August 2011 
Toddler Legs and Feet Long 7.11

Dear Families,



Welcome to the new online UCDC Developments Newsletter.  Thank you for your patience as we worked though some system issues in order to allow you to view our newsletter online.  We hope that you'll agree that eliminating the paper version of our newsletter will help to contribute to saving trees and thus help to preserve the environment for our children!  We will continue to explore additional ways to include other things online to help streamline our approach to communication while addressing environmental issues.


As we begin to wind down from vacations and summer activities, we will continue transitions of children and enrollment of new children.  These changes will typically alter the culture of the classroom and the activity level.  Teachers will adjust their classroom schedules, expectations, and activities to accommodate all of the children in the group.  If your child will be experiencing a transition in the coming month or two, please don't hesitate discussing the changes with your child's teachers.  They have a wealth of information regarding transitions within the building or to a new school. We are committed to supporting families and are here to help with resources, be a supportive ear, or give experiential advice.   


We hope that you are all pleased with the environmental changes on the playground.  The wooden deck around the gazebo and the playhouse was installed to create a safer terrain for the children.  Due to parent and staff generosity during the staff appreciation dinner auction and in support of the plant sale fundraiser, we were able to purchase the small picnic tables and a few other pieces of equipment for the playground.  We will continue to explore other options for the infant area and other areas to help children enjoy their time outside.  We are all very committed to making sure children have plenty of opportunities to be outside learning and growing (weather permitting, of course).   


Here's wishing all of our families who will be making a transition out of the building the best, we will miss you and your children!!  Welcome to all new families who will begin their stay with us at UCDC.  We hope you enjoy the opportunities and experiences that we are able to provide and we hope that you enjoy the monthly UCDC newsletter.




Mary Beth 



To Wear or Not to Wear...
By Jennifer Rodella - Preschool 1

You can spot them from a mile away.  They might be wearing rain boots, a bright orange shirt, and some dazzling pink pants with a princess tiara on their head. You see them and think, "Who dressed that child?!?"


It's a fight in almost every household at some point and sometimes on a daily basis.  The fight over what your child is going to wear.   You're in a hurry to go to a meeting and your child has all the time in the world to sit and argue about what she is planning on wearing.  Is this really a fight worth fighting?  Preschoolers learn at an early age that their choices in life are limited and they like to take control of the choices they do have.  So yes, some of them may choose the outfit that they have worn everyday for the last week that looks like a scrap of cloth while others may choose the most mismatched outfits and overdone hairstyles, but this is part of your child's self expression.  This is their creativity shining and this will help your child to develop a sense of positive self esteem.   


As a parent or a caregiver, you have to learn how and when to pick your battles, as well as what battles to pick.  Before you start going down that windy road with your preschooler, ask yourself "Is this worth the fight?"  If your answer is "Yes," then you have ways in which you can implement this decision.  You can make this part of their bedtime routine.  Have them choose between two outfits that you select.  That way both of you are getting the choice.  Giving children more than two choices can confuse or frustrate them, so limit all choices to only two.  Also, make sure that you stick with their choice in the morning because this will set them up for the standards you have set forth.  Secondly, you should remove all the clothes that are weather inappropriate.  Having these around will set up for a fight that is easily avoided.  You can have labeled drawers so your child knows what drawer they can enter to choose from (i.e. church drawer, school drawer, party drawer, etc.).


If your answer is "No, I do not want to fight this battle," then allow your child to make their own clothing decisions with guidelines that you set up.  When children get the chance to show off their own personal style, it gives them a sense of self accomplishment and pride in what they are wearing.  They may learn to take better care of their outfit that day.  They may choose to wear a smock during a painting activity or to eat with their fork and not with their hands.   As parents, you may feel differently.  You want your child to feel free and gain self worth, but waiting for a bus in the middle of Oakland with your child dressed in a Steelers jersey and a Tutu with plaid socks and tennis shoes can be embarrassing.  There are multiple ways of getting around this.  You can bring extra clothes and have your child change into clothes that you approve of for the bus ride.  You could explain to the child that they can wear your chosen outfit on the bus and change when you get to your final destination.  Another way of getting around this is having your child make "I dressed myself" stickers and wear them.   


Remember, all children like to have choices.  Giving them two choices, even if it is two that you have chosen, will give children some control and will give them another way to express themselves. Also, setting clear limits and boundaries will make children's transitions in the morning easier on everybody.  Sticking with this routine will allow children to know what is expected of them without confusion. Good luck!  I can't wait to see your child's creativity through their clothing!


