Category Archives: Au Pair

Where to Au-Pair: Edmonton

Edmonton is the capital city of the province Alberta which is located on the North Saskatchewan River, in central Prairies. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname “Canada’s Festival City”.

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Things Known For:

West Edmonton Mall, biggest mall in Western Canada, has a water slide park, amusement park, ice rink,  within the mall. It is a definitely a place that one can spends hours in and not even do any shopping!

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Fort Edmonton Park, nestled in Edmonton’s scenic river valley, the Park is a place where moments are waiting to be lived, senses come alive, and the possibilities are endless. Come to Fort Edmonton Park where there are discoveries to be made around every corner, and where carousels and Ferris wheels are filled with laughter. The park is the largest living history museum in Canada by area and it includes both original and rebuilt historical structures representing the history of Edmonton. A great way to learn about the Canadian fur trade abnd the first settlers of Edmonton while feeling like a blast from the past.

Things to do in the summer:

Muttart Conservatory:
Take advantage of the beautiful nature that Edmonton has to offer. The Muttart Conservatory is a botanical garden located in the North Saskatchewan river valley, across from the downtown core in Edmonton. It features more than 700 species of plants in 3 climate-regulated biomes(A large community of plants and animals that occupies a distinct region) – dry, temperate and tropical – and an seasonal biome, located within our pyramids.

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Located 1 hour away from Edmonton, there is Elk Island is a national park in Canada that played an important part in the conservation of the American bison. Elk Island National Park is known for a great place to pick during the day, a great place to see bison in their natural habitat, and star gazing, and overnight camping. So head to Elk Island and spread a blanket and gaze at a starry sky undiluted by city light, or tour behind the scenes at a bison handling facility and learn how this magnificent animal was brought back from near extinction.

 

Things to do in the winter: Being as Edmonton  is among the Canadian cities with the coldest winters, you are definitely going to want to check out some fun things to do but make sure you stay warm!

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Whether you’re tobogganing, skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or winter picnicking, you’ll find a pause as welcome as fresh-fallen snow. Well known for its commitment to nature, the arts, festivals, amazing parks, could there be a better place for Ice Castles than Edmonton? Ice Castles are a magical collection of Ice Tunnels, slides, caverns, mazes and more! If you want to feel like a part of the Disney movie Frozen, this is definitely a great place to check. We invite you to come and see for yourself!

 

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If you like sports, you must see an Edmonton Oilers game. Ice Hockey is one of Canada’s national sport, so is a must see if you can.  The Edmonton Oilers had one of the greatest hockey players Wayne Gretzky on their team. It would be well worth it to check them out. Their seasons go from September to mid March.

As Edmonton is known for its festivals, you should definitely check out Sauvas Heritage Festival, it is a three-day event to sample delicious food, see creative performances, and experience Canada’s multiculturalism.Enjoy the tastes, smells, sights and sounds from 100 countries and cultures at 71 pavilions.  Explore the Festival and enjoy free entertainment on more than 25 stages throughout the park.

Or if you more like to experience a big part of Albertan’s culture, check out K-Days, formerly known as Klondike Days and Edmonton’s Capital Ex, is an annual 10-day exhibition held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, usually near the end of July.

So if you would like to explore one of Canada’s Prairie provinces, Edmonton,Alberta is definitely the place to be!

 

 

 

Keeping Busy in Your Time Off

Once the honeymoon phase of your Au Pair year has passed, you’ve seen the sights, taken pictures, and the glamour is wearing off, it’s very easy to get bored with your new area – especially if your host family lives in a smaller city or town. And we all know that boredom is the seed of discontent. It can be hard to stay engaged with your surroundings if you’ve been there – done that, and from there it’s a short slip into homesickness or dissatisfaction with your placement.

So as a small town girl myself – 16 years in the middle of nowhere, I have put together a few helpful tips on keeping busy and keeping the romance alive between yourself and your city.

