Learning is Fun, Theme of the Week

Theme of the Week – Jellyfish

Jellyfish are beautiful marine creatures that can be found in oceans all over the world, even near Antarctica.  They can be found at the surface of the water or down deep in the sea.  They are very simple organisms that have an umbrella-shaped top and tentacles that trail below.  Jellyfish use their tentacles like a net to find food.  Their tentacles also are a great defense mechanism since they carry venom that is shot into a predator, temporarily paralyzing it and allowing the jellyfish to escape.

Did you know…

… some jellyfish are bigger than a human and others are as small as a pinhead?
… people in some countries eat jellyfish?
… that jellyfish have been on Earth for millions of years, even before dinosaurs?
… jellyfish have no brain but some kinds have eyes?
… that jellyfish are mainly made up of water and protein?
… a group of jellyfish is called a smack? (http://www.jellywatch.org/blooms/facts)

Want to learn more about jellyfish?  Check out these websites:

http://twistedsifter.com/2009/06/10-amazing-facts-about-jellyfish/

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/jellyfish/

http://www.jellyfishfacts.net/

Jellyfish Activities:

Make your own jellyfish lights.

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Check out this amazing jellyfish in a bottle.

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Create a fun jellyfish umbrella.

l in jellyfish

These are beautiful ribbon jellyfish.

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These jellyfish are easy for kids of any age.

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Pretend with this no-sew jellyfish costume.

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Make glow-in-the-dark jellyfish.

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Jellyfish Song and Video:

The Jellyfish Song

Jellyfish Poem:

The Lost Jellyfish

Jellyfish Snacks:

Jello Jellyfish

jello jellyfish

Hot Dogs Jellyfish

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Jellyfish Sandwiches

JELLYFISH-SANDWICH

Jellyfish Lesson Plans:

Westfield

Bright Hub Education

Suite 101

Books about Jellyfish:  Go visit your local library to find these and other books about jellyfish.

book4 book1 book2 book3

 

 

 

Theme of the Week:  Au Pair International developed the Theme of the Week to give au pairs different ideas of things to do with the kids they take care of.  If you are interested in learning more about the Au Pair Program, contact Au Pair International.

Au Pair Advice, Host Family Questions

6 Traits of an Amazing Au Pair

Having worked with host families and au pairs for over 5 years, I have had many opportunities to see wonderful matches where the host family and au pair end up truly caring for each other like family, and I have also seen matches that haven’t been as wonderful.  While each match is unique with its own set of pros and cons, there are some common au pair traits that seem to help ensure success.

An interest in children:  I know that it has been said that you don’t need a burning love for children in order to be an au pair, but you do need a general interest in them.  Potential au pairs whose main concern is what there is to do in the area and how much time they will get off generally don’t get chosen to be the au pair.  Families want to know that their au pair has a genuine interest in children and their well-being.  Let’s face it; most au pairs are alone, in the house, with the children, all day long.  If the sound of a child’s voice grates on your nerves like nails on a chalkboard, then this probably isn’t the right path for you.

This goes for after arrival, too.  If an au pair acts interested in the children and their activities when communicating with them before she arrives, but then doesn’t have time for them once she arrives, the family feels deceived  and wonders what else the au pair has misled them about.

Truly successful au pairs are the ones who take their job seriously and are invested in the children.  They get down on the floor and play trucks, they have tea parties, and they read the kids the same book over and over and over again.  In a nutshell, truly successful au pairs are the ones who do the things with the children that the parents would do if they could be home.

Patience: Anyone who thinks that working with children all day is easy, hasn’t ever done it.  It takes patience for crying, sticky fingers, messes, crying, toys everywhere, homework battles… oh and crying.  Au pairs need to be prepared that most days will be pretty good, but some days will be very hard.  Patience on the hard days will be rewarded when the children put their arms around you and tell you how much they love you.

Flexibility: There are certain rules put in place to protect the au pair and host family.  It is very important that those rules are followed, but there also needs to be some flexibility.  Sometimes schedules change.  Sometimes parents are late.  Illnesses happen and life is sometimes just crazy.  If an occasional bending or breaking of a rule happens, then you need to talk to your host family about it in a casual way.  If your host family repeatedly disregards the rules, then that is another issue entirely and should be discussed with your agency.

Interest in the family: Most families really want their au pair to be a part of the family.  If the au pair is distant or spends little of her off-duty time with the family, the family feels that she only matched with them to get to come to a new country and not because she wanted to participate in a cultural exchange program.  I worked with an au pair once who would go up to her room as soon as her shift was over, and wouldn’t come out for the rest of the evening.  The family would ask her if she was hungry for dinner or wanted to do activities and she would decline and then sneak down after everyone was in bed and go find something to eat.  Needless to say, this match didn’t work out.

