Why Limits Are Good for Children

Why Limits Are Good For Children

How often do you deal with power struggles at home

Claire Lerner, child psychologist and therapist, nailed it! She wrote: “For the vast majority of the families I see each year, the root cause of the challenge for which they are seeking consultation is an absence of limits and the power struggles that flourish in this void. That is what is making everyone miserable— parents and children. It is resulting in less, not more, emotional regulation (for kids and parents!)”

Pre-school teachers biggest challenge

With over 27 years of experience in dealing with children at ICCC, we can only add that the absence of limits is making not only children and parents miserable, but teachers too. There is nothing more time and energy consuming for teachers than working with children who expect no less than having things their way. Also, nothing requires more skills and experience.

Are you setting healthy limits for your toddler

Many parents fail to set important limits for their child. This is often done with the best of intentions. Examples are extending bedtime because the child wants yet one more bedtime story. Or allowing more screen time. Or buying a new toy they badly want. We bend our own rules because our child is upset. We often don’t realize that by doing this we lay the ground for yet more power struggles. What happens is we send the child the message that their strategy is working. They will eventually get what they want. So we shouldn’t be surprised that they keep acting like this. They even become more resourceful and energetic in applying these strategies to achieve their objective. 

Expert advice

There is numerous advice out there about what parents can do to set limits in a healthy and respectful way for children. We can recommend two great blogs by Claire Lerner and Allison Shafer . Both are Adlerian psychologists and advocates for positive psychology in which the positive discipline approach is rooted. You can find useful articles and resources about dealing with challenging behavior in both blogs.

Positive discipline at ICCC

At ICCC our team of teachers started training in the positive discipline approach in 2024. We are happy to see so many positive changes already happening. We hope we will soon be able to deal confidently with a wide range of discipline challenges in our preschool.

Photo by Freepik (www.freepik.com)

Earth Day Open House family event at ICCC

ICCC preschool is opening its doors- literally- to welcome families from Sofia’s Expat and International community to an Open House “Earth Day” event for your toddler aged children (aged 1-6). If you’re in Sofia on Sunday, April 28th from 11am to 1pm, come up Mount Vitosha to our cozy schoolhouse and experience a morning of Earth day themed recycling crafts, events, and outdoor play. You are welcome to bring snacks and drinks.
This is a unique chance to get to know our international community of families and see for yourself what our school environment will be like for your little one. We have lots of fun in-store in our natural outdoor backyard setting.
If you have been curious, or are still researching a “kindergarten” for your children, this is your chance to spend a sunny morning with us during our free Open morning. Our ICCC kids and families will be in attendance. Parents and siblings are welcome to join in the fun.
Registration required!
Please RSVP by April 26th to office@iccf-bg.com

Useful Information

Clothing

  • Each child should have a small bag containing a complete set of clothing labeled with their name,  including underpants and socks. All extra clothes are stored in each child’s cubby in the foyer for easy access.
  • Indoor shoes are required for all children; these could be slippers or some other form of comfortable footwear and should be left at ICCC each day.
  • Parents should provide comfortable clothes and shoes for outside play and activities – especially running, jumping and climbing (no flip flops or slippery shoes).
  • For children still in diapers parents should provide a sufficient supply of diapers and wipes each week.
  • During colder months, children should have appropriate outdoor clothing, including warm and waterproof shoes/boots, jackets and pants. Hats and mittens/gloves are essential during winter.

Snack / Lunch

Each day, ICCC provides a healthy mid-morning and afternoon snack. If your child has or develops any food allergies please inform the staff immediately.        

ICCC arranges a healthy catered lunch from a local licenced provider for all interested children (please see the Membership Fee Information section for details on the cost). The lunch includes a variety of vegetable cream or meat soups, salads and main courses – check our weekly menu. Parents can send hot or cold lunch each day if their child has special dietary requirements.

Absences

Parents should inform ICCC of any planned absence in advance. For unplanned absences or illness, please inform the office by telephone or email as early as you can.

