Heena displayed confidence as she walked into a room full of preschoolers at Merry Hills Preschool, Castle Rock, Colorado. The teachers gathered the children around Heena forming a semicircle as the teacher instructed the kids to sit, “criss-cross applesauce.”
Heena displayed her white poster boards decorated with scenes from Italy, grabbed the world globe and standing before the children, she began with her finger pointed to the boot, Italy. “This is where I am from, Italy, the other side of the world from here, where you live in America.”
Gigantic grins spread across the faces, eyes lit up as their small hands shot up with questions. The introduction to Italy began. Heena shared the commonalities between the Italian and American culture with a relatable fairy tale, words and a game.
Heena enthusiastically retold the fairytale of a little girl, wearing a beautiful red cloak carrying a basket of food and headed to her grandmother’s house. The little girl known as “Little Red Riding Hood” walking along innocently through the woods is met by a wolf. Naively she shares her destination with the wolf and continues her journey. Of course, the moral of the story is to never talk to strangers, but Heena never came to the end of this story. The delighted children forgot to raise their hands before speaking and shared their version(s) of this well-known fairy tale.
Gathering the attention of the children with the gentle reminder to sit quietly, Heena taught the eager kids a few simple and common words such as cane (dog), gatoo (cat), arancia (orange), mela, and (apple). By this point, Heena’s young audience mentally was diminished. It was with excitement that Heena took the kids outside to play a rousing game of Capture the Flag. This is the game most often played at family or holiday gatherings in Italy. The kids were competitive playing against each other in two teams, finally ending the spirited game with a 19-20 win.
Heena’s presentation was a success. She introduced and made connections between the two cultures that opened a bigger world to the young minds in her audience.
Heena is an au pair who came from Italy to become part of an American family and to provide child care to her host children. She can offer her host family a unique alternative to traditional child care options including greater flexibility, one-on-one attention and coverage during illness, school vacations and snow days.
Diversity is probably the most exciting and beneficial part of this unique program. Heena brings another world to her host family and the community; like the children at Merry Hills Preschool. Our au pairs come from countries all over the world and expose their host families, friends, neighbors and community to their language and culture. By inviting an au pair into your home your children will learn words in your au pair’s native tongue as well as songs and games from her home country. Au pairs also help children gain an appreciation for their environment and a desire to see more of the world. Global awareness encourages children to see things from different perspectives that will be useful to them and will remain with them for life.
To learn more about welcoming an au pair into your home and to find out if your family has the au pair heart, visit www.jmorrow.aupairnews.com.