbow Garden is a service based business. What I mean by this is that at the minute we do not have additional revenue streams that can be sold over the internet, that do not require us to actually provide a service direct to the customer. So to that effect, most of our marketing comes from word of mouth. I use blogging on my website www.rainbowgardenni.co.uk to keep the site current for SEO purposes, but I have not yet started a Facebook page and use Twitter only sparingly. Rainbow is only available at the minute, to customers in Northern Ireland. So using a global tool, such as the internet, has limited success rate as it doesn’t particularly serve us to raise brand awareness globally for a local product. However, as the company grows, I will be using more of these strategies. At the minute I am concentrating on building a small, core group of dedicated families, seeing the results of Rainbow through their children, and growing slowly and steadily through there. In a world of quick fixes and fast results, Rainbow is like planting a garden. Developing language takes time; it cannot be rushed and it does not happen overnight. So we need to treat the growth of the company in the same way.
How do you find the MDS’s?
This is very simple: I use my current MDS’s to find other ones! I also advertise locally on the internet and through word of mouth. I usually do not have a shortage of applicants.
If you had to follow just 3 Twitter accounts which ones would you choose?
@huffpostparents for great posts and incredible insights by real people.
@shareawakening for great daily quotes.
@kimgarst for great up to date social media marketing advice.
What blogs do you follow?
I am a pretty streamlined person and you only get a follow from me if your content is truly compelling. My list of top five blogs is:
Seth Godin www.sethgodin.com
Marie Forleo www.marieforleo.com
Dr Laura Markham www.ahaparenting.com
Brene Brown www.brenebrown.com
Ali Brown www.alibrown.com
Kim, I wish you all the best in your business and I hope to hear from you soon with overcoming ideas. It’s been a pleasure tu interview you and I look forward to hearing from your news.