January 2013
UCDC Developments

Welcome back from what I hope was a joyful, fun, and restful break!  I hope that your family time, celebrations, or travel time was all that you hoped it would be.  And I hope that the New Year brings many days of joy and happiness, filled with the promise of new experiences, creative opportunities, and time to watch your precious child grow, play, and learn. 


At the start of the New Year, many individuals choose to make resolutions and set goals for the coming year.  Here at UCDC, we are no different.  Having the long break often gives individuals time to reflect on their practices and allows them to come back refreshed and ready to do their best work. 


I wanted to take a moment to share two goals with you that I will be working on with the staff  in the coming  year.


The first goal will be to increase our level of cultural activities; understanding who families are culturally, engaging in increased culturally respectful practices, and creating a more diverse environment for all children that attend UCDC.  I would also like to increase family participation in regards to doing things that will help connect you to either your child's classroom or to the Center.  Sharing your talents, skills, resources, and knowledge, increases the collaborative nature of the partnerships that we have with families.


We are also going to explore new ways to increase communication with family members and provide more detailed information about your child's day and your child's experiences while they are here at UCDC. Sharing information in many forms is an important part of forming relationships with family members and we will do some research on ways that technology can play a part in our increased efforts. 


Again, we wish you a pleasant and safe new year and welcome any feedback.



Mary Beth

Learning by Doing
By Gayle Antonacci, Infant 3
"Although pulling weeds in the garden, washing the car, or collecting laundry may seem like a trivial task, give your child the chance to help when they show interest."

At UCDC our philosophy is based on fostering a child's learning through play.  When a child plays, they are not just having fun but learning about the world around them.  For example, in Infant 3 there are many toys scattered around the shelves requiring a child to manipulate. One of our toys requires a child to turn a handle a certain way or press a button to receive a desired result. When the child does this, a cow or a chicken will appear in a toy farm.  While some adults may observe this experience as simply "play time," the child is actually learning cause and effect, working on their fine motor skills, and learning about animals and their sounds. Not only can a child learn through play, but there are many different ways to learn at school, in the community, and especially at home. Nancy Jones, contributor to Teaching Young Children magazine, places emphasis on the importance of giving children jobs to do at home.


By providing a child with an important household chore to complete, they not only feel needed, but learn to solve problems and compromise, especially if that job requires teamwork.  Jones also states, in her experience, that children that have been given jobs and participate in groups gain more confidence and show an enthusiasm in completing new tasks.


Jobs in the classroom can be anything from helping to set the table, cleaning up before a transition, or mixing cake batter to prepare for snack time.  At home, these jobs can be gardening, caring for the family pet, or folding laundry. It is important to remember that while children enjoy helping, these jobs should never be assigned, then they are called chores. A job is something a child will volunteer for on the simple basis of wanting to be a part of the family or helping out their friends and teachers in school. 


As mentioned in the introduction, children really do learn a lot from play, especially when they are given props that mimic real life.  When children are not participating in jobs, or might be too young to participate in most jobs, they can achieve the same experience with a dramatic play box.  Providing a child with a toy telephone (or even a real, disconnected one) can allow the children to exhibit how they see people use a phone.  A baby doll is another example. By giving a child a baby doll, blanket, and bottle, they can develop socially and emotionally.


While children enjoy doing things on their own, it is important to remember that as adults, we should facilitate this learning without telling the child exactly what to do.  By conversing with the child during a job or play, the door can be open to more learning and extended interest.  If a child is showing interest in a particular activity, as an adult, it is important to keep asking questions in order to continue the developmental process. 


Although pulling weeds in the garden, washing the car, or collecting laundry may seem like a trivial task, give your child the chance to help when they show interest.  They will be learning in ways only a hands-on experience can give them. 



Jones. N.P. (2005, March). Big jobs: Planning for competence. Young Children, 60, 86-93

Song Lyrics by Infant 1
Three Little Fishies 
Words and Music by Saxie Dowell

Infant 1 has been listening to this song repetitively due to its popularity in their classroom. It's quite a catchy tune and we think you'll enjoy it. Check it out here!


Three Little Fishies


Down in the meadow in a little bitty pool,

Swam three little fishies and a mama fishie too.

"Swim" said the mama fishie, "Swim if you can."

And they swam and they swam all over the dam.

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

And they swam and they swam all over the dam.


"Stop" said the mama fishie, "or you will get lost."

The three little fishies didn't wanna be bossed.

The three little fishies went off on a spree,

And they swam and they swam right out to the sea.

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

And they swam and they swam right out to the sea.


"Whee!" yelled the little fishies, "Here's a lot of fun.

We'll swim in the sea till the day is done."

They swam and they swam, and it was a lark,

Till all of a sudden they saw a shark!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Till all of a sudden they saw a shark!


"Help!" cried the little fishies, "Gee! look at all the whales!"

And quick as they could, they turned on their tails.

And back to the pool in the meadow they swam,

And they swam and they swam back over the dam.

