UCDC Developments 


September 2013



Our family has a cottage in Slippery Rock that holds many childhood memories for me. Being a child in Slippery Rock is a lot different than being a child in Pittsburgh!   There is a measure of freedom that is probably not a part of many of our children's lives.  Outdoor play happens way more than indoor play.  In fact, when I was a child and we would go away for the weekend, the only time I was in my cottage was to sleep and eat (and most days we ate outside at the picnic table).  Even when it rained, we would be outside looking for night crawlers, jumping in puddles or walking through the woods.    Sunny days were spent swimming, canoeing, fishing, playing basketball, climbing trees or looking for berries to pick.  Evenings were spent playing release, sitting around the campfire, or taking walks.  Children didn't have video games or access to technology and most still don't.  We had a tiny television and no cable.  We were lucky if it got two channels and when the television was on, it was mostly tuned to the news when my parents would watch it. Children are safe while playing outside with each other since there are many adults who watch out for everyone. 


Now, the third generation of children is having children, and we welcome the chance to help the new parents with their kids as they raise them in such a unique environment.   Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a family friend, Chris, who just became a grandmother for the fifth time.  As Chris was talking about how different it is raising your own children and "helping" with your grandchildren, I got to thinking about the important role that many of the grandparents in our building play.  We have many grandparents who drop off or pick up their grandchildren, many who visit on a regular basis, and many whose stamp of approval was earned by the classrooms and classroom teachers.  Grandparents seem to have slightly higher standards and expectations, and we are extremely happy that we can include the grandmas and grandpas, Nana's and Pappaps, Omas and Opas, and Laos and Ye Ye's who are all such a very important part of a child's extended family, into our UCDC family.  Seeing them smile while they are interacting in the classrooms with their grandchildren is a lovely sight to see.   


I recently also had a chance to watch as an older preschool child "helped" his grandfather and grandmother pick up his baby brother.  He patiently explained the routine to his grandparents and made sure that they removed their shoes before going into the infant room.  The love and warmth between the three of them was so incredible to watch and it really made me understand the importance of having such loving people in a child's life.  Taking the time to be with family and share traditions is such an important part of growing up.  When grandparents and grandchildren spend time together, lasting memories are made and a foundation for the importance of extended family is created.  


Grandparents Day was this past Sunday. I hope you had the chance to engage in a special activity with your child's grandparents or enjoy some FaceTime with them. If not, take this opportunity to plan something special. Enjoy your time together!



Mary Beth

 Important Information

Lactation Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh

It is clear that UCDC supports breastfeeding mothers by offering private spaces in the building, supporting on-demand feeding schedules for infants, and welcoming parents to nurse their children anywhere in our building. 


Fortunately, the larger University also supports breastfeeding by providing Lactation Rooms on campus. Click here for a list of spaces around campus.

Laboratory School Visits this Fall

UCDC will be a busy place with observations this Fall. So far, here are some of our planned observation visits.


  • Honors Developmental Psychology students will be observing different age levels between September and mid-November
  • Applied Developmental Psychology students will be observing in pairs in either infant or toddler classrooms in October
  • Introduction to Early Childhood students will observe preschool age children from mid-September to mid-November. 


by Amy Sander, Toddler Three


September is a month of many changes. Summer fades to autumn, the temperatures cool, and soon leaves will be falling from the trees. Vacation days wind down as school begins. Within UCDC we will have many children leaving to attend kindergarten. This means change for not only our preschoolers, but some of our infants and toddlers will be transitioning into new rooms, as well.


Changes come, whether we want them to or not, all of the time, really. Tasks come up requiring us to be involved with new activities, places or people. Sometimes this change is met with excitement and it is easy to move on to bigger, better ...or just other things. But, occasionally a change can be difficult or unwanted. Sometimes the unknown seems a bit scary. A new routine may feel awkward and it can be sad leaving old friends behind. It takes time to get used to new places and people - making it hard to let go of familiar comforts.