The best matches are the ones where everyone really cares for each other.  This is demonstrated when the host family invites the au pair along to different activities or does extra things to help her feel at home, like introducing her customs into their household.  I once had a host family who had a traditional German Christmas for their au pair.  This helped her feel loved and accepted.

Au pairs show their appreciation by pitching in and helping when it isn’t required.  Just because you aren’t on duty doesn’t mean you can’t help with the dishes or play with the kids or attend a child’s recital.   Now this doesn’t mean that au pairs should spend all their free time with the family.  It is important for them to get out, explore, and meet people.  It is very important to find the balance between the two.

Initiative:  Families don’t want to have to tell au pairs to do every little thing.  If the baby needs changing, the families want the au pair to go change him.  If the kids have homework to do, the au pair should make sure that happens on time.  If the kids are bored, the family wants the au pair to come up with activities to do.  You are in charge during certain hours of the day, so take charge.  Make sure the children are well-cared for and engaged and if you are off-duty still be attentive to the children’s needs, like you would as a member of the family.

Maturity:  There is a reason that au pairs must be at least 18 years old.  Families are not looking to bring another child into their home; they are looking for an adult to help make their lives easier.  Successful au pairs are the ones who take responsibility for their needs and happiness.  If you have a problem, don’t expect your family to solve it for you.  First, you will need to research your options (the internet, your agency and fellow au pairs are good resources for this), come up with some possible solutions, and then go to your host family and discuss with them what will work best.  They are there to help you, but not solve your problems for you.

Now, I know I have just focused on what qualities are important for an au pair.  There are just as many qualities that are important for host families to have, the most important being dependability, compassion, appreciation, and trust.  In my experience, matches that have these qualities are amazing experiences for everyone involved and result in life-long friendships.

Amazing Au Pairs, Candidates, Learning is Fun

May 9th is Europe Day

What is Europe Day?

“Europe Day (9 May) celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman declaration‘. At a speech in Paris in 1950, the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.

His vision was to create a European institution that would pool and manage coal and steel production. A treaty creating such a body was signed just under a year later. Schuman’s proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.” Source Europa.eu

The original founding nations were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.  Now the EU has 27 members: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Teach kids more about Europe day and the European Union:

Play an online matching game with all the flags of the EU.

Learn more about the European Union with this fun quiz.

Collect Euros in the fun online game.

In honor of Europe Day we are highlighting some of our Au Pairs from the countries that make up the EU.

Andreja from Slovenia

AndrejaCrnic3After a successful first year with a family of four children, Andreja is looking forward to spending more time in the USA. She is confident driving on US roads and has a 7 year driving record in Slovenia. Before becoming an au pair, She has excellent English, is knowledgeable in First Aid, CPR, and Water Safety. She also holds a degree as a swimming instructor.

 

 

Soraya from Spain:

SorayaOrtega3Soraya is 26 years of age with 5300 childcare hours.  She has 3100 hours from caring for children under the age of 2.  Soraya gained her childcare abilities from babysitting several children over the years.  In addition, she has experience teaching dance to children after school.  Soraya is an excellent swimmer and certified in CPR and First Aid.  Check out her video.

Interested in a Spanish au pair?  See the others we have available.

 

Carolin from Germany:

CarolinHCarolin has 2000 hours of childcare experience and has been driving for a period of 3.5 years.  She gained her childcare knowledge from working in a daycare center caring for children ages 2-6. Carolin has experience with children that have minor physical and learning disabilities and is currently studying to become a nursery nurse.  She describes herself to be a responsible, warm and creative caregiver.

See our other German candidates.

 

Ieva from Latvia:

Slide 1Ieva is 23 years old with 5300 childcare hours, 1600 of which are from caring for children under the age of 2.  She gained her childcare experience from being a nanny, volunteering in daycare centers, and working as an au pair in Greece. Ieva is fluent in three languages and has excellent English.

 

 

Jessica from Italy:

Name:  Jessica Tiziani                              Age: 25Jessica is 25 years of age with 1600 hours of childcare experience from babysitting and being an au pair.  Jessica has very good English and has been driving for 5 years.  She describes herself to be a patient and responsible caregiver who is knowledgeable in First Aid.  Jessica is willing to care for children with both physical and learning disabilities.

 

Stephanie from the Netherlands:

StephanieMentink3Stephanie is a Professional Au Pair with over 8000 childcare hours, 4000 of which is from working with children under the age of 2.   Stephanie has excellent English and Swimming abilities and is knowledgeable in First Aid.  She loves to plan activities for children and get them excited to be involved!

Check out our other Dutch au pairs.

 

Lemonia from Greece:

LemoniaB1

Lemonia (Leni) gained her experience in childcare from working in a daycare center, babysitting, and caring for younger family members. She is 25 years old with very good English skills and a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry/Biotechnology.  Leni describes herself to be a patient and trustworthy multi-tasker.

Interested in Greek candidates?  Here are some others.

