There is a proverb in Māori culture that reads, “Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria” – my language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul. It points to the revitalisation of language and the importance of recognising who you are through your language and culture. From birth, children are sponges, soaking up the world, language and culture around them. As parents, whanau, teachers, au pairs or caregivers, exposing children to a wider world view from an early age has unparalleled benefits through their life-long learning journey.
When we ask our families at Au Pair Link, what one of the benefits of having an au pair is, the most common response is the cultural exchange that it brings. In hosting an au pair, your whanau is gaining a new family member, someone to share their culture and bring the world closer to your children. You really can’t beat having someone from another country living in your home, to gain a very personal insight into another culture.
The first years of a child’s life is the time that research suggests is best for acquiring a new language. In addition to the native tongue language, the acquisition of a second or multiple languages can easily happen within this time, more so than any other time in one’s life. Sharing conversations with children, even before they can talk, is the best way to develop language. This development can also happen through the non-verbal cues or messages you send, through singing, reading books, counting, baking, exposure to the world around them, everyday experiences shared and so much more. Just imagine an au pair speaking French with your children while they are engaged in art experiences, or your four-year-old being able to count fluently in German, or coming home to some amazing Swedish cooking after a long day at work.
Living in New Zealand, we are so fortunate to be exposed to a rich culture, full of unique experiences. Our au pairs long to be a part of this cultural exchange and see Aotearoa for all its beauty and heritage and to become a new family member. Now is a great time to become a part of this unique journey with your family, so why not get in touch with our team to start the process and as we say at Au Pair Link: Share your home. Gain the world.
Since 2006 Au Pair Link have been connecting busy Kiwi host families with loving au pairs from all corners of the globe. With a mission to provide high quality early learning and care in a secure and loving home environment, they now have hundreds of families enrolled in their early learning programmes. Their nationwide presence also means their families and au pairs benefit from a personal, safe and reliable service throughout New Zealand.