Transitions can be especially difficult for young children and infants. Unlike adults, they do not have as many experiences to draw on that can encourage them to have a positive outlook on the new things headed their way. That is why our children rely on cues from those that they trust to indicate to them whether or not this new thing is going to be good or bad. It's important that while our children transition to new rooms, that parents and caregivers project certainty and enthusiasm to ease the process. If you are anxious about a transition, your child may pick up on that. Watch what you say in front of your child. Keeping a positive frame of mind and being excited can make a world of difference during this time of change.


In addition to being enthusiastic about new people and classrooms, you can ease your child's transition by preparing them in several ways. First, you can explain to them what will happen ahead of time. Keep in mind, the more details you give about the new scenario, the more he can anticipate and predict what will happen. Communicate and pay attention to how your child is feeling, let them know their feelings are important. Don't try to talk your child out of their negative feelings if he/she has them. Acknowledge them and explain that you understand (you could even share a time in your own life that you went through a change that was stressful or scary to you). When you allow your child to share his/her worries, you can help them think through how to deal with them. It is normal for a child to feel proud to be a big kid but at the same time feel worried about being separated from you and starting something unfamiliar. Encourage them to express any feelings of grief, loss, or anger. If you welcome these feelings, they will pass more quickly.


Plan on spending some time with your child in the new classroom, if possible. Allowing extra time at drop off can be helpful. However, once you are ready to leave, a consistent and brief goodbye routine and sunny attitude is helpful. For example: in some of our classrooms our parents give their child a kiss in their palm to "hold" all day long, or a "hand print" through the glass of the door after they have said goodbye. Good bye routines are comforting to children and help them understand and prepare for what will happen next. Also, resist the rescue - try not to run back to the classroom if you hear your child crying. During this big change your child may feel sad and a little scared. But if you run back in, it sends the message that she is only ok if you are there and it is likely to prolong your child's distress and make it harder for her to adapt. You can always go into the viewing booth where you can watch to see that all is well.


Another thing to keep in mind is that it is helpful that their life stay as normal as possible in most areas while going through this transition at the center. Try to keep family routines the same so that while one aspect of their life has changed, many things have remained the same. The predictability of a set routine gives a child a sense of control and order- whatever works to help your child predict what will happen next. That is why we like to build routines into our day. These rituals, like giving a five minute warning before cleanup, singing a cleanup song to prompt the ending of games to putting things away, all help children to get a sense of order and give them the ability to predict what will happen next.


Change is a part of life, and children can learn to accept it with a little help from you. Learning transitions is an important developmental step. Kathleen Grey, family development specialist for American Baby says, "Everybody needs to learn how to bring one activity to a close and invest attention in something else." Your love, attention and understanding as well as consistent routines and positive reinforcement should help your child adapt to any changes, whether they are daily transitions or a bigger change, which may come his or her way.



www.zerotothree.org , "Preschool Prep: How to Prepare Your Toddler for Preschool"

http://parenting.kaboose.com, "Toddler Transitions- Parenting Articles and Tips"

http://voices.yahoo.com, "Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Deal With Transitions"

http://janetlansbury.com, "Babies Breaking Habits, Toddlers Dealing With Change - 3 Steps to Ease the Way"

Song Lyrics by Preschool Two
This catchy tune has been a favorite of this preschool group for quite a while now. The lyrics are easy and the children love it because of the hand motions involved. The children enjoy taking turns choosing a finger that the fish bites as well as learning their right and the left hands in a fun and engaging way. They also enjoy changing the fish into a crab, seahorse, or other animal of their choosing. 
1,2,3,4,5 I Caught a Fish Alive

1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive

6,7,8,9,10 then I let him go again


Why did you let him go?

Because he bit my finger so


Which finger did he bite?

My little pinky on the right

UCDC Reads by Toddler Three

The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom

Every year Pennsylvania chooses a book highlighting the importance of early literacy development. One Book, Every Young Child 2013 is The Bus for Us- The story is about Tess's first day of school and her very first ride on a school bus. As a multitude of vehicles-from fire engine to front loader-passes by, Tess eagerly asks, "Is this the bus for us, Gus?"

