Just a Reminder...
UCDC Will be closed on Wednesday, July 4th.
Enjoy the holiday!!!
Most consider this time of the year the "lazy days of summer." However, here at UCDC quite the opposite is true. While many families are taking vacations; our work in the building intensifies, as it is our busiest time for enrollment and for completing end of the year tasks while preparing for the upcoming influx of new families and children who will enroll into our program. Transitions from classrooms and into the Center are happening daily, and teachers are working hard to help children and families get acclimated to new classrooms, teachers, and classmates. If you are parent of a child who is making or is about to make a transition to a new classroom, please be patient with the process. Learning about a new classroom takes time and children are almost always successful and able to understand the new routines and expectations. But it is typically a big difference for children when they enter a new classroom and they are trying to understand the process. Teachers will read your child's cues and help them to adjust and feel comfortable. They will also answer questions and give you feedback so that you feel comfortable about the process. But patience is the most important thing during these transition times. It's a lot of work for small children to manage such a milestone in their young lives.
Many of our older children will be leaving us to move on and up to Kindergarten. We wish them all the best as they explore new opportunities, make new friends and learn new things. Many of our older children have been with us since they were in an infant classroom and we feel honored to have witnessed their growth and success over the past few years. Parents- if you haven't let us know your child's last day at the Center- please make sure you do that as soon as you can. It really helps us to strategize our movement in the building and address our lengthy waiting list!
We also have lots of other things happening in the building this month. Three of our most valuable team members are moving on. Virginia Flournoy retired in mid-June. She will be enjoying some well deserved time with her family and friends and surely missing her babies and co-workers. Diane Sullivan has also retired after a long and prosperous career at UCDC. She is looking forward to new experiences and spending time with her grandson, Ryan and her family. Mattie Kendrick, the Center's Community Consultant and Accreditation Specialist will also be leaving and will be exploring new avenues in the field of Early Childhood and training. We wish these three lovely ladies all the best and thank them for their many years of dedication to the Center and children and families. They will each leave something special behind and will surely find new and prosperous endeavors as they move into this next phase of their life.
We have also welcomed new staff members into the UCDC family. Amy Sander has joined the Toddler 2 team and Kate Schechter is our newest substitute and will be working the 1:00-6:00 afternoon shift. We are actively recruiting to hire new staff for Infant 2 and Toddler 1. All of our new staff will complete quite an intense UCDC new staff orientation to become as familiar with our programming as possible, before joining classrooms and actively participating. Staff will also be taking well deserved vacations during the summer months. Our scheduling calendar is jam packed with requests for time off. Staff will hopefully get some rest and get rejuvenated while having fun during their time off!
Summer months also bring more opportunities for outdoor play. Our ever popular water days and outdoor classrooms are in full swing and children and staff have been taking advantage of opportunities to extend learning and play on the playground. Classrooms that plan for the outdoor classrooms days (they take turns), have the challenge of moving indoor materials outside and planning activities that all children in the Center can take advantage of. Their classroom spends the whole morning on the playground welcoming new groups during their scheduled playground times. Water days are the most anticipated time of the year and children have such a wonderful time exploring water and sensory activities. It's a fun day for all, and adds just enough, but not too much excitement to their day! It is quite a task for staff to prepare all children for the experience, but they to look forward to watching the children laughing and giggling and just having summer fun! Our playhouse/storage shed recently got a fresh coat of paint and the children have been gardening outside as well.
New fundraising activities will begin with the sale of kid-friendly KIDSTUFF COUPON BOOKS. In August, each family will receive a book that they can purchase or return if they are not interested. Families can also order additional books for family and friends. The book includes coupons for local kid friendly attractions, restaurants, and coupons for discounts on purchases at local stores. Books cost 25.00 and the Center makes 12.50 for each book that is sold. It's an excellent profit and proceeds will support the aesthetic and environmental changes that we would like to make in the infant and toddler gym. Please plan to purchase your book to support this great fundraiser.
An early reminder that the Center will be closed on Friday August 10th for our second Professional Development Day (November and March being the other two days). These scheduled in-service/professional development days allow the Center to come together as a group to work on training and classroom needs, while building community and collegiality.
Just as our work on child assessments comes to end, we will begin to work on our NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) re-accreditation criteria. Staff will update their classroom portfolios, while administration will work on the program portfolio. Staff will create documentation and complete environmental and curricular observations. After making sure that all criteria is met, we will submit our first set of documentation to the Academy in anticipation of being selected as a candidate for re-accreditation.