Caregivers and others

We understand children may have caregivers other than their parents. If your child will be dropped off or picked up by another caregiver, please introduce this person to the office and we will add their name to your child’s file.

If your child is being picked up by another parent please enter the information in the daily log book or inform the class teacher.

Toys from home

We ask parents not to bring toys and similar belongings to school. They are often the cause of arguments and fights as most children are not prepared to share their toy, and they may get lost or broken.

The last Friday of each month is toy sharing day and children are welcome to bring a toy to share.

Celebrating birthdays

We are happy to celebrate each child’s birthday at ICCC. Parents are welcome to bring cupcakes or birthday cake to share with their child’s group at snack time (please ask the shop to provide the certificate, required by the health authorities). 

We request that parents do not provide additional candy/sweets or gift bags on the occasion of their child’s birthday to avoid eating unhealthy food at school. Instead, the birthday child can donate a book to the school library to mark their birthday if they wish, with a suitable inscription inside. We do not allow outside entertainment (clowns, puppets, etc.) for birthdays. We organize a birthday celebration during class time when we sing songs, dance, and play games.

Outings and field trips

ICCC organizes outings and field trips to enrich children’s learning. Parents may be asked to volunteer as additional supervisors of such trips. Prior to any outings, we will ask you to complete and sign a permission slip.

Sample outings include theatre, museum, fire brigade, dentist clinic, bakery, zoo, horse or animal farm.

Feedback on Progress and Reports

At ICCC parents learn about the child’s day or week at school from their daily exchange with the class teachers and from activity posts in our Viber groups or Tapestry Journal, an easy-to-use online learning journal. We love when parents share stories from home about their child’s learning and behavior. Feedback from home helps us know the child better and take into account their needs and interests in our planning.

On a more formal note, teachers prepare detailed progress reports for each child twice a year – in February and in June. The reports get sent to parents via Tapestry Journal. We hold one-to-one parent teacher conferences mid-year to discuss with parents each child’s progress in all development areas. 

Communication and Parent Involvement

Good communication and mutual respect and trust are vital to the functioning of ICCC, and to the well-being of our children. Parents are invited to communicate directly with teachers and the director to discuss any ideas, concerns or problems. 

To keep parents informed, we use email and Viber groups, as well as special learning applications.

Teachers share stories about children’s school life and learning through Tapestry Journal, an easy-to-use and secure online learning journal.  We use the same tool for development tracking and reporting children’s progress. Also, we strongly encourage the day-to-day exchange between parents and teachers at drop off or pick up.

Special events are another way we keep parents involved and build a strong parent community. Such events are the Welcome back BBQ each September, the Winter Holiday Party in December, and the Learning Celebration Day in June. We organize coffee mornings, social evenings and parent project days throughout the school year. 

Finally, parents are highly encouraged to participate in their child’s learning activities. Whether it is to read a story, or introduce the group to a national holiday from the child’s home country, do a workshop with children, or talk about their job, parents are welcome to be part of children’s school day and learning.

Looking for ideas creative

5 good questions to ask when choosing a pre-school

At this time of year, parents of young children face the important task of finding the best preschool for their toddler. It is normal for parents to want their child to be happy and well-prepared for the future, but it can be difficult to decide which preschool is the best match.

Before drawing your shortlist, it is important to first consider your values as a parent. Think about your parenting style, how you interact with your child, and what you want for them. Being clear about your priorities will help you identify the best match.

When you visit, apart from questions like the daily routine, curriculum, fees, try to understand the values, culture, and staff approach so you can make an informed decision about your child’s early years education.

5 things to look for when choosing a preschool
Here is our advice for parents about the essential questions they should ask when choosing a pre-school for their child.
Question 1. How do you support new children to adjust in the first weeks? Are parents allowed in during the transition period? Is there an adjustment plan or routine you follow? If my child is upset, how do you offer comfort? How long before they go back to normal?

