In This Issue
Staff Appreciation Dinner
UCDC Reads by Preschool One
Song Lyrics by Toddler One
Technology and Young Children
Philosophy Explained - Center Foods
Annual Staff 
Appreciation Dinner

UCDC's Annual Staff Appreciation Dinner will be held on Friday, May 30th at the Wyndham Hotel in Oakland. This is a lovely event for teachers and staff of UCDC to mingle with the parents/guardians. This is an adult only event where we enjoy dinner, listen to words of adoration and participate in a silent auction. Please see someone in the office if you're interested in attending.
 
UCDC Reads by Preschool One
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
by Carol McCloud

 

Summary:  This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation, and love. Bucket filling and dipping are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well being of others and ourselves.

 

In Preschool One, we take bucket filing and dumping to a whole new level.  We talk daily about how we can fill each other's buckets.  Most of the children understand this concept and use the language appropriately.  For those who need a visual, we decided to create a bucket to use for this in Preschool One.  When there is an act of kindness, they get to put a Pom Pom into our bucket.  This helps them see the progression of the acts of kindness visually, which helps them throughout the day.  

Song Lyrics by Toddler 1
Knick Knack Paddy Whack
 
Toddler One has really been loving listening to Knick Knack Paddy Whack lately.

 

The children usually begin by listening to the story that is sung as we follow along with the book.  The children try to guess which instrument is playing as a new instrument is added with each verse.  We also talk briefly about the instrument family and to which each instrument belongs. The children also dance along, using their bodies as the instruments.  In the story book, a parade of children from different cultures plays the different instruments.  The song follows along with a pizza party and the children pretend to eat all the pizza up when it's time!

 

 

Song Lyrics:

 

This old man, he plays one.

He plays knick knack on my drum,

With a knick knack paddy whack

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he played two.

He plays knick knack just for you.

With a knick knack paddy whack,

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he played three.

He plays knick knack happily.

With a knick knack paddy whack,

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he played four.

He plays knick knack on my door.

With a knick knack paddy whack,

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he played five.

He played knick knack as we jived.

With a knick knack paddy whack,

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he plays six.

He plays knick knack on the bricks.

With a knick knack paddy whack,

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he played seven.

He plays knick knack by the oven.

With a knick knack paddy whack,

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he played eight.

He plays knick knack as we ate.

With a knick knack paddy whack,

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he played nine.

He plays knick knack all the time.

With a knick knack paddy whack,

Give a dog a bone.

This old man comes rolling home.

 

This old man, he played ten.

If you sing a bit louder we'll do it all again.

With a knick knack paddy whack, 

Give a dog a bone. 

This old man comes rolling home.

 

 

UCDC Developments
May 2014
Greetings!

Dictionary.com defines a professional as "a person who is an expert in his or her work."  My personal definition of a professional is "any one of the 44 people who currently teach or work at UCDC."

 

As the staff appreciation dinner gets closer (May 30th), I have been thinking a lot about the level of work that the staff are consistently engaged in at UCDC.  The list of tasks is endless, and more importantly, the dedication and investment in relationships with children and families is boundless.  

 

Whether it is working with facilities, ordering supplies, making sure that students  turn in their paperwork, conducting new staff orientation, managing the budget, completing paperwork for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, working with the caterers to make sure that special nutritional needs are being addressed, presenting a workshop to staff, arranging coverage for staff absences, picking up "special" food items at Giant Eagle or Whole Foods, unpacking or stocking supplies,  or hiring new students, the administrative support staff consisting of Marlene, Jennifer, Samantha, and Jamie, is the glue that holds the Center together and allows the teachers to maintain the highest standards in the classrooms.  Did I mention that they unclog toilets, walk to campus to drop off paperwork, schedule required trainings, work with many staff from other departments on campus, make endless lists, meet endless deadlines, file, answer phones, accept payments, field questions on the phone and at the front desk, and are basically willing to do just about anything that comes across their desk or in the form of a request from anyone?  They smile every day, welcome hundreds of visitors to the center, help student observers, have a tremendous amount of patience and enthusiasm, are supportive of Center and University needs and of course they LOVE the children and welcome them into the office for crackers, to hit the EASY button and to answer any questions that the kids might have.  Can there be a better group of professionals or staff on campus?  I think not.  Am I thankful?  Every single day!  Without Marlene, Jennifer, Samantha and Jamie, UCDC would not be the incredible place that it is!  They are professionals in every sense of the word and contribute to the success and quality of UCDC all day, every day! 