From the day our librarian brought it into our classroom Toddler Three has been in love with this book. When we are on walks around the neighborhood we will ask, "Is this the bus for us Toddler Three?" and everyone will answer with whatever type of transportation we see next. This book has become a large part of our classroom and helped us to explore different types of transportation and using the illustrations to predict what will happen next in the story.

UCDC Philosophy Explained
By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator 

Parent Question: As the Fall semester approaches, will you have many more University students come for observations?


Answer: Yes! This Fall, UCDC will be very busy hosting many different students from the University of Pittsburgh. Students may be coming to observe for a developmental psychology course, early education course, or other various programs within the University. Some students may need to complete a single observation, while other students many have to return many times for their coursework (some up to 12 observations in the semester!).


The students that will be coming to observe all have their clearances allowing them to work with children. They will schedule their times to visit with our front office to ensure that we don't have too many students at the same time. Each student will also wear a nametag identifying them while in our building.


We are excited that the Fall semester has begun and we are proud to host so many students from the University.


Infant One Teachers
Spotlight on Staff Infant One
This is our second interview with this trio and it's great to learn new and different things about our teachers here at UCDC. Take a moment to read about these three amazing infant teachers!


Which is your most cherished childhood memory?

  • "Playing in the mud with my friends." - Heidi
  • "Being squished in the car with my siblings, eating Twizzlers on our way to the beach." - Amanda
  • "I don't have any specific 'most cherished' moment, but I do have many good memories of playing outside and going on camping trips with my family." - Hannah

If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?

  • " An anthropologist" - Heidi
  • "I would be a food critic, because I absolutely love to eat." - Amanda
  • "I would want to sell the bags and purses I design and make." - Hannah

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

  • "'First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.'  By: Martin Niemöller  They have this in Boston with all the numbers of the people that died and it just hit home." - Heidi
  • "Mother Theresa said, 'Do small things with great love.'  I like this quote because I think it's the little things that often matter most." - Amanda
  • "'And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down.  Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.' By GK Chesterton.  I like this because it reminds me to be positive and look for the best in everything." - Hannah

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

  • "My two children make me proud everyday!" - Heidi
  • "I am proud of myself for still chipping away at school (I'm sort of a professional student,) even though I'd love to just stay home and relax!" - Amanda
  • "I would say that it will be finishing school this coming spring if all goes as planned!!" - Hannah

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

  • "Peanut butter and jelly" - Heidi
  • "Pierogies!  Always have been, always will be!" - Amanda
  • "My mom's macaroni and cheese." - Hannah

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

  • "Cut hair" - Heidi
  • "I badly want to learn how to kayak so I have an excuse to go buy one!" - Amanda
  • "I would like to be able to play all types of instruments, especially stringed." - Hannah

What chore do you absolutely abhor?

  • "Ironing" - Heidi
  • "Doing dishes!" - Amanda
  • "I hate cleaning toilets and bathroom floors." - Hannah

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

  • "What free time?" - Heidi
  • "Watching 'The Big Bang Theory.'" - Amanda
  • "I sleep" - Hannah

What story does your family always tell about you?

  • "When we would go fishing, I would always fall asleep by the water and wake up with a bad sunburn!" - Heidi
  • "They love to talk about the time I stuffed an entire clump of lilacs up my nose and had to go to the emergency room." - Amanda
  • "My dad's favorite is about how he took me to get flip-flops when I was three years old.  I spent at least an hour trying deciding between red and blue flip-flops. He was very patient. I have always been very decisive :) He doesn't remember which color I picked, but my guess is blue because it goes with more." - Hannah

What was your favorite childhood toy?

  • "Playdough" - Heidi
  • "My grandmother gave me my first doll, my mom sewed her clothes, and my dad made her a bed." -Amanda
  • "A little mouse made out of red string... I think it was supposed to be a cat toy! It's name was "Mousey" -very creative, I know." - Hannah
We hoped you enjoyed the newsletter! See you next month!