At our pre-school, we prioritize a supportive and nurturing environment for new children. The transition period includes a special routine and schedule for the first few weeks. Parents are allowed to stay with their child for one or two days to help build trust with our staff. Our trained and experienced teachers understand that every child is unique and may require different levels of support. They offer individual attention and care to ensure that each child feels safe and secure in their new environment. This process can take from two weeks to over a month. Parental support is key so we work together with parents to help the child make this big step forward in their growth.

Question 2. Do you have a specific philosophy or approach to learning? Can you give examples of how children learn in your pre-school?

At ICCC, we believe that children learn best when they are actively engaged and having fun. Our philosophy is centered around fostering creativity and a love of learning in each child. We provide a variety of materials and activities that encourage hands-on learning and exploration in different learning centers such as home area, construction and play area, art area, math and science area, literacy area, etc. Some activities are teacher led but there is plenty of room for child-initiated experiences in the classroom and on the playground. With the right support from their teachers, in their play children develop important skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. For example, when playing with blocks children can learn about shapes, sizes, balance, and spatial relationships.

Question 3. What is your approach to discipline? How do you handle conflicts between children? Do you have a policy for bullying?

This is a crucial age to teach children socially acceptable behavior and working together with families in absolutely necessary. At ICCC we don’t have a specific disciplining procedure. We use modeling and conflict resolution strategies to guide children through the complexities of learning good social skills, empathy and cooperation. At the beginning of the school year in each group, together with children, we establish what is good and what is unacceptable behavior. We use story characters and real life situations to teach continually the rules we agreed, and we equip children with conflict resolution skills. When there are attempts at bullying behavior, we involve parents and look for solutions together, sometimes engaging professionals to help.

Question 4. What kind of communication can I expect from the pre-school? How often will I receive updates about my child’s progress? Is there an open-door policy for parents to speak with teachers?

ICCC is a parent association with an elected Board of Parents that work together with the Director to run the pre-school. The Board takes key policy decisions with the needs of children on top of the agenda. We ensure communication runs both ways, is honest and open.

ICCC values parent-teacher communication and we keep parents informed about the daily activities and their child’s progress through special publications and daily informal exchanges. Parents are encouraged to speak with teachers and staff and share any concerns, feedback, or questions. Formal progress updates are provided twice a year and we run parent-teacher conferences mid-year to talk about the child’s overall development and set goals.

Question 5. How do you handle emergencies or unexpected situations that may arise in the pre-school?

At ICCC, we have comprehensive emergency protocols in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all children and staff in the event of an unexpected situation such as serious injury, fire, or earthquake. Our staff is trained in first aid and emergency response, and we conduct drills to practice our emergency protocols. For less severe situations, such as a child becoming ill or having an accident, we notify parents as soon as possible. Our goal is always to ensure the safety and well-being of children and staff and to handle each situation with the utmost care and attention.

 

 

 
Interview with the director of Iccf

New School Year – Interview with ICCC Director

The International Children’s Creative Center (ICCC) in Sofia, Bulgaria, is here to help local and expat families.  Children find a safe place to adjust, learn and feel at home here. 

Interview with the director of Iccf

At the beginning of the new school year ICCC celebrates 25 years. Snezhana Daneva, Director since September 2010, tells us more about what this kindergarten in Sofia, Bulgaria offers. What makes it a special place for children and families?

Hello Mrs. Daneva, can you tell us more about what makes ICCC exceptional for the children and their parents?

Every aspect of life at ICCC is special – if I have to single out one thing – we are like one big family. Our teachers create a truly warm and caring environment. Also we are constantly looking to improve. Our families bring diverse cultures, experiences, and very high expectations so naturally we set ourselves high standards.

What is also special about our pre-school is that parents and staff are partners. Not just in the day-to-day life and learning of children but in the management of ICCC through the Parent Board who represent the parent community in the policy and decision making.

What is your educational philosophy?

Pre-school education is so special! It is about sowing seeds – the seeds of love and care for people and the environment, the seeds for respect and cooperation, the seeds for learning. In early years teachers sow the seeds with love, patience and professional knowledge.

