UCDC Developments
October 2013

In This Issue

You hear the saying all of the time, "Time flies." As a child, it seemed that time moved at a snail's pace at times and it felt like an eternity for birthdays to come around, years to pass, and milestones to be had. I vividly remember wishing to be old enough to stay up later, go to the mall by myself, sit in the front seat of the car, etc. It seemed that everything took so long to come. Now, as an adult, and especially as a parent, my aging children are a constant reminder of how fast time really goes. Last week, Mary Beth and I were talking about our children and how quickly they grow up. She was discussing planning for her child's college visits while I was paining over sending my oldest daughter to Kindergarten. I asked myself - how can it be that Mary Beth's daughter will be a senior when I taught her in preschool at UCDC? How can my daughter be starting her formal schooling when I remember every moment of her birth like it was yesterday?


We face this reality every day at UCDC when holding a baby in the infant room one moment only to see them skipping out the front doors of UCDC off to Kindergarten in the next moment (it seems that fast, anyway!) At UCDC we're really big on making every moment count. We know that the moments quickly turn to years and in the blink of an eye, children grow up.  Therefore, we strive to "be present" with children. When a teacher is working on a puzzle with a child, her focus is on that child. When a child approaches a teacher to tell them that they miss their Mommy, the teacher drops what she's doing and gives that child her undivided attention. Children have so much to compete with for your attention. The dishes, other family members, your phone, housework, the list goes on. It is impossible to be "in the moment" every moment, but we strive to make the ones count that can, knowing that the phone can wait, the dishes will still be dirty in an hour, and ten minutes after you mop the kitchen floor, it will be dirty again.


Here is a quote that resonated with me from a blog that I follow called "Hands Free Mama:"


"I'm going Hands Free. I want to make memories, not to-do-lists. I want to feel the squeeze of my daughter's arms, not the pressure of over-commitment. I want to get lost in conversation with my spouse, not consumed by a sea of unimportant emails. I want to be overwhelmed by sunsets that give me hope, not by extracurricular commitments that steal my joy. I want the noise of my life to be a mixture of laughter and gratitude, not the intrusive buzz of cell phones and text messages."


Slow down and enjoy this time in your life - it won't last long.





Putting Bedtime Struggles to Rest: Helpful Hints for Making Bedtime a Dream
By Katie Osborne-Rozgonyi

Bedtime can feel like a special, even magical part of the day for you and your children -- a chance to wrap them in a warm and cozy cloud of love as they drift off to sleep. On the other hand, bedtime can sometimes feel more like a battle zone. There are many factors that contribute to a child's bedtime routine and sleep. The good news being that most of them are things that parents can influence.

Scientific research shows that, in addition to being a time to rest and reenergize, sleep is also a period of intense brain activity. When you consider that infants and young children spend much of their time sleeping, it should come as no surprise that sleep is an essential element of a young child's development. Healthy sleep has been linked to enhanced physical coordination, growth and healing of body tissues, better regulation of emotions, improved focus and attention and improved learning and memory in young children.

Given that sleep is such a crucial part of your child's development, why does it often become a challenge, or even a battle of wills between parents and children? To help answer that question, let's consider the child's point of view.


Bedtime presents children with many challenges. The very act of physically separating from parents in order to fall asleep can be difficult, especially for infants. It's important to know that most children naturally wake up for a short period of time between five and seven times each night. Typically children simply fall back to sleep by themselves, though some children may call out to parents for help. As children grow, they experience an increase in physical abilities as well as a newfound desire for autonomy, which are essential elements of child development, but which can also make it harder for them to go to sleep. A preschooler's improving social skills are endlessly entertaining during the day, but they can also enthuse children to test their parents' limits around bedtime. Likewise, a child's developing sense of imagination is a wonderful part of growing up, but it can sometimes lead to fears about bedtime or even nightmares.


Has bedtime become a challenging part of the day in your family? If so, consider these proven strategies to help make it more magical than maddening. Please keep in mind that there is no "right" answer for every child or family, and trust your judgment as to whether these ideas will suit your family's needs.

