What is an au pair?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, an au pair is: “a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework and childcare in exchange for board and lodging.”
In addition to board and lodging, an au pair will usually receive a small allowance or pocket money.
In most cases, an au pair is a young woman who wants to work in a foreign country for a year or two, either so that she can improve her language skills and learn about a different culture, or so that she can gain practical experience in childcare.
What does an au pair do?
An au pair lives with a family to look after the children, and to keep them entertained while they are not at school. He or she often plays the role of an older sibling, and may be required to perform light household chores in addition to providing childcare services.
An au pair may, for example, be required to:
- Prepare the children for school in the mornings.
- Take the children to school and pick them up again in the afternoons.
- Assist the children with their homework.
- Keep the children entertained when the family goes on vacation.
- Prepare meals for the children.
- Wash and iron clothes for the children to wear.
For a detailed outline of an au pair’s duties and responsibilities, click here.
Why do au pairs need special training?
As an au pair, you are responsible for looking after someone else’s children. This is a serious responsibility, and should not be taken lightly. When you complete an au pair training course, you will learn about the fundamental principles of childcare, including:
- How to care for children
- How to stimulate childhood development
- Childhood nutrition
- Health and safety in the context of childcare
Without this training, you might not:
- Know how to communicate and interact with a child at his or her level.
- Know how to facilitate childhood development through play.
- Know how to react in an emergency situation involving the child under your care.
- Know how to make a child feel safe and secure in your presence.
- Know how to create a safe and healthy home environment for the child under your care.
Parents will also feel more comfortable, and be more willing to hire you, if they know that you have received formal training in childcare.
Where can I register for an au pair training course?
You can register for an au pair training course at Oxbridge Academy. We offer a certificate course in childcare/au pair work, as well as a selection of short courses that are aimed at equipping you with a variety of the skills that you will need if you want to work as an au pair:
You can also choose to study towards an Educare course, which will not only equip you with relevant skills in childhood development and childcare, child psychology, and educational methods, but will also enable you to obtain a national qualification in childcare. The courses you can choose from include the following:
- National Certificate: N4 Educare (SAQA ID 66883)
- National Certificate: N5 Educare (SAQA ID 66971)
- National Certificate: N6 Educare (SAQA ID 67007)
All of these courses are offered on a distance learning basis, which means that you can complete them in your own time from home. . (Please note that, for the Educare courses, there is a practical component, for which you will need access to a childcare facility)
Find out more about studying one of these courses
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