Au Pair Link Achieve First Ever National Healthy Heart Award

Press Release – Au Pair Link

Au Pair Link Achieve First Ever National Healthy Heart Award

Au Pair Link is the first company in New Zealand to be awarded this on a national level, achieving the golden Pa-Harakeke Healthy Heart Award in all of its fourteen licensed regions, from Orewa to Oamaru. They have been recognised as a leader in the promotion of health and wellbeing in the Early Childhood Education sector here in New Zealand.

Au Pair Link are extremely proud and excited to announce that they have been awarded the Flourishing Pa-Harakeke Healthy Heart Award from the Heart Foundation. It is the highest accolade presented to Early Childhood Education providers. The award recognises all the amazing things they do to promote healthy food and physical activity among their tamariki and educators (au pairs and Family & Programme Managers).

“We are committed to providing information, education and support to our au pairs, whanau and tamariki to establish good eating habits from an early age, which is at the core of our programmes. Achieving this award at a national level, provides us with the recognition of knowing that across the board we are meeting the needs of our au pairs, whanau and tamariki to a very high level” Cherilynn Bunckingham, Education Services Manager, Au Pair Link

Adele, Programme Coordinator from the Heart Foundation presented the Pa-Harakeke Healthy Heart Award at Extreme Edge Rock Climbing on Wednesday 27th April, at one of the many routine Au Pair Link au pair and child events or playgroups where their qualified Early Childhood Education teachers combine curriculum focused learning and activity, and promote a healthy lifestyle.

“The Healthy Heart Award is a great way to helping New Zealand’s early learning services create a positive eating and activity environment for their children, whanau and staff. Changes that occur at the early learning service are often translated to the home environment. We are incredibly proud that we make a difference to the lives of families through this programme and help them to live healthier lives, free from Heart Diseases,” says Ainslie Ballinger, Early Learning Services Programme Advisor

New Zealand is ranked third highest for the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity amongst all OECD nations and rates are increasing. Overweight and obese children have a greater risk of developing health issues such as musculoskeletal and orthopaedic problems, as well as early onset of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes continues into adulthood. Reducing childhood obesity is therefore an important health promotion strategy. Healthy lifestyle habits including healthy eating and increased physical activity can lower the risk of children becoming overweight and developing related diseases. There is evidence that the first five years of a child’s development are critical for the formation of healthy habits.

New Zealand children under five years of age are spending an average of 21 hours a week in early learning services. Time spent at these services has increased by 53.3% since 2000. Therefore, the early learning setting offers a great window of opportunity to promote healthy habits to a large number of children and their families/whanau.

The New Zealand Heart Foundation shares the vision that habits learned in the early years are likely to last a lifetime and understands that the establishment of these healthy habits contribute to children’s current and future well-being. The Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart Award programme (HHA) was designed to provide guidance and structure for early learning services to create an environment that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. The programme aims to support services to make changes in areas including: policy development, healthy eating promotion, professional development and nutrition and physical activity education. Many of the areas covered by the programme are consistent with the recommendations found in the WHO report of “The Commission on ending childhood obesity. The HHA programme content also builds on components of the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whāriki.

Au Pair Link

Ever since 2006, Au Pair Link has been flying loving au pairs from all corners of the globe to join busy Kiwi host families in New Zealand, providing quality in-home care and education for their little ones. Today they have hundreds of families enrolled in their early learning programmes and nearly forty staff working across Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Taranaki, Christchurch and Otago. Their nationwide presence means that their customers benefit from a personal, safe and reliable service throughout New Zealand. They were the first au pair agency to be licensed as a home based Early Childhood Education (ECE) provider by the New Zealand Ministry of Education – developing an innovative and inspiring educational programme for their au pairs to implement with their children under the guidance of qualified ECE teachers (our team of Family & Programme Managers).

In 2014, they joined the Evolve Education Group, heralding the start of a new chapter in their story. Over the years, they have grown to become the largest au pair agency in Australasia, and one of the largest in the world. In addition, they have achieved a number of industry firsts, including:

• First au pair agency in Australasia to become a member of the International Au Pair Association (IAPA)

• First au pair agency in New Zealand to offer an orientation course to our au pairs, including childcare training and a Child First Aid course

• In 2012 we founded the Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO) with other leading New Zealand home based Early Childhood Education providers. HELO is dedicated to giving families quality in-home early learning and care founded on relationships with love, trust and respect.

• Au Pair Link has strong and proven international partner relationships. With access to some of the industry’s largest and most trusted suppliers, our au pairs journey from across the world to live and experience life in New Zealand caring for our Kiwi kids.

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