  1. Write Down Your Plans

If I do not make a To-Do list for my time off, I will not leave the house – it’s very likely I’ll spend most of the day wrapped in a blanket on the couch. Now don’t get me wrong I thoroughly enjoy relaxing on the couch, but everything in moderation! 8 hours of being completely unproductive is pushing it – even for me 😉 So I think of a few things that aren’t too strenuous (it’s my day off after all) and jot them down on a post it note to keep me honest. Seriously, even if your plans consist of: walk to the end of the street, once you write it down you will feel a commitment to completing the task and it will get you out of the house.

  1. Be Open to Deviation

Embrace your adventurous side! I’m not talking about your bungee jumping and paragliding side; I’m talking about the unknown and unexpected side, even if it’s not exciting. For example: you never know what might happen on your walk to the end of the street – there may be a garage sale on the way, you might find the ideal spot to cloud gaze, it might start to rain – giving you the perfect opportunity to go puddle jumping (this is fun if you’re walking with an Au Pair friend or happen to be with your Host Kids). The point is, most people do not have the time or the appreciation for little opportunities such as these, but the truth is: if you can learn to appreciate the small moments in life, you can find happiness everywhere.

  1. Take Up Hobbies

A lot of the hobbies and skills I would like to acquire cost too much money for me to pursue (which is a real shame because I think I would be excellent at forging swords) but that doesn’t mean there are no interests or abilities for me to enjoy in the meantime, and surprisingly the inexpensive pursuits are often the most practically beneficial to me. For instance, over the years I have developed a great love of reading and am of the sincere opinion that it’s impossible to dislike this activity, and if you disagree you are reading the wrong material. Writing is another practice I have nurtured over time and some of my most agreeable afternoons have been spent in search of an inspiring place to sit with my journal and hot chocolate as I free hand my day away. This is also a great way to keep track of your year abroad and record your time as an Au Pair.

  1. Keep Your Ears Open

The locals know best, and if they’re smart they’re keeping it to themselves. How much or our lives have we wasted waiting in line at a big tourist attraction to snap a quick picture and clear out for the next group? Too much – that’s the answer! The locals will know the dreamy spot to watch the sun set, the splendid watering hole to swim in the summer, the unsurpassed hill to sled in the winter – and they will keep it on the down low so it stays that way, because as soon as a place draws a large crowd, it loses its charm. So how do you make them spill the beans? There are a couple a ways: befriend someone who grew up in the area – if your host family has lived there a while ask them for suggestions, strike up a conversation with small business workers (nobody opens a small business in an area they don’t know), keep your party small – someone is not going to tell a group of 5+ people about their favourite places, but 2 or 3 travelers visiting from across the globe… your odds have greatly increased, and as we said: keep your ears open. I am a culprit when it comes to listening in and have had the great pleasure of experiencing a few paradises I would never have discovered had the couple next to me not made plans over coffee.

  1. Enjoy Your Own Company

This can be especially difficult if you’re an extrovert but I promise, you are far more likely to meet and interact with people if you go out on your own than if you stay in because you have no one to go with. This is Canada, you can literally start a conversation with the person sitting next to you and end up skiing together the entire weekend. But even here, in the land of the friendly lumberjack, it can be difficult to make new friends; so if you don’t meet someone to join on your escapade, find a way to appreciate the time spent as an individual. This is the perfect opportunity to do exactly what you want – no compromises, no splitting time, only the uninterrupted joy of following your own desires at your own pace!

Your year as an Au Pair in Canada is a once in a lifetime opportunity – don’t get lazy! Make every effort to get out there experiencing, even if it’s on your own. You will make some of the best memories of your life and have an unforgettable year!

Reasons to Host on Au Pair in 2018

Looking for a reliable childcare solution that won’t break the bank? Consider hosting an Au Pair!