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

And they swam and they swam back over the dam.



Upcoming Events and Experiences

January 21 - UCDC closed for observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day


January 22 - Duksung University International Early Childhood Practicum begins.  Students will complete a two- week practicum in Preschool 1, 2 , 3, and 4.  More information will follow.


January 23 - Toddler and Preschool Story Time- visit from the Carnegie Library


February 12 - Dietary students from the  University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Science  will visit toddler and preschool classrooms to talk about healthy nutrition habits and prepare a healthy snack with children.


February 27 - Dental Hygienists from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Dental Medicine will visit Preschool Classrooms to present mini-lessons on healthy habits for good dental hygiene.


UCDC Philosophy Explained
By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator

Parent Question:

The teachers at UCDC are amazing. What qualifications/training do they have?



We completely agree that they are amazing! We employ some very talented and special teachers here at UCDC.

Each classroom has three classroom teachers: a Head Teacher, an Associate Teacher, and an Assistant Teacher. All teachers in the program need to maintain 24 hours of professional development, which keeps them up to date on new research, teaching techniques, and innovative trends. 


"We employ some very talented and special teachers here at UCDC."

The minimum requirements for each position are:


Head Teachers must have at least a Baccalaureate Degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development or in a related field that either includes or is supplemented by 30 credit hours in Child Development or Early Childhood Education. They must also have two years post Baccalaureate experience.


Associate Teachers need to have an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development along with two years of experience.


Assistant Teachers must have at least a High School Diploma or GED and either 600 hours of secondary training in Early Childhood Education, child care, child development, special education, or elementary education in addition to two years of experience.


At UCDC, these are the minimum requirements, and we are proud to say that most teachers far exceed these basic requirements in both education and experience. We are blessed with a very talented and highly educated group of teachers here at UCDC.

UCDC Reads by Infant 3
That's Not My Monster by Fionna Watt

That's Not My Monster is from the series of "That's not my ..." by Fionna Watt. This fun filled activity book is filled with touch and feel pages that will keep your child engaged.   Your child will enjoy looking at the bright colorful pages in search of the monster.  The book engages the reader with words such as ... "That's not my monster, its nose is too blobby" to "That's not my monster, its spikes are fuzzy."  Your child will love to read this book over and over again and it will help to strengthen their language development and their sensory skills. 


Happy reading!!!



Spotlight on Staff
Office Staff

Which is your most cherished childhood memory? 

  • "Vacations at the beach" - Marlene
  • "Waking up early on Christmas morning.  It was always so exciting.  We always had a special Christmas breakfast and listened to Christmas music while we opened our gifts." - Jennifer
  • "Once my dad took me to see a show at the planetarium, followed by chicken nuggets and French fries." - Samantha

If you didn't work at UCDC, where would you be? 

  • "Probably a Wal-Mart greeter!" - Marlene
  • "Running my own pizza shop/restaurant."- Jennifer
  • "Living in New York as a starving writer." - Samantha

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? 

  • "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be!" (Robert Browning) - Marlene
  • "When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did."  That quote was from the book "Life's Little Instruction Book," by H. Jackson Brown"- Jennifer
  • "'As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.' -Henry David Thoreau. I can't stand boredom; I constantly have to be occupied." - Samantha

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

  • "My 34-year marriage and raising four beautiful daughters!" - Marlene
  • "Being a good mother to my son."- Jennifer
  • "Moving to Pittsburgh and making it in the big city!" - Samantha

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

  • "My Mom's homemade cinnamon rolls. Our home smelled amazing while they were baking." - Marlene
  • "Homemade Lasagna" - Jennifer
  • "Fish sticks and macaroni and cheese" - Samantha

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

  • "Play the piano" - Marlene
  • "To learn how to sew"- Jennifer
  • "Play piano" - Samantha

What chore do you absolutely abhor?

  • "Cleaning the oven!" - Marlene
  • "Cleaning the bathroom!  Little boys do not know how to aim!"- Jennifer
  • "Definitely laundry" - Samantha

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? 

  • "Take a walk or bake" - Marlene
  • "Free time?  What's that?" - Jennifer
  • "Reading news articles online or looking up new recipes to try." - Samantha

What story does your family always tell about you? 

  • "My older sister and I sound alike on the phone. I used to pretend to be her when her boyfriend called...totally made everyone mad!" - Marlene
  • "The time I was about five or six years old and my best friend and I got into a huge mud battle.  I was sooo dirty that my mom refused to let me come into the house.  She used the hose in the back yard to spray me off and I cried because the water was freezing!"- Jennifer
  • "I was almost named after Dan Marino because I was born on the 13th, but my mom said no so I'm named for my grandpa." - Samantha

What is your favorite childhood toy?

  • "Etch-a-Sketch" - Marlene
  • "A homemade soft clown doll that I called 'Kidda'"- Jennifer
  •  "My Strawberry Shortcake dolls." - Samantha

We hope you enjoyed this edition of UCDC Developments. See you next month!
The Newsletter Committee