By: Summer Blackhurst
Help for bilingual children going Back to School
With the first day of school on the horizon, more children than ever before in United States history will be heading into bilingual classrooms on their first day. Many parents gravitate towards these bilingual programs because studies have shown that bilingual skills give children an advantage in elementary standardized testing when compared to children who only speak one language.
One of the perks that come with bilingual programs is the ability to get help by speaking directly to a native speaker of the language the child is learning. Alternatively, some children even get to take it a step further and live with a nanny from a foreign country that speaks the language that corresponds with their homework and learning.
Au Pairs provide an extraordinary cultural exchange because kids are interacting with foreign-language speakers for extended periods of time. Host Parents often say that, on top of helping the kids achieve higher testing scores, their Au Pair helps their children become more social and develop more friendships with classmates from all types of backgrounds.
Another back to school benefit for busy working moms using Au Pairs, is that they have someone to make breakfast during the busy morning rush, and have help getting their kids to school and back, without having to worry about leaving work early or paying for aftercare services. Au Pairs also become part of the family. They love their host children like they were their own because they live with them and interact with them on a daily basis.
Many of Go Au Pair’s host parents have mentioned that, before they started using Au Pairs they thought the cost of having an Au Pair would be too much for them to afford. However, they have been pleasantly surprised to find out that it is generally more affordable than they first thought, especially when two or more children are a part of the equation because the cost of Au Pair doesn’t go up with the number of children in the family. The average cost for Au Pair child care is about $7.85/hour, far more affordable than nannies who are well over $10 an hour and are often closer to $20 an hour.
Ultimately, because an Au Pair is under contract, they are with their host family for at least a year or two, which is longer than the ordinary childcare provider. Because of the extended time children get with a foreign-language speaker, they are more consistently exposed to a foreign language in the home during the critical learning period and have a higher chance of retaining a second language.
The best part about having a foreign tutor for a child is that it helps children during their difficult first days back at school. Au Pairs give children the confidence to make new friends, and to do hard things- like speaking a whole different language.