Tag Archives: au pair

Welcome to Camp Au Pair in America!

When kids are out of school for the summer, it doesn’t take long for them to become bored and  sometimes that leads to sibling squabbles and mischief. Even though they don’t realize it, they are usually missing routine and predictability in their daily schedule. One solution is to make fun plans to keep them busy! 

Each week this summer we will share a different Camp Au Pair theme. These weekly themes are designed to give you ideas to keep your host kids occupied and engaged all summer long. They will also be learning. (But shhhh, don’t tell them that part.) Check back each Friday, for the next week’s theme. This gives you a chance to make plans and gather materials for the next week. For each theme there will be crafts, games, snacks and activities. You can just use these ideas or add your own and customize the themes to fit the ages and interests of your host children.

Here are the themes you can look forward to:

  • Art Experiences
  • Backyard Safari
  • Bugs & Butterflies
  • Cars and Trucks
  • Dinosaurs
  • Explore the World
  • Nature Explorations
  • Outer Space
  • Pirate Adventures
  • Princesses & Knights
  • Science (STEM)
  • Under the Sea

Check out Summer Fun & Summer Holidays pin boards for even more ideas.

If you get some great pictures doing these activities with your host kids, please send those to your counselor. We love to share your accomplishments and inspire other au pairs!

Let’s make this an amazing summer!

 

Holiday & Vacation Reminders

“Rest and be thankful.” – William Wordsworth

Holidays and vacations are a great opportunity to rest, recharge and explore the U.S.

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer travel season. Here are some reminders about program rules regarding holidays, vacations and international travel.

Holidays

  • Host families are not required to give au pairs off on any specific holidays.
  • Each host family will make different arrangements on holidays, some au pairs will be off and others will be required to work.
  • Au pairs should not make plans for holidays without checking with your host family first.

Vacations

  • During the pandemic, it is important that au pairs and host families discuss what travel and activities are an acceptable level of risk, before plans are made.
  • Au pairs earns 2 weeks of paid vacation during the course of her year.
  • Vacation time should be mutually agreed upon.
  • All vacation should be preplanned (at least 4 weeks in advance).
  • All au pair’s friends and/or family visits/vacations should be pre-approved prior to purchasing tickets.
  • If an au pair travels with her host family, it should be discussed in advance whether this is the au pair’s vacation or if she is working.
  • If an au pair travels with the host family to work, the host family is required to pay for her transportation, lodging and meals.

Travel Outside of the U.S.

Check out this blog post with current information on international travel.

 

Photo: Leah Kelly from Pexels

 

Travel Outside of the U.S.

Au Pair in America is discouraging international travel during the pandemic for multiple reasons. Here are some resources to help you understand the process and risks, so you can make an informed decision.

10 Things to Know Before You Go

  1. Read APIA Travel Advisory due to COVID-19
  2. If an au pair decides to travel outside of the U.S., she and her host family need to understand and accept the possible risks.
  3. The following au pairs should NOT travel outside of the U.S.:
    • Au pairs who arrived on National Interest Exception (NIE) visas. (Those are single entry visas.)
    • Au pairs in their travel month
    • Au pairs on a special 6 month extension
  4. As you make your travel plans, please review the appropriate checklist(s) from APIA:
  5. Au pairs must mail their original DS-2019 along with a Travel Validation Request Form  to APIA, at least 3-4 weeks prior to international travel.
  6. Year 1 au pairs should plan international travel to return to the U.S. prior to the date their visa says it expires. This can be different from your actual program end date.
  7. Au pairs must find out if they will need a visa to visit another country. This can be different for au pairs than for host parents. You must check with the consulate of the country you are planning to visit, find more information HERE.
  8. The CDC requires a negative PCR test to fly into the U.S. Investigate where you can get this test and how much it will cost before you travel.
  9. When you return to the U.S. you should follow CDC and local guidelines regarding quarantine and testing.
  10. There is always some risk with traveling outside the US, as re-entry is at the discretion of the port of entry agent. Au Pair in America is not responsible for additional costs or travel arrangements should a delay in returning to the US occur.