 

As a former teacher in the building, I understand the level of work that comes with the responsibility of taking care of and teaching a group of children.  Not only does your day start the minute you enter the building, it often starts as soon as you wake up, as you begin to prepare for the day ahead.  If you are a supervisor and one of your teachers calls off, you are on the phone making sure that there is coverage for your classroom.  You are probably also grabbing the supplies and odds and ends that you need for a project or activity that you have planned because one of the children in your classroom has shown an interest in  something unique and different.  There is a good chance that you spent time over the weekend scouting thrift stores and yard sales to find the things you need.  You might also have stopped at the library so that you have books to complement the theme that your class will be working on.  Once you arrive at work (after riding your bike, taking one or two buses, or driving in), you prepare the classroom, get supplies, get breakfast ready, set out activities that were planned with children's learning styles and developmental levels in mind, check on coverage, make a phone call about a parent intake, get the laundry out of the dryer and begin to welcome children and families.  You might also have changed diapers, assisted a child on the potty, changed messy clothes, helped a parent find a missing hat, helped a classroom with a bathroom break, and swept the floor.    As the day progresses, you engage with children, answer questions, facilitate play, laugh, sing, read, go for a walk, load the buggies, put on sunscreen (in preschool classrooms, that's a lot of sunscreen!), go to the playground, run, play games, take a walk, push a buggy, hold hands, make sure children are safe, count how many kids you have, count again, and yes, count again.   You help children resolve conflicts; you wipe away tears, clean a brush burn, and make sure you take water and cups to the playground.  You help children set the table, fill bowls, help children wash hands (sometimes at least 80 times  per day), you eat lunch with children, model good manners, talk about healthy choices, help children clean up, brush teeth, go to the bathroom, put sheets on cots, help kids find their blankets and soft toys, rub backs, put on soft music, rock babies, help children to calm down and rest.  You do the dishes, clean up the tables, work on paperwork, get new books and materials from the art closet, library and toy storage areas.  While you are there, you organize a few things.  You get snack supplies, talk to the student assistant, take a break, supervise older children who no longer take a nap and get the table ready for snack.  You also write a few anecdotal notes, schedule a parent conference, check your email, do your time card, take the buggy downstairs, laminate some pictures, and depending on the day, maybe attend a team meeting.  During all of these tasks, you are also thinking about a child who isn't feeling well, a request from a parent for an article on setting limits, a newsletter article that you are doing for the newsletter, and the phone call that you need to make regarding equipment for the playground (you are on the playground committee and there is a meeting the next day).  You also need to schedule a training because you will be losing three of your required training hours in June and you need to make sure you maintain 24 hours of professional development at all times. 

 

Exhausted?  Unbelievably, this is just a partial list.  There is so much more that the teachers do.  Each day is different, each day children are different, and each day brings its own unique set of rewards and challenges.  Our work at UCDC has changed significantly in the past few years and job responsibilities have increased.   Teachers contribute at many levels.  Down time is rare and they are always busy! For me, the true sign of a professional is their ability to balance the needs of the children and the classroom and the other tasks that need to be done.   The classroom and children always come first and at UCDC this is absolutely true!

 

Dictionary.com defines thank you as "to express gratitude, appreciation or acknowledgement to."  Those two words never seem to be enough when expressing my gratitude and appreciation to the teachers at UCDC, but I truly do thank them.

 

I encourage you to attend this year's Staff Appreciation Dinner.  It is because of the professionals at UCDC, and their tireless dedication and desire to do what is best for children, that you are each able to successfully do the work that you do on campus including completing research, teaching students, and managing your every day.  They do so much more than run an office or teach; they are committed and are true experts in their field and your presence at the dinner will validate everything that they do for you and your child(ren).

 

 I hope to see you at the dinner on May 30th and look forward to the opportunity to show our collective appreciation and extend our thanks to a truly unique and excellent group of professionals.

