Site Visits

About the Site Visits 

We are excited to offer optional site visits as part of the conference offerings in 2024. These visits offer participants insights into types of services in Bulgaria, such as a kindergarten, a family center, an early childhoood development complex, and an integrated community center. Access to all site visits is included in the conference fee, but registration is required as spaces are limited. Registration information will follow soon.

Within Sofia, there are many services for young children you might be interested in visiting. Check out the variety of inspiring field trips listed below. Transportation to each site is provided for participants, please see the logistical information under each site visit.

Timetable

*please note that some visits run concurrently.

Privacy 
During visits, no photographs are to be taken of the children and families. For photos of the facility itself, please ask permission of the contact person on site    

 

Sites

Kindergarten 109 “Zornitsa”

  • Time: 08:30-11:00, 25 October

  • Distance from Conference Venue: 7,1km (30 min by organized transport). If you would like to join the organized transport, please wait at the pylons in front of the National Palace of Culture, Blvd. Vitosha 104, Sofia at 08:30

  • Max participants: 20  

Nestled in the heart of a dynamic urban community, “Mladost” (youth) neighborhood, Kindergarten 109 strives to ensure children enjoy a happy childhood and are prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. Supported by a team of professors from the University of Georgetown, in 1994 their dedicated team of educators pioneered the adoption of the Step by Step approach. For over three decades, they have embraced the Step by Step model, fostering a culture of family involvement and community engagement. Driven by their belief in the uniqueness of every child, they champion individualized approaches tailored to the needs of diverse families. Their commitment to continuous improvement drives them to constantly evolve and enhance their skills, ensuring alignment with both the Step by Step philosophy and national standards.

At the heart of their approach lies a suite of family-focused initiatives designed to strengthen bonds and empower parents. Their welcoming family room serves as a nurturing space for meaningful interactions, eschewing formalities in favor of genuine connections. Here, parents and educators come together to discuss children's needs, share insights, and participate in workshops and events aimed at deepening their understanding of early childhood development.

Within their vibrant playrooms, children are encouraged to explore, discover, and grow through a variety of thematic learning centers. From the family center to science, Bulgarian language to mathematics, their curriculum combines directed exercises with free play to ignite curiosity and foster a love of learning. Through hands-on experiences and guided exploration, they nurture each child’s unique talents and interests, laying the foundation for a lifetime of academic success and personal fulfillment.

 

 

For Our Children Early Childhood Development Complex in Sofia
by For Our Children Foundation

  • Time: 10:00-12:00, 25 October

  • Distance from Conference Venue: 9,1 km (30 min by organized transport). If you would like to join the organized transport, please wait at the pylons in front of the National Palace of Culture, Blvd. Vitosha 104, Sofia at 10:00

  • Max participants: 10  

The Early Childhood Development Complex in Sofia was established with the aim of providing essential support to young children and families in need. It consists of 5 centers that collaborate closely to offer specialized assistance tailored to the specific requirements of children and parents. 

These centers include the Community Support Center “St. Sofia,” which aids families at risk of separation, facing social disadvantages, or dealing with learning and behavioral challenges, among other issues. The Community Support Center “Happy Childhood” focuses on children with special needs due to various conditions, offering training for parents and supporting children in medical settings and residential services. 

The Family-type Accommodation Center “Children's House” provides a safe environment for children aged 0 to 7 who have been separated from their families due to neglect, abuse, or other forms of violence. The Foster Care Center assists children deprived of parental care, with a focus on those aged 0-7, by recruiting and supporting foster families. 

Additionally, the Daycare Center “Development” offers counseling for parents and programs to enhance parenting skills, particularly for children with disabilities.  

Overall, the complex emphasizes the importance of family and aims to ensure a happy childhood for all children through support, care, and love. 

  

 

Community Center "Svetogled"
by Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion (FSCI)

  • Time: 12:30 - 15:00, 25 October
  • Distance from Conference Venue: 6,2 km (30 min by organized transport)  If you would like to join the organized transport, please wait at the pylons in front of the National Palace of Culture, Blvd. Vitosha 104, Sofia at 12:30
  • Max participants: 10  

"Svetogled" (Worldview) community center in Faculteta (the neighborhood housing the largest Roma community in Sofia) opened its doors in 2015. The center offers free community-based educational, psychological, and social services to preschool aged children (3-5 years old), as well as their parents and families.  

The center services are the entry step in FSCI's Early Years Education Programme, which aims to reduce school drop-out rates and increase equitable access to education for Roma students. It provides preschool services while inspiring and motivating parental and family engagement for the long-term involvement of their children in the education system. 

The easily accessible premises and multi-ethnic team of the center provide a safe welcoming space and services tailored to respecting and meeting the cultural and individual needs of children and families from the most marginalized communities. Families from the neighborhood can bring their children daily to interact in small groups, building social and emotional skills needed for successful preschool inclusion and receive support to build their skills to promote educational success. 

 

 

Center MIR (Model for Integrated Development) Suhodolska
by Health and Social Development Foundation (HESED)

  • Time: 13:30 – 16:00, 25 October 

  • Distance from Conference Venue: 6,2 km (30 min by organized transport). If you would like to join the organized transport, please wait at the pylons in front of the National Palace of Culture, Blvd. Vitosha 104, Sofia at 13:30

  • Max participants: 30  

Center MIR (Model for Integrated Development) Suhodolska is a community-based integrated social service provider that covers a wide range of activities. Families from the neighborhood can bring their children to engage in play groups applying the Element of Play© program, consult with specialists from different fields, participate in parenting skills classes, cooking demonstrations, financial literacy workshops, etc. Fakulteta’s first children’s playground, built collaboratively between the Sofia municipality and ISSA Member Trust for Social Achievement, is expected to open it's doors in the summer of 2024.

Every day in the MIR center, about 50 children and their parents prepare for a successful start at school. They offer school support for school age children, as well as time for board games, health education, social skills and various youth activities, creative workshops, etc.  

The high school students receive mentoring support for continuing education at university, finding a suitable job and career development. In the large hall on the first floor, meetings and information events aimed at the whole community regularly take place. A medical center is also located on the first floor, where a pediatrician and gynecologist provide medical check-ups to the families in the neighborhood.  

During the visit, participants will have the opportunity to meet home-visiting nurses from the Nurse-Family Partnership program which has operated in the community for 8 years and has supported hundreds of young vulnerable first-time mothers.