Innovative Childcare at the International Daycare Center

Since its opening in 2012, the International Daycare Center (IDC) has grown into a dynamic daycare facility focused on providing quality childcare in a multicultural environment. From its humble beginnings in a temporary container building to its current permanent daycare center, the IDC has developed into a successful daycare center committed to the children and parents it serves.

In 2012, Sonnenstrahl GmbH was approached by Infineon to create an international daycare center to meet the needs of its growing base of international employees. The IDC has grown significantly since its founding in 2012 and now cares for more than 130 children from around the world. Due to its success, further developments to the IDC are planned for the future.

Sophie Nelhiebel is the managing director of Sonnenstrahl GmbH and has been an integral part of the IDC’s growth. Originally from France, she began working with Sonnenstrahl in 2001, bringing her background in business administration to the daycare organization. With help from her leadership, Sonnenstrahl evolved into a non-profit organization in 2015 with its parents' association as the sole shareholder and proprietor of the GmbH. For Mrs. Nelheibel, parent participation is just one of the many things that make the IDC a success. From the beginning, the IDC has been, “focused on implementing a complex vision that is the first of its kind - a science-focused bilingual daycare center” explained Mrs. Nelheibel.

After eighteen years of working with Sonnenstrahl GmbH, Mrs. Nelhiebel still feels inspired by her work with the IDC. For her its the diversity and positive energy that makes the IDC unique. In a diverse childcare center where two languages are spoken and staff and children come from all over the world, it creates “creative energy and openness” to innovating childcare. IDC teachers have more time for preparation than other childcare centers and are encouraged to reflect and share feedback with one another. Mrs. Nelhiebel explains that there “are very few kindergartens where you can feel this spirit. The international team and diverse children set the structure apart from other childcare centers in Carinthia.” For Sophie Nelhiebel, this is something she is incredibly proud of. “In the beginning, I was more hands-on, but now I can visit the IDC and see the success of the daycare’s original vision.”

As the IDC continues to grow, one thing is certain - it will continue its commitment to its original vision and values. “We have grown so much as a team, but we always stay focused on the children” explained Mrs. Nelhiebel. “It’s this commitment that makes the IDC unique - the pedagogy of child and teacher interaction is our emphasis.” From the beginning, the IDC’s original concept has lead to a spirit of innovation. After several years of success, the IDC’s children, parents, partners, and staff can all agree that they have created a daycare center that Villach and the province of Carinthia can be proud of.

For more information about the International Daycare Center Villach, visit www.idc-villach.at.

Interview: Chelsea Navarro

Photo: Sophie Nelhiebel