Young children learn all the time through their daily experiences – they learn to understand and manage their emotions, to communicate effectively, to move confidently and safely, to manipulate and explore objects and materials. They study how to make discoveries and make connections about things around them.

Unlike in ‘big school’, teachers can’t pack this knowledge into structured lessons because children can’t ‘sit down and learn’ when you want them to. Every pre-school teacher knows that children gain information when they are curious and interested. The job of the teacher is to support them when it happens – to capture the interest, spark that curiosity and provide rich opportunities for interactions that naturally lead to learning.  

In the same way, the teacher should support children to be independent and competent socially, emotionally and physically. Teaching children strategies to solve conflicts, look after their physical and emotional needs. This is a very important shift – support rather than direct, offer children strategies rather than do something for them. This is the direction we follow at ICCC, and it is a long journey, but totally worth it.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a kindergarten director?

I see my role as helping children, their families and my staff feel safe, happy and confident.

I often say that I have the best of both worlds – I work equally with teachers, parents and children. I am so lucky to interact with children every day, to have conversations with them, laugh with and help them. At the same time I have my ‘adult world’ responsibilities and communication, and this is a great and rare balance I can enjoy in my work every day. A smile or a hug by a small child brightens my day!

How do you prepare both parents and children for their first entry into the kindergarten?

For young children who haven’t been separated from home yet, starting school is like jumping from a cliff. They are thrown into the unknown which, naturally, is very distressing. I always explain to parents what their child is likely to experience and how to support them. We want them to trust us, to have confidence in the process and how we handle it.

Our strategy for the start, when new children transition from home to school, is to have a very short stay in the first week, and gradually increase the hours as they become more confident and comfortable.

But before we get to this stage it is important to establish connection with the new families and find out what they want for their child, and if we are looking in the same direction. We are partners, we need to build trust which rests on common values like respect, open mindset, international mindedness, etc.

Who is your favorite children’s book author, and why?

Julia Donaldson, Valerie Thomas with her Winnie The Witch series, Eric Carle, David Shannon, Anna Dewdney and many more. We have a rich library at ICCC, and children love listening to the stories we read every day.

It is a tradition at ICCC for children to donate a book for school on their birthday, and we also have parents come and read a favorite book. This is how we discover new authors and books.

How would you describe the perfect day in ICCC?

No accidents! On a more serious note, a perfect day means a good buzz in each classroom with  children busy playing; happy noise from the playground; a happy reunion and a good word from parents at the end of the day.

What would be your inspirational message for the children and their parents?

Trust play! Playing is the key to high quality learning. Trust your child, they are able to do amazing things. Value every moment spent with them. Give them your best because all paths in their lives start from childhood. And you won’t notice how quickly it ends!

Daily Routine

8.00 am: arrival, play and small group activities

9.30 am: circle time and IEYC group activities

10.00 am: morning snack

10.30 am: IEYC/music/math/Jolly Phonic sessions (Cheeky Chickens and Clever Kittens)

11.30 am: physical education and outdoor play

12.00 am: LUNCH (see our SNACKS AND LUNCH MENU for the week)

1.00 pm: afternoon nap (Little Ladybirds and Busy Bees);

Or Relaxing time, music, dance/karate, art, science classes (Cheeky Chickens, Clever Kittens)

3.00 pm: afternoon snack

3.30 pm: IEYC activities; closing circle;

4.00 pm: free play indoors or outdoors in mixed groups and pick up time

6.00 pm: school closes

Children should arrive by 9:20 am in time for Circle and other activities.

Children arriving after 9:30 am may disturb activities and will miss important learning opportunities. We ask parents to avoid late arrival.

Children on half day schedule should be picked up by 12:30 pm after lunch.

Children staying the full day must be picked up before 6:00 pm. 

Read in our policies section more about the daily routines, parent involvement, health related and other important policies (www://iccf-bg.com/policies)

Lunch menu (www.iccf-bg.com/lunch-menu)

Visit our FAQ page for more information.

Snacks and lunch

Food at ICCC is provided by Chairite (Ekip Stoevi) catering company. We serve high quality products from local suppliers, when possible. Our menu is tasty and healthy with lots of seasonal fruits and veggies.