Photo: Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Earth Day Activity: Planting Seeds with Children

In honor of Earth Day, our April cluster meeting topic was planting seeds with children. We met on Zoom with several other clusters from the DMV area and discussed different activities we can do with our kids planting seeds.

Here are some of the supplies needed to complete this activity with your host kids:

  1. Potting soil
  2. Cups for planting the seeds (biodegradable cups can be planted directly in the ground. If using small plastic cups, you’ll need to remove the plant from the cup after they sprout before you plant them in a bigger pot or in the ground). There are links below showing how to make your own biodegradable cups out of newspaper.
  3. Seeds (we planted Black-Eyed Susans – the Maryland State flower, but sunflower seeds are easy to find and grow).

Below you will find some of the resources we used during this meeting.

Information sheets on growing seeds.

Making your own biodegradable planting cups from newspaper.

This time lapse videos showing the growth process of a sunflower.

 

Making Plans for Future Travel

With the COVID vaccine production steadily increasing, we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic. That is wonderful news and reason to be optimistic! However, Au Pair in America is still strongly discouraging travel at the moment for two reasons: CDC recommendations against travel and the constantly changing rules and restrictions for international and even interstate travel.

When travel is resumed for you, it will also depend on your specific host family circumstances. It is very important that you and your host family have very clear, honest communication about your plans and that you are both comfortable with the plans.

What can you do right now? Research and figure out where you want to go and what things you want to see and do there. Being a spontaneous traveler can be fun, but without planning you will often waste some of your precious vacation or weekend time figuring out things you could have looked into before you started your trip.

These ideas are to help you make general plans. You shouldn’t book any tickets or make any financial commitments until you know when travel will safely resume.

Planning can help you:

  • Save money
  • Make the best use of your time
  • Fit in more adventures
  • Visit places you might not have heard of before

It also extends the joy of the travel time. Planning all the thing you will do, gives you something to look forward to. We can all use things to look forward to right now.

If you are looking for travel inspiration and ideas or a place to keep your travel ideas organized, Pinterest is a great place to start. You can browse other people’s travel and bucket list pinboards. You can create your own pinboards for places you want to go and ones you have already visited.

These three apps are all trip planners and offer the ability to research places and create your own itinerary. Each one has its own look and feel and slightly different features. Download them and see which one is the best fit for you.

Road trips can be the ultimate adventure. You set your own pace and stop to see what you want. The journey can be as much fun as your destination.

  • Road Trippers is an app that helps you plan the ultimate road trip. It helps you determine your route and find interesting stops along the way.

We won’t be stuck inside forever. Once travel resumes, be ready with your plans!

Photo: Natacha R. from France

Education Update 2021

Updated Aug 10, 2021Due to COVID-19, Au Pair in America has temporarily given approval for online/virtual classes, with a few conditions. Au pairs must still produce certificates or other acceptable documentation confirming the completion of the class. Classes must be offered by an accredited U.S. college, university or other post-secondary school and completed by 9/30/21. As of right now, the expectation is that after September, au pairs will resume in-person classes. This is always subject to change, depending on COVID numbers and whether local schools are offering in-person classes. If you have any concerns about in person classes, please contact Christine or Lisa.

If in doubt, ask your counselor to check if the school is accredited. All class hours must be completed by the end of your 11th month in the program if you wish to extend.

Online Class Websites – These platforms will list online courses all over the country. These courses come from a variety of sources and some are not accredited. You must be sure you are selecting a course that is from an accredited university.

*This class would be great for au pairs who have already taken or plan to take a PGCC Transition ESL class when things go back to normal. Those classes usually earn 50-60 hours, so this could be enough to complete your education requirement, in combination with one of those classes.

Photo: Nenad Stojkovic

Do You Need Sports Insurance?

Trying out winter sports like ice skating, skiing and snow boarding can be very exciting, especially if this is your first time experiencing winter weather. However, you should also know the risks and be prepared.

Is it risky to do winter sports without the sports insurance?