  • Develop a consistent daily routine.
    • Plan your child's wake time, meal times, nap times and bedtime for the same time  every day.
    • Though it may seem helpful, resist the temptation to let your child "catch up" on sleep over the weekend because this could cause her sleep pattern to shift later into the day, making bedtime more difficult.
  • Choose activities wisely as bedtime draws near.
    • Active play, exercise, computer programs and watching television are believed to delay a child's ability to sleep.
    • Caffeinated food and drink should also be avoided at least four hours before bedtime. Alternatively, offering food and drink that is high in calcium or carbohydrates and low in protein, such as milk and crackers, as bedtime snacks has been shown to promote better sleep.
  • Put your child into bed when she is drowsy but not actually asleep. When she wakes during the night, she will recognize her bedroom as being the place she recalls being last, thus making it easier for her to soothe herself back to sleep.
  • Design your child's sleep environment to promote sleep.
    • The perfect environment for a good night's sleep is a bedroom that is dark, warm, and quiet. Some children may prefer a dim nightlight to total darkness, and that's OK. If your child's bedroom is not entirely sound-proof, try using white noise machines or soothing music to provide a peaceful rest time.
    • You can help your child associate her bed with sleeping by reserving the use of her bed only for sleep activities, rather than using it as a play space.
  • Create a loving yet firm bedtime routine. If it is enjoyable, your child may feel less resistant to getting ready for sleep!
    • Plan your bedtime routine to begin at the same time every night and not last longer than thirty minutes.
    • Keeping the routine simple helps your child know what to expect, which increases her comfort and reduces any bedtime anxiety.
    • A warm bath can be an excellent part of your child's bedtime routine, helping her to feel relaxed and enter sleep more easily.
    • Reading books before bed has a number of benefits. Not only can it be a wonderful bonding experience between parent and child, but it also helps improve a child's literacy. For children who resist bedtime due to anxieties about darkness or being alone, there are a number of wonderful books (such as "Go Away, Big Green Monster!" by Ed Emberley and "Musical Beds" by Mara Bergman) which can help ease nighttime fears. You can find both of these books in UCDC's library!
    • Provide your child with a specific object that she can associate with bedtime. This could be a stuffed animal or special blanket that can serve as a comforting cue for bedtime.
    • Older children may attempt to delay going to sleep by asking for just one more drink, story or hug. Make sure that you communicate the routine clearly and ahead of time so that she understands the limits.
  • Consult your pediatrician. If you have any concerns about the effects of your child's sleep habits on her development, talk to the experts! Sleep problems are a valid concern, and your pediatrician will have a wealth of knowledge and advice to offer your family.



Dahl, R. (1996). The impact of inadequate sleep on children's daytime function. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology, 3(1). 44-50.

Davis, K. F., Parker, K. P., & Montgomery, G.L. (2004). Sleep in infants and young children: part one: normal sleep. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 18(2). 65-61.

Galland, B. C., & Mitchell, E.A. (2010). Helping children sleep. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95. 850-853.

Meijer, A.M., Habekothe, H.T., & Van Den Wittenboer, G.L.H. (1999). Time in bed, quality of sleep and school functioning of children. Journal of Sleep Research, 9. 145-153.

Meltzer, L. J., & Montgomery-Downs, H.E. (2011). Sleep in the family. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 58(3). 765-774.




UCDC Reads by Preschool Four
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids
by Carol McCloud


If you have been around Preschool Four children lately, you might be hearing a lot of bucket filling.  You may wonder; What is bucket filling?   The idea is based on a book called Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  


This book helps to explain to children that every person has an imaginary bucket over their heads. A person can help fill someone's bucket by using kind words and by treating them with friendly and helpful actions to make that person feel special.  On the other hand, you can also dip or take away from someone's bucket when you are mean and use unkind or unhelpful words. This makes not only the other person feel like their bucket is emptying but it also makes your bucket feel empty as well.  The book goes on to explain that as you become more and more of a bucket filler, your own bucket starts to become full again and this makes everyone, including yourself, happy and feeling good again.  The children in Preschool Four have really related to this concept and are really working to keep everybody's buckets full!


UCDC Philosophy Explained
By Mary Beth McCulloch, Director

Parent Question: I have a friend whose child goes to a local  preschool and they always have parent evenings and family activities scheduled.  Why doesn't UCDC?

AnswerAt UCDC, we approach parent involvement in a slightly different way.   We have always recognized that children are enrolled in the Center because parents are working, teaching or attending classes.  Because parents have schedules that keep them busy on campus, we encourage parent participation in a more flexible way.

We encourage parents to spend time at the Center whenever it makes sense for their schedules and in a way that does not place additional stress on families.   We have always believed that at the end of a long day (for parents and children), most families embrace the idea of spending time with their child at home or doing things that are important to them as a family.  In addition, evening event parking is always a concern since we just don't have the parking lot capacity to invite all families here at the same time.


Our staff is very creative in the ways that they extend opportunities to families to share in their child's experiences and in their day.  Family breakfasts and afternoon socials are a special time to get to know other children and families while enjoying delicious food often prepared by the children in the classroom.  We also invite you to join us for lunch at any time - just let us know in advance that you'll be coming so we can order an extra meal.


Our open door policy encourages you to be here at different times of the day as well. We encourage you to choose times that have meaning in order to create special memories for both you and your child.  These may include coming in and reading a story, doing an art activity, or playing an instrument. We're always interested in your special talents and sharing those in the classroom is always a fun learning experience for the children (we once had a father who came in to play the accordion!!)  By participating in this way, it sends a message to your child that you are interested in their day and it also creates a collaborative approach between families and classroom teachers, which helps to bridge the gap between home and school. 


