UCDC Developments
February 2013
In This Issue
Artistic Endeavors at Home!
Book Review - Bee-bim Bop!
Philosophy Explained - UCDC Artwork
Song Lyrics - Tommy Thumb
Spotlight on Staff - Infant 3

T-Shirt Sale

UCDC will be selling t-shirts again this year since last year's sale was such a success. This year, the t-shirts will be navy blue and will have a new design. Look for the display in the front entry this month.


Save the Date

 UCDC's Annual Staff Appreciation Dinner will be held on Friday, May 31st at the Holiday Inn. More details to follow in the coming months!



This past weekend, we concluded our two-week practicum partnership with the Duksung Women's University in Korea.  Hopefully you had the chance to meet one or all of our four students who spent those two weeks with us at UCDC.   This opportunity was a delightful and educational experience for everyone involved and it took many supportive individuals to make it happen!

Teaching the children about Hanbok (traditional Korean dress)


In the preschool classrooms at UCDC, the students from Duksung created very interesting and culturally based activities for the children.  In Preschool 1, 3, and 4, Soon Chun, Eunjeong, and Da-Hee dressed in traditional clothing called hanbok and organized activities relating to the ceremonial dress that they wore.  The children in the classrooms also learned Korean words, sang Korean songs and played Korean games.  In the process of this experience, the students from Duksung learned a lot about our curriculum and philosophy of how children learn.  They all commented on how respectful and creative the teachers were in each classroom.   They also developed very close relationships with the teachers and the children in a very short time and were able to contribute in significant ways during their practicum hours.  


Farewell Dinner at the University Club

The students were also offered many other diverse experiences in addition to their time spent at UCDC. They visited the partner schools; Falk, Carlow Campus Children's School, and the Children's School at CMU.  They were impressed with the level of commitment that all of the schools showed in regards to early childhood education.  In addition to these visits, they also visited The Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent's College and enjoyed a tour of the Carriage House Children's Center.  They also visited the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, where they learned about advocacy and funding for early education in our immediate region as well as in the United States.  One evening, they also had an opportunity to spend time with students from Carlow University's Education Program.


As a larger group of all 16 practicum students, they visited the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Children's Museum, they rode the Monongahela Incline, enjoyed a fun evening of karaoke at the Green Pepper Restaurant, and shopped at Tanger Outlets.  UCDC staff volunteered to go along on many of these trips and this not only became another learning experience for everyone, but was a chance to relax, have fun, and get to know each other a little better.


Our two host families also provided many enjoyable activities and a supportive environment for the girls while they were here.  They experienced many different activities including attending the Fiddlesticks Concert at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Les Miserables at the Benedum Theater.  They learned much about family life in Pittsburgh and enjoyed spending time with the children in each family.


The students expressed their gratitude for everything that everyone did for them while they were at UCDC and were very sad to leave their host families, their cooperating teachers, and UCDC overall.  They said they will miss the children in the classrooms the most and the cold snowy weather of Pittsburgh the least! 


Now that we have our first collaboration successfully completed, we are looking forward to the opportunity to host again next year and will be more experienced and ready to get even more people and classrooms involved.   



Mary Beth

Spending the day at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History


"Creative arts serve as a way to 'transform our emotions into something we can share with others.'"
Artistic Endeavors...at Home!
By Corrie Anderson, Preschool 3

At UCDC we offer creative experiences for children using a wide array of materials and mediums. As many of you have seen, in offering such diverse activities, we end up with some magnificent masterpieces as well as intimidating messes. Luckily, we have an open environment for spills, splatters, and times when we say "oops!" Many parents have expressed that they are grateful for such creative opportunities because some activities we provide would be very difficult and messy to conduct in the home setting, and they are absolutely right!


Resa Matlock and John Hornstein (2004) explain that creative arts serve as a way to "transform our emotions into something we can share with others." Likewise Matlock and Hornstein stress that along with expressing the self, in creating art we can reveal and contest our thoughts. Creative expression is important for children but in some cases creative experiences in the home can be difficult in terms of resources and logistics. Therefore, a few suggestions for "home friendly" creative opportunities will be provided to encourage such growth away from school.


One important tip I learned at UCDC is to use trays for the children to create on, allowing most of the mess to be contained in the tray. If you want to give your child the opportunity to paint inside, adding a small amount of dish detergent to the paint will help make clean up easier. Watercolors are also an option for at home painting. As far as markers and crayons go, trays are also useful as well as the use of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser-these can make clean ups super easy! If your child is able to use child friendly scissors, offer him or her a cup or container to put the clippings into. The children enjoy collecting the clippings and this eliminates picking up tiny pieces of paper off of the floor. Chalk is a great inside or outside activity and easy to clean up. Also, giving the children the opportunity to dip paintbrushes into water on walls or concrete while outside allows them to "paint" pretty much anywhere. For the budding photographers, offering them a onetime use camera will give them an opportunity to experience photography and allow us to see the world through their eyes (but also not worry about a broken camera).