Au Pairs are young women and men that come to Canada on a Working Holiday Visa to experience the different culture, the beautiful country, and life in a Canadian family. They live in your home and provide part-time – full-time childcare for your kids. Check out some of the benefits of hiring an Au Pair below:

Benefits of hiring an Au Pair in 2018

Flexibility

Unlike other forms of childcare, Au Pairs provide busy parents with flexibility that fits their schedule. They are available for split shifts, early morning care, your regular 9 – 5 schedule, and more! If your schedule changes weekly, they are able to accommodate – as long you discuss it previously. This is a big lifesaver for parents who struggle to find childcare at certain times of the day/evening.

Home Based Care

You don’t have to worry about drop offs and pickups or leaving your child in an unfamiliar place when you have an Au Pair. Your children are cared for in their own home environment and receive the full attention of the caregiver, with all the options and amenities of your house at their disposal: they can spend an afternoon cooking or baking with your kids, playing in the backyard, or building a fort and tidying it up after.

Affordability

Fees for nannies vary widely and babysitters can only provide situational support; Au Pairs across Canada make minimum wage, and because they are live-in, you can deduct room and board. In addition, you do not have to cover the travel costs of your Au Pair arriving in (or leaving) Canada and because they are here on a Working Holiday Visa, they do not require an LMIA.

Cultural Exchange

Just as the Au Pair will be discovering Canadian culture, your family will learn more about your Au Pair’s home country. Your children will become culturally aware, learn about the world and may even have the opportunity to pick up a few phrases in another language. Having these experiences and exposure will be invaluable to your children and will assist in giving them a well-rounded view of the world.

A Reliable Addition to the Family

Your Au Pair will become part of your family. They will be a big sister/brother figure to your children, but also a reliable young adult that you can enjoy spending time with. Many families bond so well with their Au Pair that they keep in touch after their year in Canada is done and enjoy a life-long friendship.

Au Pair of the Year 2017 Winner!

Being an Au Pair is so much more than just looking after children. It’s about opening your heart for people you briefly meet over skype before making the mutual decision of spending the next couple of months together. It’s about leaving everything you know behind for a certain time to explore a new country, a new culture, for some a new language even. It’s about becoming a mix of a big sister/big brother, a person of trust, a role-model, a best friend and sometimes even a second mom or dad. Being far away from home, there are definitely Au Pairs that go the extra mile and who understand that it’s about becoming a part of a family!

We were truly overwhelmed by all the love and heart-warming words put into the nomination letters we received for Au Pair of the Year 2017! Every letter we read touched our hearts tremendously and every Au Pair would be very deserving of becoming the Au Pair of the Year 2017, however one nomination especially stood out. We are pleased to announce that the winner of Au Pair of the Year 2017 is: Laura J. from Austria!

Please see her nomination letter below:

Au Pair of the Year Essay

Weiner Schnitzel, yummy baked goods, a sweet demeanor, and a willingness to make others happy (just to name a few attributes)—this describes Laura J., our Au Pair. She immediately formed a bond with our family instantly when we had our initial Skype session. She beamed with pride and joy the moment she laid her eyes on our boys. As a Mother, it is so very important to have my children surrounded by positive role models and people who love them dearly. Laura always shows an authentic, genuine love for our children and our family—this has never wavered. It is the kindness in her heart, she is grateful, she is willing to help, and when there is a need, she always offers her support.

The moment Laura arrived in Canada, she was already planning our 5 year old’s birthday cake. She made a beautiful fondant Lightening McQueen Cars 3 cake for our family party, and of course, my son was amazed and thrilled.

The summertime and the beginning of the Kindergarten school year were packed full of fun activities and day trips. Laura attended everything! We went on our newly purchased fishing boat to the local lakes, out to family fun play centers and mini-golfing, having fun in our backyard treehouse enjoying the great outdoors, throwing water balloons, playing in the sprinkler, the pool and on the playground equipment and slides…you name it, we did it. When school started Laura had spent copious hours of her own time venturing to the local mall to pick out the perfect items for Jake’s schulttle (I do not know how to spell the German/Austrian name for the gift given at the start of Kindergarten). This is a tradition that kids in Austria remember their whole lives. Pictured below is the huge gift she created for him! Jacob is enamored with Laura. He loves her kind heartedness, her gentle demeanor, and her willingness to play with him. Frequently, his younger brother is the one garnering the attention but Laura has a soft spot for Jake and she always makes sure he is loved and well looked after.