Yes. If you have to pay your own hospital bills for a broken bone, you might be shocked at how much that would cost. I checked this website for some cost estimates.

Here are a couple examples:

  • Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (that does not require surgery) it could cost up to $2,500.
  • Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (requiring surgery) it could cost $16,000 or more.

I wanted to make sure everyone understands how the medical coverage works for sports related injuries. There is a list of “high-risk sports/activities” that are not covered with the basic or upgrade medical insurance plans. Those activities are only covered with the Sports Insurance Package.

The Sports Insurance was available pre-departure and may also be purchased at any time during your year. It takes effect within 3 days of your enrollment and it is good for 12 months. The cost will be the same ($100) whether you have a month left or your whole year ahead of you. I recommend you pay for it early on, if you didn’t already purchase it. You never know when an opportunity might present itself and you don’t want to miss out on an adventure. You also don’t want to take a risk on getting injured and being responsible for the bill on your own.

Below is a partial list of sports that are only covered with the sports insurance package:
Football, Rugby, Scuba diving, Ski-doo,  Wakeboarding, Skydiving, Parachuting, Rock climbing, Zip line, Skate boarding, Rollerblading, Roller skating,  Ice Skating, SkiingSnowboardingSnowmobiles & Snowshoeing.  View the full list on your insurance brochure.

Note: Injuries sustained while partaking in these sports are covered with purchase of the Sports Insurance ONLY.

How to register for the Sports Insurance
Contact Lisa or Christine, if you are unsure which insurance package you have and/or to register for sports insurance.

If you think you will be doing any of these sports, you should get it now.

Social Distancing: Free Virtual Escape Rooms

Libraries may be closed due to COVID-19, but many librarians are coming up with creative ideas to keep people entertained and promote literacy. One of those creative ideas is free virtual escape rooms. With a variety of themes, some may be fun to do on your own, others as activities with the kids.

Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA created this Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room. She shared this tutorial on how to create your own virtual escape room, which seemed to spark the creativity of many other librarians.

Some amazing librarians all over the country have been busy creating virtual escape rooms with a variety of themes.

Special thanks to the Humboldt County Library in Winnemucca, Nevada for gathering info on many of these escape rooms. Follow them on Facebook for their storytimes and weekly Facebook Live Science Time on Fridays.

Image: Canva.com

Temporary Changes to Au Pair Education Requirement Due to COVID-19

UPDATED: July 31, 2020

Due to COVID-19, Au Pair in America has temporarily given approval for online/virtual classes, with a few conditions. Classes must be offered by an accredited school and the class must conclude by the end of 2020. Au pairs must still produce certificates or other acceptable documentation confirming the completion of the class.

If in doubt, ask your counselor to check if the school is accredited. All class hours must be completed by the end of your 11th month in the program if you wish to extend.

The following schools are offering online or virtual classes as of July 28, 2020.

ESL Specific Schools

Community Colleges

Other Languages

Weekend/U.S. Culture/Travel Courses

Online Class Websites – These platforms will list online courses all over the country. These courses come from a variety of sources and some are not accredited. You must be sure you are selecting a course that is from an accredited university.

*This class would be great for au pairs who have already taken or plan to take a PGCC Transition ESL class when things go back to normal. Those classes usually earn 50-60 hours, so this could be enough to complete your education requirement, in combination with one of those classes.

All Things American *NEW*

Click HERE for a great list of online courses on a variety of topics related to American culture and history. They are available through Coursera and are being taught by accredited colleges and universities. They range from 9-80 hours towards your education requirement and the cost is typically $49.

Photo: Ivan Radic

Valentines Day Fun With Your Kids

Valentine’s Day (February 14) is a time of love, friendship, giving, and caring. Americans use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to tell friends and family how much they care.  Children usually exchange cards at school.

Are you looking for Valentine’s Day activity, recipe and craft ideas? Look no further…  Au Pair in America has a Pinterest pinboard devoted to Valentine’s Day.

                      APIA Valentine’s Day Pinboard

Photo: Clever Cupcakes (Flickr)