MORNING SNACK

For morning snack we offer a variety of seasonal fruits, including bananas, apples, pears, pineapple, pomelo, oranges, tangerines, kiwi, grapes, melon, watermelon, peach, nectarine, and more.

LUNCH AND AFTERNOON SNACKS

FOOD MENU at ICCC CREATED by Ekip Stoevi EOOD
MORNING SNACK we offer a variety of seasonal fruits

MONDAY July 15th

lunch:

Salad: iceberg, cucumber and dill

Butter bean cream soup

Mish-mash (scrambled eggs with red peppers, tomatoes, onion and feta cheese)

 afternoon snack:

Muffin with blueberries

TUESDAY July 16th

Lunch:

Salad: tomatoes and red peppers

Vegetable cream soup

White fish filets with couscous

afternoon snack:

French croissant

WEDNESDAY July 17th

lunch:

Salad: iceberg with cherry tomatoes

Beef meatballs soup with vegetables

Stuffed peppers with millet and vegetables 

afternoon snack:

Cheese sandwich with fresh vegetables

THURSDAY July 18th

lunch:

Salad: Shopska salad

Red lentil cream soup

Beef with mixed rise and peas

afternoon snack:

Homemade cheese biscuits

FRIDAY July 19th

lunch:

Salad iceberg, carrots and red peppers with lemon dressing

Cauliflower cream soup 

Chicken filets with baked carrots and potatoes 

 afternoon snack:

Crepes with honey/cheese

PARENTING BASICS – Power Struggles or Coorepation

Shifting from power struggles to increased cooperation

Children on playground

Few parents have a natural talent for parenting and always seem to know how to strike the right balance between boundaries and freedom for their toddler or preschooler. At our pre-school we often meet with parents who want to give their best in the relationship with their child. But instead, their toddler’s behavior at home leaves them exhausted and disheartened.

Here are a few tips about  traps parents should avoid. The advice is from our experience with many children and families at ICCC, and from practitioner Claire Lerner, a licensed clinical social worker and child development specialist.

 

We found really helpful and enlightening the advice practitioner Claire Lerner gives parents.

Each child comes with their unique temperament, there is no question about that. But children are one side in the relationship, the side that can’t take responsibility for their actions. Parents are the side that can take control, and if something doesn’t sound right the first thing to get examined, according to Claire Lerner, is parents’ expectations.

Do you have questions?
Call or visit us.

+359 879 403 677
office@iccf-bg.com

Address: 20, Akademik Hristo Hristov Str., Dragalevtsi, Sofia 1415

Monday – Friday:
08:00 AM – 06:00 PM

Application Form

    FemaleMale

    *DATE OF BIRTH:

    *PREFERRED STARTING DATE AT SCHOOL:

    *ATTENDANCE PLAN: 5 full days5 mornings (LLB and BBB only)


    MOTHER'S INFORMATION


    FATHER'S INFORMATION


    *What language(s) is /are spoken at home?

    *Does your child speak English?

    *Does father speak English?

    *Does mother speak English?

    Have you already visited ICCC?

    If yes, when did you visit? If not, are you able to visit and when?

    Has the child been in a nursery / pre-school before? YesNo

    If yes, please give details below:

    HEALTH: Please indicate any medical concern of which the centre should be aware of (allergies, illness, medication, etc.)

    How did you hear about ICCC?


    ICCC Membership is annual and is paid in full for the school year in attendance (September – June). Attendance in July and August is optional. When a child joins after the start of the school year the fee is calculated proportionally. There is no discount for longer absences for holidays or other reasons.

    ICCC is open 12 months a year between the hours of 8.00a.m. to 18.00p.m.. While all care and attention will be given to safeguard the children during these hours, the Center will not be responsible for any injury caused beyond the control of staff. No responsibility will be taken outside working hours.

    ICCC admits children based on space availability and age. Priority is given to siblings, English native speakers and expat families.

    Information

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