Bibliography:  Family-Friendly Communication for Early Childhood Programs by Deborah Diffily and Kathy Morrison Copyright @ 1996 by National Association for the Education of Young Children



Behind the Scenes with Sara Kalinski - Infant 4Sara Kalinski 7.11

Sara can be found with a smile on her face and a baby in her arms. She is a teacher in the Infant 4 classroom.


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania.


How long have you worked at UCDC?

I am new to the UCDC Family. I started in July 2010. I have been here a little over a year.


What was your funniest UCDC moment?

I don't have a particular funny moment  at UCDC. My infants are always doing something funny that makes me laugh and brings a smile to my face.


What is your hobby/special interest?

I enjoy baking and cooking in my spare time. I especially love creating new cupcake recipes and finding fun new ways to decorate them.


What is one thing people may not know about you?

One thing that people may not know about me is that I love to clean and organize.


What is your favorite lunch at UCDC?

My favorite lunch is turkey burger with mozzarella cheese on a wheat roll and the orzo with spinach and tomatoes.


What do you do for fun?

I love spending time with my family and friends and also enjoy dancing, shopping, baking and cooking on the weekends.


If you could have one wish, what would it be?

If I could have one wish I wish I could own my very own Cupcake Cafe. I think that would be a fun way to make a living.


Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

I see myself in 5-10 years finishing grad school with a Masters in Child Development and raising my own children here in Pittsburgh!


What is the best part about working at UCDC?

The best part about working here at UCDC is building the special bonds/relationships with the children, staff and parents.





UCDC Philosophy Explained:

Answers to Common Parent Questions

 By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator


Caring Toddlers 7.11

At UCDC, why don't you make the children say, "I'm sorry?"


When a child hurts another child, whether it be hurting their body or hurting their feelings, we believe that there needs to be an action done that helps to alleviate the feelings of hurt in the other child. So, if a child hits another child, you may see the teacher approach the pair, loop her arms around both children, and talk to them in a normal tone of voice as to what happened. She will typically ask the victim to speak first and have that child tell the other child their feelings (i.e. "No" for the young toddler" "I didn't like that" for a young preschooler or an even longer discussion for an older child). She may then ask the offender to find a way to make the victim feel better. This may mean getting them an ice pack from the freezer, rubbing the hurt body part, or getting them a soft toy to hold. When the victim is cared for, the teacher will talk with the pair about another way to solve the real problem (if it was getting hit because of a toy, lack of personal space, etc.). The teacher will help the two children talk through the problem at their level of understanding in order to give them the skills to be able to better deal with this situation when it comes up again.


As you can see, this scenario teaches many things. First, it teaches the offender that they need to find a way to make the situation better. It also teaches the pair how to deal with a similar situation when it comes up again. Finally, both children gain a sense of empathy as they learn that they each have feelings similar to their own.


Making a child say, "I'm sorry" doesn't teach these important social skills that are so important for a young child in group care. It also becomes a magical way of "undoing" the undesirable behavior without fixing it. You may see a child that is accustomed to saying "I'm sorry" walk over to a child and hit them as they are saying sorry. Obviously these words carry no meaning for that child. Teaching a child to just say "I'm sorry" doesn't teach the appropriate behavior that we are looking for. As in the above example, it is evident that the child is learning what to do in a situation as opposed to brushing off the conflict and putting a Band-Aid on it with words.


Sometimes people are uncomfortable with this approach and would prefer their child to use these words. We believe that accompanying these words with the abovementioned actions helps a child to use the situation as a lesson and teaches lifelong social skills.



Issue 5 
In This Issue
To Wear or Not to Wear...
Behind the Scenes with Sara Kalinski
UCDC Philosophy Explained - Saying "I'm Sorry"

Dates to remember... 

Professional Development Days-Center closed:


Friday, August 12 

Wednesday, November 23


Welcome Alisha!!!


If you haven't had a chance to meet Alisha, our new office assistant, please take a moment to formally introduce yourself.  Alisha is getting to know families and children and doing an outstanding job in her new role.




The University Child Development Center


635 Clyde Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 383-2100

Newsletter Committee

Mary Beth McCulloch - Executive Editor
Jamie Wincovitch - Editor and Production Manager
Corrie Anderson - Photographer
Wendy Colbert - Editorial Staff
Jennifer Sneddon - Editorial Staff