It is important to remember that creativity does not only apply to art. Some children may be more inclined to express creativity through music or drama. Both of these types of creativity offer a wide array of activities. Some children are naturally inclined to use materials around them as musical instruments so creativity in this area can, but does not need to, include actual instruments. If you hand your child a spoon and tell him or her it is a microphone you will likely be serenaded. Offering puppets, dress up clothes, or encouraging pretend play all encourage dramatic play. Ask your child to make up a story or sing a song.


Matlock and Hornstein explain that adults are important in the creative process; however, they state that "children often lead in the discovery." Therefore, simply serve as a support and let the children guide the process to help further ingenuity. When in doubt, spend time with your child, give them a few materials and let him or her drive the creativity!


Matlock, R., & Hornstein, J. (2004). Sometimes a smudge is just a smudge, and sometimes it's a ...saber-toothed tiger: Learning and arts through the ages. Young Children on the web, 1-6. http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200407/LearningArtsThroughTheAges.pdf

UCDC Reads
Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Back Lee
Preschool 3


Preschool 3 has been exploring some books about Korean culture, language and foods in response to our experience with our practicum student from Korea who was with us at the end of January.  The children enjoy this book which tells the story of a child helping her mother to make the traditional Korean dish bee-bim bop, which translates as "mix-mix-rice".  Using a bouncy, rhyming text, the book draws the children in as they join in to exclaim on cue the repeating phrase: "bee-bim bop!"  The book includes the author's own recipe for this Korean dish which includes rice, eggs, vegetables and meat.  The children relate to the girl in the story who loves to help Mama cook, mixing ingredients in a bowl and sharing delicious food with their family.

UCDC Philosophy Explained
By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator

Parent Question: All I see hanging in the hallways is paper with random paint strokes or markers on it. When will my child start making artwork that is recognizable?


Answer: At UCDC, creativity is highly valued and the teachers work hard to ensure that the children are able to develop their creativity in a unique way. UCDC's philosophy supports this practice in the high value placed on the process of art as opposed to the product of art. In other words, we focus on allowing the child to explore the art materials at their own pace and in their own way as opposed to telling them what to create.


For example, in a preschool room, a teacher might create an art invitation for the children at the table. She may put out tape, paint, and scissors. One child might approach this activity by "framing" their paper in tape and then painting on the inside of the tape. Another child may place the tape all over the paper and then paint over top of the tape and paper only to lift the tape up later to see the marks that it left. Finally, a third child may place tape on the paper and then simply paint over it. The possibilities are endless. Many times an infant teacher may not even use paper when presenting the child with a painting experience. She may simply place paint on their low-chair tray and allow them to feel the texture and experience the sensory experience. Since the focus is not on the product created, paper is not necessary.


Onlookers may question as to how the children will learn to follow directions if we don't force them to create "crafts" with a defined end product. We feel that a child has many, many opportunities to follow directions at school and at home. For some examples, when we have children prepare the table for lunch (cleaning, setting, and clearing the table has many steps involved), get dressed in their outerwear to go outside, or simply the steps needed to use the bathroom regularly, they are following many step directions.


One might also notice that when artwork is displayed in the hallways, there is rarely 100% participation. This is because we allow children to choose their areas of play and if they aren't interested in doing the activity, they aren't forced to participate. This too is a product of our philosophy at UCDC. We believe that if children are allowed to choose their play, they are more likely to learn from what interests them most.


Therefore, as you walk through the halls of UCDC and notice the many pieces of art with random strokes of paint, please know that each child is expressing their individuality and creativity through art.

Song Lyrics
Tommy Thumb 

This fingerplay is a hit for toddlers because the lyrics are repetitive in nature and the corresponding motions are spoken in the words. Toddler 2 loves this rendition and you can clearly see their joy as they sing Tommy Thumb together! And the best part is that you only need your hands for this fingerplay!


Tommy Thumb


Tommy Thumb, Tommy Thumb, 
Where are you? 
Here I am, here I am, 
How do you do? 

Peter Pointer, Peter Pointer, 
Where are you? 
Here I am, here I am, 
How do you do? 

Toby Tall, Toby Tall, 
Where are you? 
Here I am, here I am, 
How do you do? 

Ruby Ring, Ruby Ring, 
Where are you? 
Here I am, here I am, 
How do you do? 

Baby Small, Baby Small, 
Where are you? 
Here I am, here I am, 
How do you do? 

Fingers all, Fingers all, 
Where are you? 
Here we are, here we are, 
How do you do? 
Here we are, here we are, 
How do you do? 



Here's another popular version that children love just as dearly.


Tommy Thumb


Tommy Thumb is up and Tommy Thumb is down,

Tommy Thumb is dancing all around the town.

Dance him on your shoulders; dance him on your head.

Dance him on your knees then tuck him into bed.


Peter Pointer's up and Tommy Thumb is down

Peter Pointer's dancing all around the town

Dance him on your shoulders; dance him on your head

Dance him on your knees then tuck him into bed.


Terry Tall is up and Terry Tall is down

Terry Tall is dancing all around the town

Dance him on your shoulders; dance him on your head

Dance him on your knees then tuck him into bed.


Ruby Ring is up and Ruby Ring is down

Ruby Ring is dancing all around the town

Dance her on your shoulders; dance her on your head

Dance her on your knees then tuck her into bed.