 

Warmly,

Mary Beth

Technology: What is the Right Answer When it Comes to Using It with Our Children? 
By Ammie Ribarchak, Preschool One
mother-child-laptop.jpg

Using technology with young children is an ongoing debate among early childhood practitioners around the world.  A simple Google search on the topic brings up a variety of opposing views from professional organizations through individual blog writers who have their own personal views and opinions.  Articles are posted on social media sites and it only takes one person to "like" and "share" for individuals to buy into the content and believe the accuracy of the information read.  As a parent, how do we decipher or know if the information we are reading is factual and/or relevant?  Let me tell you, it is not always easy.   I recently read two opposing articles on introducing and using technology with young children and both authors had a way with words that made me want to believe everything they had to say.  Both articles had valid points and spoke to both the educator and parent in me.  What should we do and where do we go for answers when we are uncertain as to the best practices to use with our own children? 

 

There are places you can go to find information that will help guide you into making the right choices for your children and your family. 

  1. First and foremost, know yourself and your child and what everyone can handle.
  2. Your pediatrician can point you towards the most recent set of guidelines for your child. 
  3. The third place would be professional organizations with a mission for conducting studies and research to find out what truly is the best practice for young children. 

These three steps are not just for deciding the best practice with technology but also with any decision you will make as a parent or educator.  So then what about technology?  Why are we seeing so many articles and opinions popping up in educational journals, social media, blogs, and in the news?  It is because technology is all around us.  It is constantly evolving and changing and is now easier than ever to access. It could potentially be the future generation's version of simple pen and paper.  I am going to try to give you the breakdown of what is recommended when it comes to putting technology in the hands of our young children.

 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age two. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

The AAP recommends that parents establish "screen-free" zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children's bedrooms and by turning off the TV during dinner. Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. It is important for kids to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play.

The policy statement that the AAP published in 2013 states that there is clear evidence to support that excessive media use contributes to a number of risk and health problems but there is also a positive side when used appropriately.  For example, media literacy and prosocial uses of media may enhance knowledge, connectedness, and health. It is up to parents, pediatricians and educators to help address health risks and foster appropriate media use. 

 

In January 2012, a joint position statement was written by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rodgers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent's College (http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/PS_technology_WEB.pdf). The position statement was intended to serve as a guide for early childhood educators working with children birth through age 8.  It was not intended as a guide for families but indicated that it could serve as a helpful set of guidelines to help parents make informed decisions about the choices they would make at home.  Their position is that when used intentionally and appropriately, technology and interactive media are effective tools to support learning and development.  Technology should not be used for passive or non-interactive uses for children age two to five.Technology and interactive media should expand children's access to new content and new skills. When truly integrated, uses of technology and media become routine and transparent-the child or the educator is focused on the activity or exploration itself and not on the technology.

 

So what do we do with this information?   Should we or shouldn't we use our cellphones or tablets with our children.  The decision is really yours.  There is a ton of research that shows watching TV, playing video games and other media in this form relates to child hood obesity, aggression, and negative impacts to executive function skills such as self-regulation and problem solving.  Sounds pretty scary, right?  Interactive technology however can be different if thoughtfully constructed and actively attended to be a caring adult.  There is not enough research yet to determine what the impact really is when it comes to using smart technology with your children.  What we do know is that children learn best when fully engaged with hands-on activities that allow them to ask questions, make choices, experience problem solving, and interact face-to-face with both adults and other children.  Technology should never take the place of these types of experiences.  It could, however, if used appropriately, open the window to many new and exciting opportunities.  My son and I have been logging into the eagle cam to catch glimpses of the bald eagles and their eggs.  We have had the opportunity to watch the mother and father change places and were able to catch glimpses of the hatching process and the eaglets.  While watching the webcam, we learned how to tell the difference between the male and female eagle, the types of food they like to eat, and what exactly their nest is made out of.  The use of technology can be a wonderful way to gain knowledge and expand on our prior knowledge.