 

Julia from France:

JuliaFranceJulia has good English and speaks a total of 4 languages.  In addition, she is an excellent swimmer and has been driving for 2 years.  Her references describe her to be a patient and responsible caregiver that has many ideas to keep children occupied.  In addition, they say she has experience helping with homework and preparing meals for their children.

 

Rodica from Romania:

RodicaPaduraru1Rodica is 23 years of age and has been driving for a period of 5 years. Rodica has very good English and enjoys playing interactive games with the children she cares for.  She feels that the au pair program is a chance to combine two of her passions: travelling and childcare.

Check out our other Romanian candidates.

 

Jennifer from Sweden:

JenniferHiltunen1Jennifer has over 1000 hours of childcare experience from babysitting and interning in a primary school.  She describes herself to be a caring, sensitive, and creative caregiver that has a high capacity to manage stressful situations.  Jennifer is 23 years old with excellent English.

Fun Stuff

Mother’s Day Crafts

Mother’s Day is on Sunday and many Au Pairs like help their host kids make gifts for their moms.  Here are some great ideas for gifts for Mom.  The first two go along with our Theme of the Week about Rainbows.

Rainbow Roses

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Rainbow Stacked Hearts

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Buttony Spring Bouquet

flower-button

DYI Personalized Candles

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Family String Puppets

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Hand and Footprint Photo Card

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Garden Stepping Stone

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Handprint Flower Apron

Handprint-Flower

Photo Flowers

bouquet-flowers

Photo-to-Wood Transfer

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Want to learn more about getting an Au Pair?  Check out Au Pair Internationals’s website.

Theme of the Week

Theme of the Week – Rainbows

“April showers bring May flowers…”

Spring is in the air and with that comes rain and hopefully rainbows.  Rainbows are caused when sunlight hits water droplets in the air.  The water droplets act like tiny prisms and reflect the light back into the sky.

Interesting facts:  Did you know that the sun must be behind you in order to see a rainbow? And every person sees their own personal rainbow since the angle which you are viewing it is unique and each person sees color a little differently.  Learn more interesting facts here.

Learn more about Rainbows at these sites The National Center for Atmospheric ResearchHow Stuff WorksWeather Wiz Kids,

Or take a trip to you local library and check out these and other titles:

imagesCALIBEO2loverainbow

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what makes

Continue reading “Theme of the Week – Rainbows”

Au Pair Adventures

Au Pair Adventures – Paramore Concert

Guest Post from Dewald Botha, an au pair from South Africa who is matched with a family in Arizona.

400 E Washington St in Down Town Phoenix AZ is where it all went down Monday night April 29th. Walking up to the Comerica theatre you were greeted with city street lights shining bright and underneath them Paromore fans were starting to all come together. The lines were starting to pile up and the merchandise line was already jam packed and remained that way through out the night. Inside the theatre the atmosphere was filled with excited and nervous energy from die hard fans of all ages waiting for Miss Williams to hit her first note for Taylor York (guitarist) to play his first riff and for Jeremy Davis (bassist) to drop some bass into the mix.
The lights went out and all attention were on the members of KITTEN walking onto the stage. The band consist out of Chloe Chaidez,
Lukas Frank, Bryan DeLeon, Waylon Rector, Zach Bilson. From their first song they had everyone’s attention with mind blowing vocals by their front lady Chloe!

When it was time for Paramore the venue have filled up nicely. There was a buzz around the

BeFunky_SAM_0495.jpgtheatre and everyone were ready to be blown away. Hayley opened the show with a new song from their new album “NOW” called “Moving On” and followed it up with the all time favorite “Misery Business”. Right about now everyone was on their feet and the up beat sounds of Paramore kept it that way through out the show. I remember looking up at the sky and just seeing it rain confetti, I closed my eyes and it felt even better than a dream. As the band was waving goodbye to the crowed, Taylor (Guitarist) came up to the center of the stage and flicked his guitar pick straight at me. I remember seeing it hit the girl in front of me right between the eyes in slow motion. It was quite funny… At that very same moment I dropped down to the ground and with a huge amount of luck I found the guitar pick underneath all the confetti. I haven’t felt that lucky in a very long time and for the first time in my life I was at the right place at the right time.
Paramore.jpgThis was my first Paramore live concert experience and for many years back home in South Africa I could only dream of seeing one of my favorite bands live! I can honestly say the real deal is way better than all the You Tube videos I have seen. Haha. Seeing these – Rock and Roll Role models – people who have inspired so many young kids to make music in person was just mind blowing to me.

It was a night to remember and I can only hope that I’ll get the chance to give Miss Williams a High 5 someday in the near future.

Dewald Botha Jnr.
Proudly South African

See some of our profiles of other South African au pairs:

Crystal D.Armand B.Ntombifuthi B.Thandeka M.

Thinking about getting a male au pair?  Here are some reason why it might work for your family.