Penny Pinkie's up and Penny Pinkie's down

Penny Pinkie's dancing all around the town

Dance her on your shoulders; dance her on your head

Dance her on your knees then tuck her into bed.


All the family's up and

All the family's down.

All the family's dancing all around the town

Dance them on your shoulders; dance them on your head

Dance them on your knees then tuck them into bed.

Spotlight on Staff
Infant 3 Reflects on Being a Teacher

The teachers of Infant 3 are a very special group of women that work very well together to provide the very best care for the youngest of our students at UCDC. Their patience and abilities shine in their every endeavor. Take a minute to read their thoughts on being a teacher.


What comes easiest to you in this profession?

  • "Falling head-over-heels-crazy-in-love with the children in my room!" - Shelley
  • "Finding the energy and patience to have a successful day." - Gayle
  • "Communication, I love to talk and I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them." - Karol

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

  • "Mrs. Margaret Hill, my fifth grade teacher.  She was witty and fun and didn't make fifth graders feel like school was a chore.  I learned a lot but she had a knack for teaching the way children want to learn, not drilling facts into their heads.  And she taught me how to write my name both forward and backward at the same time-a skill that, to this day, amazes all my friends at parties!" - Shelley
  • "I had a lot of favorite teachers for a lot of different reasons." - Gayle
  • "My 8th grade science teacher, Mr. Bray. It was my first time seeing snow and he stopped class and took the class outside so I could play in it." - Karol

What led you into teaching?

  • "As a child I was always playing teacher!  If the teacher was handing out extra book order forms or chalk scraps or old stencils I was first in line.  As I grew, I wanted to be a lot of things and settled on being a business major in college.  But I would see the UCDC classrooms playing on the Cathedral lawn and my heart just yearned to be one of them.  My friends suggested teaching elementary school because of the security but I knew that wasn't where my heart was either.  Finally I just gave in to what the heart wants, added an additional year to my college career so I could make the change, and became what I was meant to be." - Shelley
  • "I enjoy helping others and helping them to discover new things." - Gayle
  • "I love working with and being around children." - Karol

How long have you been working with young children?

  • "I just celebrated 20 years in December!" - Shelley
  • "I have been working with young children since 2003 where I taught preschool for a program my high school was a part of." -Gayle
  • "12 years" - Karol

What have your students taught you that you could not have learned anywhere outside the classroom?

  • "Honestly, how to truly live in the moment.  They take such joy in the world and to see it through their eyes really opens yours." - Shelley
  • "My students have taught me that if you put enough effort into something you can achieve it!" - Gayle
  • "Patience" - Karol

What is most rewarding about your job at UCDC?

  • "It's not every job that allows you to be so integral in the lives of others.  A parent asked me once, "Doesn't it bother you that they love you so much now but won't remember you later?"  I can honestly say it does not.  It's my job to help give them the very first foundation of who they are, who they will grow to be.  They may not remember I helped but they are who they are because of it!" - Shelley
  • "Having my students provide me with the same happiness I hope I provide them." - Gayle
  • "I love meeting new families from different parts of the world." - Karol

What inspired you to teach and at what age did you know this was the right choice for you?

  • "I think you are born with a gift for it and, if you are lucky, you follow your gifts.  So truly early on I knew, it just took a while for what I knew to catch up to what I pursued." - Shelley
  • "I fell into this age group but it was a perfect fit." - Gayle
  • "My 8th grade teacher inspired me to teach because he always make learning fun. When I was 16 or 17, I knew this was what I wanted to do." - Karol

What makes you want to teach and keep on teaching?

  • "At this point in my career there are several reasons I keep teaching.  Seeing children grow and guiding their experiences is paramount but also the need to pass along my knowledge to others.  Early Childhood is so important and it's critical to me that people understand that and make choices around their work that best benefit children.  And I've had the opportunity to grow in this field, both at UCDC and as a member of the Pittsburgh EC community (I am a Board member of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children and a former committee member of the Alcoa Collaborative).  Growing professionally is a choice, and by making that choice you become invested in the field as a whole and not just in your little corner." - Shelley
  • "Having new experiences with my students.  Every day is different." - Gayle
  • "The kids. I know that I'm making a difference in their lives." - Karol

In your work as an early childhood educator, what is the most difficult obstacle you have had to overcome?

  • "Helping people who are unfamiliar with child development see the importance of an early childhood education.  School success is much greater for children who were enrolled in a quality program, graduation rates are higher, and children from all backgrounds can start school on equal footing if they attended a quality program.  I try my best to make sure everyone, from families to students to the politicians in my area know how important it is for children to have the best possible care and experiences." -   Shelley
  • "Nothing that I can think of" - Gayle
  • "Nothing so far (knock on wood)" - Karol

If one of the children in your classroom could describe you, what would he/she say?

  • "She is nice and soft and it feels good when she holds me.  She also knows the words to all my favorite songs and has the voice of an angel (hey, they are only one!  They are very forgiving of those who like to sing a tiny bit out of tune!)." - Shelley
  • "That I am understanding of their individual needs." - Gayle
  • "I'm silly and fun and they are safe with me." - Karol