 

We recently purchased Galaxy Tablets for our preschool classrooms.  Our philosophy on using tablets is still evolving as using smart technology in classrooms is still evolving.  We are a NAEYC accredited center and believe in providing children with exceptional developmentally appropriate activities that speak to all areas of development.  Using tablets in the classrooms will not take the place of the activities that your children engage in daily in their classrooms. It serves as a tool to help enhance children's curiosity and exploration in areas that require more in-depth research and investigation while in the moment of play, like observing the hatching of the eaglets when talking about birds.  We are very excited to add this new technology to our classroom and look forward to the new learning opportunities that await us. 

Philosophy Explained: Center Foods
By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator
gourmet-forks-plate.jpg  
Parent Question: My child has a hard time trying new foods and I worry that she doesn't eat enough. I'd really like to bring food to UCDC for her to eat when she's not with me. What exactly is your policy when it comes to bringing in food?

 

At UCDC, we attempt to provide the children with their dietary needs without asking families to provide anything from home. There are many reasons for this policy including cost, nutrition, peer modeling, as well as classroom logistics.

 

To begin, we factor food cost into our tuition and we feel that families should not have to have many out-of-pocket costs at the Center. Sending a child to childcare is one of the largest monthly expenses for families and therefore we attempt to avoid adding any additional charges. If a child does need alternatives to the meal based on their individual needs, we provide these at no additional cost. The office is amazing at uncovering all of the ingredients in all of our menu items and finding similar alternatives to these foods so the child being served isn't eating something that looks different than the other children. For example, if a child cannot tolerate gluten and it's pizza day, we would purchase a gluten free pizza and prepare this in the Center's main kitchen for the child in order to serve them a food that looks like what their peers are eating. Substituting foods for children is not an easy task and when we replace foods in our menu to meet a certain dietary restriction for a child, we must evaluate the substitution for nutritional content, portion size, and the nationally recommended limits on sugar, sodium, and saturated fats as set forth by our many regulatory agencies.

 

Another reason for our policy is due to health and nutrition. At the University Child Development Center, we pride ourselves in our food program. We attempt to model healthy eating choices for young children by only offering foods that are low in sugar, made with natural ingredients, and overall healthy. We believe that when healthy eating is introduced at a young age, the children are more accepting of this type of food and are likely to continue to eat healthy as they grow older.

 

We also believe that eating WITH children shows them that we are all willing to try new foods. Therefore, the adults in the classroom sit with the children during mealtimes, model healthy eating, and engage in relaxed conversations, while modeling appropriate table manners. This atmosphere creates a peer modeling effect, where the child sees his peers and teachers eating similar foods and he is then more inclined to try these foods. Teachers NEVER withhold food to encourage the tasting of a non-preferred food. They simply model the behavior and trust a child's natural inclination to eat. Before the age of six, children are naturally able to listen to their body and its need for food. Sometime after that, food intake is dictated by time of day, food choice, and "clean your plate" syndrome. Therefore, we believe that allowing a child to make whatever food choices they want is a healthy choice as long as all of the foods on the table are healthy.

 

Finally, mealtimes are a VERY busy time of day for classrooms. Teachers are juggling setting tables, scooping out food, helping children serve themselves, mopping up spills, conversing with children, and eating. If a teacher had to prepare many different foods for the many different children in a class, this would prove to be chaotic and they would not be able to engage in the family style approach that is so important to our Center's philosophy. Also, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, of whom we are accredited by, we are not allowed to microwave children's food, which is yet another inhibitor.

 

Although, as early childhood educators, we do understand that some children have more food preferences than others and acknowledge the natural inclination of a preschooler to start voicing these preferences. But, we believe that continuing to offer the same healthy foods to the children will benefit them in the long run as they begin to formulate healthy eating habits.

 

We really appreciate your help in respecting this policy at UCDC. Refraining from bringing your child in with a snack in hand or while finishing their breakfast also helps us to reinforce this policy with children. We do understand that your children are sometimes hungry when leaving UCDC and some parents provide a "car snack" for the ride home. We ask that you keep this snack outside of the Center so we are respectful of the many allergies in the Center as well as the philosophical and safety reasons that were described in this article. We are also a completely peanut-free environment and it is important for us to monitor foods in the Center in order to keep everyone safe. Thanks so much for your cooperation!