The Kindergarten gift created by Laura for Jakes 1st day of school

                In the 3-4 months Laura has been here there have already been some difficult moments for me personally with my Mother having to be in hospital and a long recovery from surgery; only then, to find out after all of that she needs Chemotherapy and Radiation treatment for Cancer. With all of the stresses life brings with it, there have already been significant changes and alterations to the daily routine. Laura never dwells but always asks how she can be of help. Laura has spent time with my mother, taken the bus to visit her during her time off, and constantly looks for ways to brighten the day. Currently, she is working on a homemade advent calendar for my Mom so that she has something handmade and beautiful to open daily. It is created with the wood from the trees in our backyard and has the kids’ artwork attached.

Witnessing my husband and I struggling to find time to spend a moment together, except the wee hours of the evening once the kids are asleep and we need to be getting organized for our next day of work, Laura offered to organize an afternoon bowling session with the kids and did not want to be paid for her time, so that my husband and I could venture out to a movie and have a ‘date afternoon.’ It is these acts of kindness that epitomizes who Laura is as a person. This is not something you can make up—she is indeed ‘the’ “Au Pair of the Year!”

We cannot say enough good things about Laura—you do however, have a one page limit on the essay (haha). She has our full recommendation to be crowned-even in her short duration here-The Au Pair of the Year!

                                      Our backyard bouncy castle

 

CONGRATULATIONS, LAURA!

Thanks for doing an incredible job!

 

Yours, International Nannies & Homecare Ltd. Team!

Tis the season of giving! Having trouble thinking of the perfect gift to give to your Au Pair or your Host Family? Don’t worry – you’re not alone, so we’ve put together a few suggestions to help get your ideas flowing!

 

FOR YOUR AU PAIR

There are a couple things to consider when putting together a gift for your Au pair. The first is that they are a traveler and will be returning by plane to their home country at the end of their stay, so you will want to refrain from anything that will be difficult to transport or take up a lot of space. The second is they are here in part, for a cultural exchange and therefore will greatly appreciate a gift that will benefit their time in Canada. The third consideration to be made, is what type of person is your Au Pair? Take the time to discover their passions/interests and go from there.

For the Adventurous Au Pair

This Au Pair is looking to discover Canada hands on and will enjoy an experience more than anything material. You could keep it simple with tickets to a local game or show they’d enjoy, or go all out with a small trip – if you’re planning on going away for Christmas, surprise them with an activity like skiing or scuba diving that they can enjoy during your stay.

For the Foodie Au Pair

Maybe they’re not all about the eating, but enjoy the preparation too! In this case, a cooking or baking class would be a hit with this Au Pair. Not only will they have fun, but it’s a skill they’ll be able to put to good use while caring for your children and also later on in life.

For the Homebody Au Pair

Does your Au Pair spend a lot of their free time at home? Nothing wrong with that! It means they are comfortable in your house and as part of your family. Why not get them a few things to take their comfort to the next level? Maybe a cute pajama set or silly slippers, your favourite book with a personalized message written inside, or a mug (with photos of your kids) and a selection of tea would go over well.

Other Ideas

If you’re Au Pair doesn’t fit into a specific niche, you could always try one of these classics: a spa day –massages, manicures/pedicures, or facials are always well received, gift cards go over well – especially if you know their favourite shops/restaurants, or if you’re truly at a loss, you can’t go wrong with a personal note and a Christmas bonus! Let them know they are appreciated as the holidays can be a difficult time for Au Pairs.