Another way to participate in your child's classroom activity would be to come in to take a walk with your child's classroom or be present for a birthday celebration. If there are other ways that you would like to participate in your child's classroom activity, we would encourage you to talk to your child's teacher about the ways that you feel you could participate in a stress-free, individual way that makes sense for you and your family. 


Another way that we connect families with each other in a relaxed way is to send out our weekly email, Weekend Events, in which we share child and family friendly activities that are taking place locally.  Many families and staff attend these events and spend time together while enjoying a new experience.  We also notify families of special events including child friendly races or walks, Venture Outdoors activities, and Open Houses at local Kindergartens. Finally, our annual Staff Appreciation Dinner, plant sale, food drives and other fundraisers are also ways for parents to participate in Center events and get to know other families. 


Our main goal is to be respectful of your time and your responsibilities, while still offering ways to be a part of your child's day while they are at UCDC.  We hope to see you soon and welcome any suggestions for ways to increase parent involvement!

Song Lyrics by Infant Three 
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

The babies in Infant Three have an all time favorite as their current chart topper. They absolutely LOVE "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." The classroom also has the book to accompany this song, and when the teachers begin to sing this song, the children scramble to the bookshelf to grab the book. The classroom also has two other books that look similar ("If You're Happy and You Know It" and "Row Row Row Your Boat") and they will actually grab for any one of these three when their favorite song is sung.


Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes.


Head, shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes.


And eyes, and ears, and mouth,

And nose.


Head, shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes.


Place both hands on parts of body as they are mentioned. On second time speed up, and get faster with each verse.




Spotlight on Staff 
Infant Four

Get to know the amazing teachers of Infant Four. You'll learn who is addicted to Pinterest as well as what lines the closets of these teachers. Read on to find out more!
If I looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?
  • "Leftovers!  I love to cook, but not at the end of a busy day.  We live on leftovers throughout the week." - Katie
  • "Vegetables from my garden, condiments, and diet pop. That's about it for now because I am in transition and not really staying at the new house much yet." Tracey
  • "Milk and soda" - Tressie

What new hobby/talent have you learned in the past five years?

  • "I have learned how to paint a room -  and I have gotten to practice it several times since!" - Katie
  • "I learned to play Cribbage and I really like it." Tracey
  • "Knitting" - Tressie

What is the most creative activity you did with your children in your classroom this month?

  • "Jumping in mud puddles on the playground!" - Katie
  • "We covered the floor with paper and the children rolled cars and trucks in paint and drove them on the paper. The children also spread the paint on their hands and body. Check out the beautiful artwork hanging outside our door." Tracey
  • "Making homemade ice cream" - Tressie

What is your favorite piece of clothing? Why?

  • "Yoga pants - I don't typically do yoga, but they are just SO comfortable!" - Katie
  • "My boxers and t-shirt that I lounge in... comfy, comfy, comfy!" - Tracey
  • "My huge college sweatshirt" - Tressie

Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?

  • "My Pop-Pop Jack.  He was not only the most intelligent person I've ever met, but the funniest and most compassionate.  He would often call our house whenever he was bored to see if anyone wanted to go on an "expedition."  He'd take us on walks along a stream, to explore construction sites, and to pet the animals at a local farm, stopping to investigate everything we saw.  I think he was often more excited about our findings than we were!" - Katie
  • "I would say my maternal  grandma. She loved me so unconditionally, had a perseverance and stubbornness I admired, and had a great sense of humor.  She also had an amazing  zest for life despite being seriously affected by rheumatoid arthritis from the time she was 29.  I feel she is frequently with me despite the fact that she has been deceased since I was 18." - Tracey
  • "My mom has had the biggest impact on my life. Her positive attitude and willingness to always help others is how I want to be." - Tressie

What makes you laugh?

  • "Our young toddlers make me laugh continuously throughout the day!  They are always thinking of silly things to say or try to do!" - Katie
  • "Children and their silly antics." - Tracey
  • "My cat when she is being playful and silly." - Tressie

What makes you cry?

  • "Sappy drama on TV shows inevitably makes me cry every time." - Katie
  • "People intentionally creating physical and/or emotional pain for someone else." - Tracey
  •  "A happy ending to a book or movie." - Tressie

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

  • "Probably more than I would like to admit!  The majority of them are tall heels that I almost never wear, but I love knowing they are there." - Katie
  • "Who knows but I tend to wear the same ones over and over until they have no sole left." - Tracey
  • "About 30 pairs" - Tressie

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

  • "Pinterest!  I am an organizer, so I love being able to sort everything onto boards so that I can easily find each page again... from recipes to home DIY ideas to gift ideas to Infant 4 explorations to new book ideas." - Katie
  • "Gasoline powered engines - vroom, vroom!" - Tracey
  • "Chocolate!" - Tressie

If you had a thousand dollars to give away, what would you do with it?

  • "I would try to anonymously give it away to someone who I thought really needed it." - Katie
  • "I would split it between my son, my daughter, and my mother." - Tracey
  • "I would purchase a gift from Heifer International." - Tressie

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