Jamie and have been working with the web team to completely update our existing UCDC website. The website will undergo extensive changes and will be much more user-friendly and up-to-date. We are working with the team to make as many forms that parents use available on the site. There will also be links for interesting sites that parents will find useful, as well as an opportunity for us to include things that are happening in the Center. As soon as our work is complete, we will share the website address with everyone so that they can take a look at what we've created.
End of the year fiscal needs are being addressed and new contracts and other required paperwork will be distributed as soon as final decisions are made regarding the University funding and state appropriations. Increases in food costs as well as the University fringe benefit rate will help to determine any increase in tuition.
So, needless to say, down time is not what we experience during the summer months here at UCDC! We are as busy as ever, with providing lots of new and fun activities for children being our top priority. Building relationships with families and children is happening every day and we look forward to the time that we will share with you and your child in the coming year.
Will You Use a Pacifier with Your Baby?
By Infant 2
If you're a parent who has given a great deal of thought as to whether or not to give your child a pacifier, or when to wean your child from his or her pacifier, you are not alone. Many parents have questions about pacifiers and their effects.
Most research on this topic begins by stating that if a mother is planning to breastfeed her baby, she should avoid giving him/her a pacifier for two or three weeks at the minimum. One article pointed out that "a baby sucks on a pacifier differently than on mother's nipples. Some newborns develop nipple confusion when given a pacifier or bottle nipple when they are learning to suck from mother... This often results in poor latch-on techniques, sore nipples, and a difficult start at breastfeeding" (Dr. Sears, 1-2). This article basically advises that parents wait to introduce the pacifier until the newborn is latching on properly and the mother's milk supply has been built up. In the interim, if needed, it is suggested that a well-washed finger be placed in the infant's mouth to simulate sucking at the breast. Catherine Tobin, MD, explains in another article that perhaps the term "nipple confusion" might be incorrect - she suspects that "there is no confusion - some babies simply prefer a rubber nipple. [But], in order to avoid problems, a pacifier or bottle should not be introduced until the baby is well established at the breast" (Tobin, 1). So, if we've established that breastfeeding babies should wait until they have had some experience breastfeeding before using a pacifier, how then do parents decide which pacifier to choose and how to use it (provided they have decided to give a pacifier at all)?
After sifting through the research, it seems that most medical professionals can agree on a list of item
s that should be making an appearance on a parent's pacifier checklist. They are the following:
- Choose a pacifier that is constructed as one piece. Multiple pieces can break apart, posing a choking hazard.
- Avoid clipping or tying the pacifier to your child - again, this is a choking/strangulation hazard.
- Do not dip the pacifier in anything sweet to try to encourage your child to take it; this will certainly increase your child's risk of tooth decay. Honey and corn syrup are particularly dangerous for infants under 12 months because they may contain the bacteria clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism, a life-threatening illness.
- Look for pacifiers marked orthodontically correct. This kind may not cause as many dental problems.
- Do not "clean" a pacifier by sticking it in your mouth. Your saliva spreads germs! Rinse it under running water.
Now, everyone wants to know... pacifiers and dental problems, what is true, what is not? The American Dental Association's stance on pacifier use and thumb/finger sucking is that if the habit is prolonged, "problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of teeth" may occur (JADA , 1176). The ADA goes on to point out that "most children stop sucking their thumbs or [pacifiers] on their own between the ages of 2 and 4 years... If a child does not stop on his or her own, parents should discourage the habit after age 4 years. However, excessive pressure to stop can do more harm than good" (JADA 1176). Most of the research agrees that continued finger sucking or use of a pacifier after age age increases a child's chances of developing a crossbite and/or overbite. It is also mentioned that sucking a finger or pacifier past age four increases these chances even further. (Tam, 1) So basically the consensus is that pacifier use in the few years of a child's life is fine, but that constant, prolonged use, especially once permanent teeth come in, can lead to dental problems.
Lastly, we should discuss the sometimes harrowing process of weaning a child from his or her pacifier. According to an article reviewed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, "children will usually give up the pacifier on their own between the ages of two and four". For more difficult cases, the AAP advises parents to use positive reinforcement and encouragement to help their child kick the habit. "Star charts and daily rewards are also helpful." They recommend keeping your child as busy as possible and encouraging him/her to use appropriate self-soothing techniques in times of sadness or frustration.
As a parent, you are faced with many decisions regarding your child's care. Whether or not to use a pacifier and how you will use it is just another one of these many decisions. It isn't the first and it won't be the last. Hopefully this article has enlightened you a little on this much-debated topic, and will help to make this decision an easier one.