 

FOR YOUR HOST FAMILY

Because living and traveling abroad can get expensive, odds are you don’t want to spend too much on presents this year. That’s okay! Here are a few ideas of inexpensive yet heartfelt gifts to give to your Host Family.

For your Host Parents

Make a scrapbook of all the fun their kids have had with you. Include pictures, quotes, funny stories, and drawings done by the children. Your host parents will be thrilled with the keepsake and this special memento will show them how much you care. Years from now it will be invaluable, not only to them but to their children as well.

For your Host Kids

Here is a great opportunity to do yourself a favour! Think about gifts that your host kids will enjoy, but will also make it easy for you to care for them: crafts to make together, activity books they can use when you need some quiet time, gifts from your home country that you can use to teach them about your culture, etc. Be sure to double check recommended ages or choking hazards before purchasing a gift for your host kids!

For the whole Family

If you have a specific skill that your Host Family enjoys, utilize it this Christmas! It will be an especially personal gift and it will also save you money. For example, if you are great at cooking/baking, make them something delightful for breakfast on Christmas morning, or a fabulous dessert to go with Christmas dinner!

Other Ideas

None of the above gonna work for you? Maybe try a gift that will bring you together as a family. Board games are a great idea, an activity that everyone will enjoy – you could get them a soccer ball for the whole family to play with when the weather turns, or a movie that you would like to share with them on a family movie night.

You don’t have to break the bank when giving a gift; oftentimes it’s the inexpensive and personal gifts that are the most cherished. Hopefully our suggestions have helped out, or inspired you with a few ideas of your own!

Handling Homesickness

Are you an international Au Pair spending your Christmas in Canada? Away from your family and friends? A bit worried?

Here are a few tips from us:

Homesickness is the “distress or functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents.” It’s a predictable problem faced by most Au Pairs at one point or another. It frequently occurs when one travels and is separated from family, friends, and a familiar home environment. It may occur at the beginning or even well into your year. You may experience it multiple times, or in some cases not at all. Homesickness affects everyone differently; if you find you are the only one feeling a certain way, that’s okay – it doesn’t make you weak or less than anyone else. Everyone will have their own experience, whether it is a small bout or something you continually face. But like the flu, homesickness with pass eventually.

Some people may only feel a little loneliness, sadness or anxiety. Others may feel physical symptoms, like stomach aches, headaches, or even become depressed. These feelings are completely normal. Most of the time once the new surroundings and people become more familiar, feelings of homesickness go away.

Homesickness is usually connected with memories: food, music, scents, etc. Because of this, holidays can be an especially difficult time. But please try to keep in mind that this is a once in a life-time experience – you only get your Canadian Working Holiday Visa once. Live in the moment, focus on the now, and be open to the wonderful adventure that you have embarked upon.

In case you experience homesickness, please remember, this is an absolutely normal reaction and does not necessarily mean that you can’t enjoy your stay with your host family. Be patient! Give it at least two weeks. If you feel homesick, you might want to:

  • Share your thoughts and feelings with your host family or Au Pair friends by opening up a conversation about travelling.

 

  • Integrate yourself more into your host family’s life and suggest a family movie night or walk in the park.

 

  • Make yourself busy by creating a routine: explore a new neighbourhood, join a language course, pursue your hobbies or approach other Au Pairs in order to stay busy. Do not hide in your room.

 

  • Limit yourself to one call home every week as homesickness might be made worse by frequent, long telephone calls home. Most homesick Au Pairs feel more homesick after a call home than they did before they picked up the phone.

 

  • Offer to cook a typical meal from your home country which will bring your culture closer to your host family.

 

  • Make a “to-do” list of all the things you want to experience in Canada before you leave.

 

  • Make your new home a home by making your space your own and feeling comfortable to use the house like any other family member (if you’re hungry go get a snack, if you need to do laundry don’t be afraid to ask how to use the machine).

 

  • Talk to those in similar situations and you’ll find that being homesick is just a part of being abroad and it is manageable.

