April 2015
University Child 
Development Center

635 Clyde Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(P) 412.383.2100
(F) 412.383.2120

Director's Corner




Finally spring has arrived and flowers and trees are blossoming, birds are chirping and we are able to go outside and enjoy the playground and take walks.  Outdoor activity is a very important part of our day at UCDC and the children benefit from this play in many different ways.  It's a sad reality that most schools have limited their outdoor time and their physical activity time because of the need to "teach" more.  At UCDC, we find the value of outdoor play meets all of the developmental criteria that is so important to children.  While outside, children develop motor skills as they learn about their bodies in space, practice important physical skills and exercise and strengthen muscles. Children learn social skills such as cooperation, turn taking, and being a partner or on a team during activities.  Children also learn about the world around them while observing changes in plants and the differences in the seasons and weather; they watch living things such as worms and squirrels and they learn about the earth while digging and collecting leaves and rocks.  Children also develop new language and communication skills while interacting with each other and their teachers.   


The outdoor environment is an extension of the classroom.  We plan for this part of the day just as we do for other parts of the daily routine.  The environment includes equipment that helps encourage learning.  For example, climbing equipment helps children develop their motor skills and judgment about what can safely do; gardening provides opportunities to learn about plants and taking care of living things; building with the wooden blocks provides opportunities to learn about balance, coordination, cooperation and making plans with friends. 


We often bring classroom equipment outside to enrich the outdoor environment.  One day you might see children painting at easels and another day you might notice children bathing their babies and taking them for a ride in a wagon.  You might see children in the swing reading books or playing games with a large parachute.  The time spent outside is a valuable part of our daily schedule and we feel very fortunate to have such a lovely space for children to explore and enjoy during their day at school, while learning valuable skills and concepts through their play. 


We hope that you also take the time to let your children learn and play outside.  Whether you live in a rural, urban or suburban area, hopefully you spend lots of quality time with your child outside!



Mary Beth

Curriculum in the Classroom
Full Body Painting in Infant One


Taking a full-body approach was the theme for this artwork. Spreading the paper on the floor provided each one of us the chance to investigate the paint thoroughly. As soon as the thick, gooey paint was added to the material, a few of us began exploring excitedly by reaching our fingers and hands into the different colors. Although some were hesitant at first, it didn't take long before we were all crawling, sliding, and cruising right through the colorful puddles. In no time at all, our bodies became the canvas, as the paint covered our arms, legs, and diapers. Of course, our natural tendency to explore through taste also emerged, and we sampled the colors from our fingers and hands, often covering our chins, cheeks, and noses in the process!


By enabling us to explore art in this way, we added to our knowledge of art and its processes; we added new dimensions of texture to our sense of touch and taste; and we discovered how fun learning through play can be!

School Choice:
Three Rivers Village School


Navigating the number of school choices that are available in the Pittsburgh area for your child can be a daunting task. There are so many private, magnet, and charter school choices out there. In our newsletter, we plan to highlight one school a month in order to help inform families. UCDC does not endorse the schools that are highlighted in this section - we are only offering the vast choices that are available. A great resource for finding options is the website - Great Schools 

Three Rivers Village School (TRVS) is Pittsburgh's first and only democratic-Sudbury school. TRVS is a private, independent school that trusts students with the freedom and responsibility to drive their education. Families that are seeking an age-mixed environment that focuses on play, self-direction, community engagement, and creativity will find a great fit at TRVS. The school community welcomes students ages 5 to 17 from all backgrounds, with or without special needs or giftedness.


Info Event: April 23rd from 6 to 8 pm.

RSVPs are welcome



Spotlight on Staff


What is the most unusual thing you've ever eaten?

  • Anything my mother-in-law cooked! - Marlene Schenck, Business Manager
  • Octopus and shark. It's weird and chewy. - Jennifer Pezzula, Morning Substitute Teacher
  • The most different thing I have tried was a breaded, fried frog leg.  It has so little meat on it that I only tasted the breading.  I do not think that I will venture to eat another since it was not so great.  It was the whole leg and could not be mistaken for anything else. - Maureen Sahr, Toddler Two Head Teacher
  • The most unusual thing I have eaten was octopus while I was in Italy. Its texture and taste are similar to squid (calamari) which I have eaten in the states. Nowadays, when you travel out of the country, most restaurants/hotels offer many American choices which means you don't have the opportunity to try as many unusual foods. - Michelle Mattys, Preschool Four Assistant Teacher
  • When I was in New Orleans I ate alligator.  It's like nothing to them but a big deal to me.  I also ate turtle when I was a kid.  Tastes like a pork chop! - Shelley Martin, Infant Three Head Teacher


News to Know
  •  Construction is moving along here at UCDC. The new Conference Room is nearing completion and then the renovations for our new lounge/teacher resource room/office will begin. 
  • 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.
  • Here's a chance to impact toddler programming in Pittsburgh. Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is looking for feedback from caregivers of young learners.

    Simply follow this link to the survey.

  • UCDC's Staff Appreciation Dinner is quickly approaching. Book a babysitter and save the date for this wonderful event that honors the staff and teachers of UCDC. This year, it will be held on Friday, May 29th at 6:00 pm at the Wyndham Hotel in Oakland. Please plan to attend this wonderful function with us.

UCDC Philosophy Explained - DHS


How is UCDC related to the Department of Human Services?


UCDC is a licensed childcare facility in the state of Pennsylvania. This license is provided by the Department of Human Services (DHS). This department sets forth a set of regulations that ensure the safety and well-being of all children in our care. Annually, a representative from DHS visits UCDC for a two-day inspection to check files and visit every classroom. They are also able to come at any time for an unannounced visit to our site.


The Department of Human Services provides many services for Pennsylvanians. The department used to be referred to as the Department of Public Welfare, but at the end of 2014, changed the name to the Department of Human Services. This name better reflects the wide range of services that DHS offers. This move was made in order to bring Pennsylvania into alignment with the other states' human services departments and to remove the stigma associated with the word - "welfare."


The visit from DHS is just one of many that we receive at UCDC in order to ensure the children's safety and to ensure that quality is maintained. In addition to this annual visit, UCDC also receives a visit from food services, Keystone STARS, NAEYC (every few years), and CACFP (every three years). Although seemingly overwhelming, these governing bodies help to ensure that your child is receiving the utmost quality care here at UCDC.


Did You Know?
Child making bday cake



Did you know that we sometimes substitute applesauce for oil in baking recipes to make it healthier? 




Preschool Wisdoms


The children from Preschool Three are posed the question...


Where is your favorite place in the world?

  • Home and China
  • Texas
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Home
  • With my Mommy and Daddy playing in my house
  • Giant Eagle
  • Disney World
  • I like going home with my Daddy
  • At the farm
  • Dad's office
  • Working with my Mom and Dad and playing with my brothers and sisters
  • Downstairs
  • February