Additional notes from UCDC on the use of pacifiers:
UCDC has recently revised their policy on pacifier use based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. These changes include using pacifiers only when the child is in the crib, or in preparation for a period of sleep in their crib. If the pacifier falls out of the child's mouth while they are sleeping, the pacifier should be removed from the crib/cot as opposed to being re-inserted into the child's mouth. Pacifiers may also be used when the child is fussy or tired and being held by an adult who is providing comfort. Children are not allowed to crawl or walk around with a pacifier in their mouth and we may not tie or clip it onto their clothing. Finally, we now require written permission for pacifier use from the child's parent/guardian.
In Memory of Olivia Wade
Olivia Helen Wade, 8 years old, of Springdale, died unexpectedly on a family vacation in Florida in March of this year. During her short time on this earth, Olivia cherished time with her friends and family. She enjoyed playing guitar, soccer, and swimming. Her biggest passion was animals, especially DOGS! Olivia entered UCDC as a preschooler and graduated from our Kindergarten program. According to her teachers at UCDC, she was a very friendly, enthusiastic, kind, free-spirited, joyous, caring, and animal-loving little girl. She will be missed by many.
The Springdale community has established the Olivia Wade Memorial Fund which will contribute to children's projects in Springdale. There are several activities scheduled for the summer and in late August, and the community's soccer field is going to be named after her.
Please consider contributing to the fundraisers and attending the various events throughout this summer and beyond. The website created in her honor has all of the information on the various events and fundraisers. Please take a minute to check out the site at http://www.oliviaforever.com/
Look & See: What Am I?
This large board book is very popular in Infant 2 right now (hence, its chew marks & ripped binding). Each page contains a rhyme describing a different animal and a vibrant, colorful illustration of the animal. Throughout the book, the animals' eyes are cut-out and outlined in yellow. The kids love to put theirfingers through the hole and say "EYES!" which of course lead to a discussion about noses, ears and mouths (or beaks!) as well. It is a fun read and any member of Infant 2 would recommend it!
UCDC Philosophy Explained: Answers to Common Parent Questions
By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator
Parent Question: Why does it take so long for the children to transition from one age group to the next? Why don't you move all of the children at once like other Centers do?
At UCDC, a child's transition is dependent on a variety of factors. This includes the chronological age of the child, the developmental readiness of the child being considered, and if there is an opening in a classroom in the next age level. When all of these factors are met, we feel that the child will be able to make the transition smoothly. Some other Centers move children based solely on chronological age and we know that every child develops at their own rate and therefore just because they are of a certain age, may not mean that they are ready to move on.
Another reason that transitions don't occur all at once (such as at the beginning of the academic school year), is because that would be a lot of children and families for the teachers to get to know at once. This could be overwhelming for the both the teachers and the children.
With all of that being considered, once it is determined that a transition will occur for a child, we allow the transition to happen as gradually or as rapidly as necessary for that individual child. The new teacher will visit the child in his or her old classroom before the transition so that the child becomes familiar with the new teacher in a secure and familiar environment, enabling the new teacher to observe the child in a comfortable situation. Then the child will visit the new room frequently so he or she can become acclimated to the new environment.
This transition process can take as little as a week for some children, but has stretched out beyond a month for other children. Our goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible and that means it is custom for each individual child.
Song Lyrics by Infant 4
Infant 4 has a tried and true favorite for the song highlight this month. The little ones in this classroom love to listen to this song over and over, as most babies do. To change it up a bit, we've added some alternative lyrics to give your little ones a laugh.
Itsy Bitsy Spider
The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain,
And the itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.
The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the old oak tree.
Down came the snow and made poor Itsy freeze.
Out came the sun and melted all the snow.
So the itsy-bitsy spider had another go.
The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the old pine tree.
He slipped in some dew and landed next to me.
Out came the sun and when the dew was dry,
The itsy-bitsy spider had another try.
The itsy-bitsy spider climbed into the bath.
Along came a rubber duck and made the spider laugh.
Then came the water and washed him down the drain.
So the itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.
The itsy-bitsy spider went to the Pittsburgh Zoo.
Along came an elephant and said "How do you do?"
He met all the spiders, the snakes and lizards too,
Then the itsy-bitsy spider brought them to meet YOU.
The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up to the top.
He made a silky web and spun without a stop.
Then came a fly and landed on its back
So the itsy-bitsy spider ate it as a snack.
Spotlight on Staff
The Teachers of Toddler 2
What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending their child to UCDC?