 

  • Write in a journal daily to help clear any thoughts you might have and look back to see how much you have grown throughout your time in Canada.

 

  • Reach out to your local coordinator with whom you can talk about homesickness or other problems.

During your year in Canada there will be times when it is easy, and times when it is hard. Working through the difficult times will make you a stronger person and you will gain so much from this experience! Try your best to be proactive and focus on the positive aspects of the situation. It’s okay to be homesick, but don’t revel in it – find something to do to help you get through it so you can get back to making the most of your time in Canada!

Au Pair vs. In-Home Caregiver

We’ve put together a side-by-side comparison between Au Pairs and In-Home Caregivers. Check it out to see which form of childcare best suits your family’s needs.

Au Pair In-home Caregiver
•   Must have childcare experience, preferably outside the family such as babysitting, tutoring, completing an internship in a daycare/preschool •    Many have a minimum of 1 year of full-time work experience as nanny, an early childhood education and 1 year of work experience in the according field, or a 6 month care giving training course
•   Main responsibility: childcare

•   Assists with child-related household duties including meal preparation, doing the children’s laundry, and helping to keep their rooms clean

 

•    Main responsibility: childcare and housekeeping

•     Always live-in •    Option to live-in or live-out
•     10 – 12 months, sometimes 6 months (Dec-Mar) •    2 years
•     Between 18-29 years of age •    No age limit, majority are between 25-45 years
•   High school graduates (ECE certificate for Au Pair Professionals) •    Usually high school or post-secondary education in nursing, midwifery or teaching
 

•     No additional costs

•    Family must pay for the caregiver’s roundtrip flight as well as healthcare coverage until eligible for provincial health coverage and LMIA costs.
•   Applicant must complete a medical exam and police clearance(s) prior to entering Canada •    Applicant must complete a medical exam and police clearance(s) prior to entering Canada
•   Comes to Canada for a “cultural exchange” – more like a big sister to your children •    An In-home Caregiver may also offer in-home elderly care or disabled adult care
•     Has a driver’s license •    Rarely has a driver’s license
•   Proficient in English as a second language or native speaker •    Proficient in English as a second language
•     Au Pair is paid minimum wage •    Caregiver is paid median prevailing wage
•   Room and board are deductible, the amount depends on province •    Room and board cannot be deducted
•   Working hours range from between 25 – 44 hours per week •    Caregiver works full-time between 40 – 48 hours
 

•   No additional paperwork needs to be submitted to Canadian Embassy or Service Canada

•    Canadian Embassy processing the application requires potential employers’ Notice of Assessments to determine eligibility, letter from employer, Proof of Identity and Address
•     No Labour Market Impact Assessment required •    Labour Market Impact Assessment is required
•     No advertising required •    Advertising using at least four different methods of recruitment
•     Processing times range between 5 – 16 weeks •    Processing times range between 6 – 9 months

Interested in getting an Au Pair or In-Home Caregiver? Contact us as 1-800-820-8308 or [email protected]

Where to Au Pair – Kamloops

Located at the confluence of the South and North Thompson rivers in BC’s semi-arid grasslands, Kamloops takes its name from the Shuswap word “Tk’emlups,” meaning “meeting place.” Today it is the junction of three highways, two national rail lines, and Rocky Mountaineer.  Kamloops is bustling with activity and with more than 2000 hours of sunshine each year, Kamloops has one of the most desirable climates in Canada – dry, warm summers and short, mild winters with a touch of snow.  Spend your year as an Au Pair discovering all Kamloops has to offer!

Enjoy the rich cultural heritage of Kamloops’ early inhabitants

Kamloops takes pride in its First Nations culture, represented in various cultural sites throughout the city, and in music festivals and events held annually. The Shuswap of the Interior Salish Nation were the first inhabitants of the Kamloops area, nomadically traveling according to seasonal fishing and hunting. Today’s 1,000-member Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, direct descendants of these nomadic peoples, have a close and integrated relationship with the city and its residents. Experience this rich cultural relationship today at the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park exploring its extensive photograph and artifact collection, at the annual Kamloopa Pow Wow enjoying traditional First Nations’ performances and art, or at St. Joseph’s Church, a national historic site.

Play hard in the summer sun!

Sandstone canyons, grasslands and evergreen timberlands play host to incredible hiking, mountain biking and camping. Get your host kids outside and soaking up the vitamin D as you bike/hike through the week; then on your days off, arrange a customized wildlife experience with the Au Pairs in your area at ACT Adventures: maybe you’d like a two-day hiking/camping adventure in the mountains to see majestic lakes, glaciers & waterfalls, a day trip in the forest in search of elusive wild animals, like bears & deer, or include zip lining and bungee jumping for an adrenaline infused adventure! Kamloops is also home to more than 100 lakes and two major rivers provide great fishing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting and tubing. For a more relaxing option, book a getaway at the Campbell Hill Guest Ranch and leave your worries behind as you bond with the horses, ride through the beautiful back country, and settle into perfect harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Check out the theatre scene at Western Canada Theatre Company

Through the efforts of committed volunteer Board members and dedicated, talented artists, Western Canada Theatre has developed into one of the largest producing theatres in British Columbia. The company produces a professional five play main stage season, a two play second stage series, and hosts one to two alternative pieces during the season. Their mandate is to provide the Kamloops community with challenging professional live theatre. To entertain, educate, enrich, and interact with the cultural mosaic of its community. Western Canada Theatre frequently supports Canadian material and for their 42nd season celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday with stories inspired by the people of Canada. Spend an evening lost in the majesty of theatre as you experience the Canadian culture through the art of performance.

Bundle up and celebrate the winter season!

Instead of taking part in the same yearly traditions, take advantage of this once-in-a-life-time opportunity and see how Canadians enjoy the Christmas holidays: make some noise at a Blazers hockey game – see what all the fuss is about Canada’s favourite sport, join your host family at the Santa Claus parade and visit the big man in red, celebrate the season at the Welcome Winter Block Party – this year’s theme is Flannel & Frost 😉 or check out the Holiday Kick-Off Weekend which boasts festive lights, ice-carving, gingerbread houses, an Artisan Market, and authentic maple taffy made right on the snow! Pick your favourite Canadian traditions and share them with your family when you return home.

With so much to see and do, Kamloops will keep you exploring the entire year round and find a special place in your heart as your home away from home. By the time your stay as an Au Pair reaches an end, you will have an abundance of stories to share and unbeatable memories of your amazing experience in Canada!

Books to Read with your Host Kids!

 

 

 

Inspiring a love of stories is one of the most helpful tools you can give to kids as they learn to read.  Mastering literacy is a big step to independence in children’s development and it’s no easy task. There is often a large amount of pressure for kids as they begin to practice this new skill, which can act as a deterrent.

Because of this it’s extremely important to make reading fun! Take the time to sit down with your host kids and make reading time quality time. Engage them in the story and have them help you as you read it together. It’s a great opportunity to work on your English as well! If children view stories as something exciting they get to share with you, they’ll enjoy practicing instead of grumbling and complaining about how difficult it is and getting frustrated by the amount of work they have to do.

If you can nurture their love of reading as they grow, steadily choosing material that will keep them engaged, soon they’ll be picking out books they can read on their own, and happily do so. Even if reading is not a hobby they continue later on in their lives, it’s one of the best building blocks you can give children when it comes to their education and imagination – few things inspire and challenge quite like a good book!

Encourage your host kids to explore their school library and even talk to their librarian about what books they are interested in. When they get home from school, set aside a time when you can snuggle up on the couch and read the books they checked out that week.

Another option is the city library. Plan a weekly trip – this is also a great place to connect with other Au Pairs or meet up with your host kids’ friends. Look up the library online and see if they have scheduled story time or music/playtime (if you have younger host kids). Check out a few books for the week and you can also teach your host kids about borrowing and returning.