- "Apply ASAP, we have a waiting list. Our families are very glad to have their children in our care. Some families that have left even try to come back." - Maureen
- "UCDC is a wonderful place for children. The children are able to safely explore environment that changes with their needs, they are exposed to a rich vocabulary that complements the environment and they develop social and interpersonal skills by interacting with other children daily." - Wendy
- "Although I haven't been at UCDC for very long, I can already tell that the children who attend here are really flourishing. I've noticed children able to play creatively and independently for long periods of time. They are happy, inquisitive and seem to be growing in a very positive direction." - Amy
What was the last movie you went to see at the movie theater?
- "It was so long ago but I think it was 'Something to Think About' in the mid 90's." - Maureen
- "John Carter" - Wendy
- "Men in Black 3" - Amy
How would a good friend describe you?
- "As a good friend that is there when you need them and always ready for a good time." - Maureen
- "My friends have described me as a person who is patient, kind, giving, loves to share experiences, loyal, good listener, loves to teach, and cares about the success of others." - Wendy
- "A good friend would only say something favorable (I hope). I try to be open minded, honest, patient, and humorous - key word being TRY. I am a recovering shy kid and once you get to know me, you may be surprised at what you will find." - Amy
How would you describe yourself in three adjectives?
- "Fun, flexible, and fair" - Maureen
- "Active, creative, and independent" - Wendy
- "Shy, kind, and silly" - Amy
Where did you work when you were in college?
- "At the Carlow College Childcare Center which was the origin of this Center." - Maureen
- "I worked tech in a dinner theatre, an urban summer camp for teens with developmental disabilities and showed movies on campus for classes and Saturday night films." - Wendy
- "I worked for Sharon Steel and The Danforth Company" - Amy
What did you watch on TV last night?
- "CSI in any form- NY, LA, NCIS" - Maureen
- "Nothing, we don't have a TV set up." - Wendy
- "Since the kids weren't here, it wasn't iCarly, Spongebob or Adventuretime. I am a Law and Order fan, but I don't watch too much TV... so, nothing last night!" - Amy
What is your favorite tradition from your childhood?
- "Gathering with family for birthdays and happy celebrations like graduations." - Maureen
- "Going to the 3 Rivers Arts Festival; it always falls around my birthday." - Wendy
- "Going up to my grandma's summer cottage, Valhalla, for the 4th of July bicycle parade and my dad's famous fireworks shenanigans." - Amy
What's your favorite place to eat?
- "Red Lobster" - Maureen
- "On Martha's Vineyard, it would be at Larsens, and I enjoy eating on the beach in Memnesha. I also enjoy eating at my stepmother's house and eating bluefish taco at the Ag Fair." - Wendy
- "My mom's house" - Amy
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or deceased, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
- "I would like to live in Jerlean Daniel's shoes for a week. She was the director when I got hired in '87 and is currently the Executive Director of NAEYC." - Maureen
- "This was hard to narrow down. But at the moment, it would be someone close to the individual who created the 15th century knitted, fulled and embroidered silk tunic I am researching, so I could see firsthand how it was created." - Wendy
- "Jerry Garcia" - Amy
What is your favorite time of the day?
- "When the children enter my classroom to get hugs." - Maureen
- "Any time when I am doing something I love, which could be knitting, spinning, fencing, running or a myriad of other activities." - Wendy
- Coming home to my kidlets! (and naptime...MY naptime!!!)
Get Well Room for Mildly Ill Children
The Children's Center of Pittsburgh
327 Craft Avenue, Oakland
The Children's Center of Pittsburgh (TCCP) has reopened its Get Well Room for mildly ill children.
The Center is used for days when kids can't be at school and may need more rest, a change of diet, or a little more attention. The idea of the Get Well Room is to provide for their needs while attending to their well-being and their comfort.
The facility is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs and is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Children are screened to determine that their ailments are not so severe as to require attention from a physician. Typically, children in the Get Well Room have upset stomachs or bad colds or are feeling tender after a vaccination.
The Get Well Room is set up just like a regular classroom; there are puzzles and games and art materials and also places for the children to lie down. It can accommodate up to nine children, from 6 months to 12 years. It is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The procedure for bringing a child to the facility is outlined in an information sheet available from TCCP upon request. Children need not be enrolled at TCCP. However, in order to use the Get Well Room, children must be preregistered and have a physician health appraisal form on file at the facility.
The charge is $50 a day for children 3 and older, $70 for children under 3. Due to the affiliation with Magee, UPMC employees get a 50 percent discount.
For more information, please call 412-641-1990.