If you’re at a loss for good reading material, check out some of these great reads:

5 years

Not a Box

No David

Elephant and Piggie

Stuck

Peanut Butter and Cupcake

6 years

The Paper Bag Princess

You Are Special

The Lorax

Strega Nona

The Wartville Wizard

7 years

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

The Frog Prince Continued

Cinder Edna

Junnie B Jones

Fantastic Mr. Fox

8 years

Horrible Harry

Matilda

Toad Rage

Dragon Rider

Wayside School is Falling Down

9 years

Charlotte’s Web

The Chronicles of Narnia

Magyk

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Spiderwick Chronicles

10 years

The Circle of Magic

Holes

Fablehaven

Ella Enchanted

Inkheart

11 years

Harry Potter

Ender’s Game

The Hobbit

Percy Jackson

Song of the Lioness

Where to Au Pair – St. John’s, Newfoundland

St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, is the oldest and most easterly city in North America. Bursting with charisma and culture, St. John’s has the homey feel of a village, with a contemporary, sophisticated edge. As an Au Pair in Newfoundland, you will meet some of the friendliest Canadians, explore the amazing east coast, and discover the vibrant history of the first British colonies in Canada.

Walk the oldest streets of the New World

Newfoundland has a unique culture as it is the product of aboriginal heritage – from groups such as the Maritime Archaic Indians and the Palaeo-Eskimos, and European culture brought over in the late 1400s and early 1500s. One of the first explorers to land in Newfoundland after the time of the Vikings was John Cabot, in 1497. He began to visit annually and fish the rich waters off the coast, and eventually French and English colonies were set up – including St. John’s. Its streets and architecture might be the best expression you’ll see of the creative spirit that founded the province.

Hike to Cabot Tower

At the top of Signal Hill you’ll find the iconic Cabot Tower, a castle-like structure built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland, and Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Construction of the tower began in 1898 and once completed, the building was used as a lookout for incoming ships. It was here in 1901 that Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message: the letter “S” in morse code sent from the UK. Today however, it is the centre of the Signal Hill National Historic Site of Canada. Schedule a day trip with your host family to explore this beautiful location, and don’t forget your camera as the captivating view from the tower can’t be beat!

Spend a week on George Street!

George Street is located in the heart of downtown St. John’s and boasts the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in North America. There are three main festivals that take place on George Street throughout the year, including Canada’s BIG Birthday Bash, George Street Mardi Gras, and The George Street Festival – a must attend event for tourists and residents alike with over 50, 000 people partying on the “biggest little street in North America” for 7 straight day!” George Street is the home of St. John’s nightlife, and includes some of the most popular award-winning pubs, restaurants, and live music venues in the province. If you’re looking for an evening out with the Au Pairs in your area, this is the place to go!

Experience the breathtaking landscape

Canada is a beautiful and bountiful playground for those with a love of the outdoors, especially in St. John’s Newfoundland! The east coast is brimming with activities designed to help you get the most out of discovering this awesome country. Take a three in one trip on the water to view Icebergs, whales, and birds as they migrate for the season. Shred some powder on Marble Mountain – renowned for the best skiing on Canada’s east coast! Relax with rod and reel, and maybe bring home something fresh from the sea for your supper as you experience Newfoundland’s culture first hand through fishing. Or check out some of the oldest rocks and fossils on the planet while taking a tour through mines, learning about volcanoes and glaciers, and discovering an extinct marine arthropod that made the area famous. These are just some of the unforgettable experiences you will have as an Au Pair in St. John’s.

If you’re hoping to spend your Au Pair year discovering streets naturally carved by horse and carriage, passing colourful jellybean row houses lining the sides of steep hills and hidden alleyways, and listening to tales – some tall, some small, told by lively and courteous people always happy to make friends, Newfoundland is the place for you. St. John’s is a city like no other!