May 2015
University Child 
Development Center

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

Director's Corner


What is the best gift that you've ever received?  What is the best gift that you've ever given?  There are many tangible items that could probably go on these lists. 


I've always believed that one of the greatest gifts that we can share with those we love is time.  And it's more about quality than quantity.  There is so much that you can do and say with a little bit of time and it always makes a difference.


Recently I had a lovely conversation with a colleague who emphatically believes this. As parents of children in college we both agreed that time goes by much too quickly and those wonderful, lovable, special little children grow into adults that are shaped by the moments spent with their parents and families.  Children can have a lot of "stuff" and go a lot of places, but the memories that are guaranteed to last are the memories of spending time with people they love and people who love them. 


At the center, we often talk about being "in the moment."  This is as equally important at home.  Taking the time to enjoy your children, play with them, laugh with them, and learn about them is so very important. I'm a big fan of "less is more" and it doesn't really take much to impress a young child and build a memory.  Baking together, making a snack together, blowing bubbles, dancing, singing, reading, cuddling, telling jokes, swinging on a porch swing all provide the opportunity to have fun.  There doesn't always need to be a reason or a lesson or learning happening to make time spent together valuable and rewarding. I often tell parents that one of the best things they can do is to spend 10-15  minutes of uninterrupted time with their child as soon as they get home from work/school.  Give yourself permission to not check your messages, sort through your mail, start dinner, etc.  Those things are not nearly as important as reconnecting with your child after you have been apart for a long day. Those few minutes spent with them, interacting and being together speak volumes in the moment.  Sadly, the time will come very quickly, when they have other things to do and friends to be with and they won't need that time as much as they do now.


 Until you have a grown child it's hard to imagine how quickly the time goes.   One day you're driving them to activities, and then suddenly they are learning to drive.   You worry about them going to a new school and then suddenly in a blink of an eye they are graduating.   It's hard to imagine but it's true, time does go much too quickly when you are a parent.  Enjoy the moments while you can!

Curriculum in the Classroom
Preschool One Art Exploration

The children in Preschool One have really been enjoying spending time at the art table engaging and exploring the variety of materials and activities that are presented each day.  It is also not uncommon for our classroom to revisit an activity and spend several days working on the same piece of art adding different elements or dimensions as the days progress.   A recent example of this is hanging outside of Preschool One and lovingly displayed for all to see. 


With this activity we worked as a group to make a large scale painting - in which children used different painting techniques on each separate day.  We explained the idea to the children during morning group but only told them about what would happen for that day.  The children were very curious about this exploration and wanted to know what they would be doing on each day but we assured them that tomorrow they would find out!  On the first day the children used shapes, such as squares and circles to dip into black paint and make outlines on a large sheet of white paper.  While working on the this step the children continued to ask questions about what would happen next, and why we were creating black outlines of shapes.  Over the next two days, the children used watercolor paints and applied colors to the already existing shapes.  Some children carefully added color to the shapes they already created and some decided that color was needed in other areas as well.  Since this was a group art activity everyone had a say.  The children were thrilled with the end result as well as the teachers!

School Choice
Shady Side Academy


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 


Shady Side Academy is a nationally respected private school in Pittsburgh for boys and girls in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, with an optional boarding experience in high school.

Three age-specific campuses with extraordinary resources, teachers who actively mentor, a forward-thinking curriculum, a diverse and inclusive community, and a legacy of alumni accomplishments all inspire Shady Side students to high achievement in academics, the arts and athletics, and to meaningful ambitions in life.

Monthly Family Gathering:
Highland Park Super Playground

Each month, UCDC picks a family friendly location for families to meet and spend time together. UCDC teachers or staff may or may not attend, but this is a time for families to get to know each other and explore the city. UCDC will not host the event, but will just suggest a date, time, and location for families to spend time together.

Since the weather has warmed up for spring, we'd like to suggest meeting at a park this month. If you want to meet some fellow UCDC friends on a Saturday morning (weather permitting), come out to the Highland Park Super Playground on Reservoir Drive. This is a wooden playground with a trolley, catwalks, tire netting for climbing, swings and slides. If you're interested, join the fun on Saturday, May 16th at 11:00 am. Don't forget snacks and sunscreen!

News to Know
  •  The Staff Appreciation Dinner is this month! We will be celebrating the work of the teachers and staff at UCDC on Friday, May 29th at The Wyndham Hotel. Cocktails will be at 6:00 pm and dinner will be served at 7:00 pm. There is still time to register! If you misplaced your registration form, please see someone in the front office.
  • This month, we wished Samantha Mudrinich best wishes as she packed up to start a new chapter in her life in New York City. We will miss her greatly! 
  • We are very happy to welcome Carrie Gardner to UCDC as a new member of our office staff. Please take a minute to stop by the office and introduce yourself to Carrie! 
  • If your child will be attending Kindergarten next year, please submit your child's Withdrawal Slip to the front office as soon as possible. Thank you!
  • Thanks to everyone who purchased plants at our Annual Plant Sale Fundraiser. We raised $1,400 for our Center! Also, a special thanks to Brad, Chris, Shannon, Maureen, Joanne and Tara for helping to unload and fill orders!
UCDC Philosophy Explained - Inclusion
By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator


Parent Question: What is inclusion and how does UCDC work with children with differing needs?


To begin, inclusion is defined in many different ways by many different organizations. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), as well as the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC), put out a joint statement to accurately define inclusion for early childhood as follows:


"Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential."  (NAEYC/DEC, 2009)


So, how is this accomplished at UCDC?


The teachers carefully plan for every child in their care, being cognizant of their strengths, areas to grow, interests, and abilities. For example, in an infant room, a non-mobile baby will be offered a variety of toys and re-positioned around the classroom based on their needs and interests (in a teacher's arms, in a bouncy chair, on their belly on the floor, etc.) because they are unable to move independently to explore their environment. Toddlers typically work on learning to use the toilet independently, but a toddler would not be denied access to preschool when they were old enough just because they had differing toileting requirements. We would also make accommodations for children that have differing physical abilities such as altering the physical environment to accommodate a wheelchair or walker or adding a grab bar to the bathroom to allow for independent usage.


At every level at UCDC, children are offered experiences and materials that meet their unique individual needs enabling every child to feel safe, take risks, and learn. Our goal is to create an environment where every child can actively participate. Every child is unique and has a different way of learning, growing, and changing. The teachers at UCDC strive to create an environment and support system for every child and family in order to foster their unique path of growth.

Did You Know?


moving-boxes.jpg Did you know that the teachers are always looking for interesting materials to use as recycled art such as tubes, caps and lids, or natural materials (such as stones, pieces of wood etc.)? If you have any of these, talk to your child's teacher about what you may be able to donate.  




Preschool Wisdoms


This month, the children in Preschool Four make serious household changes when asked the question...


What family rule would you change if you could?

  •  I would change that we could eat dessert before our healthy food.
  •  I would watch movies all day long.
  •  You don't have to clean up after you make a mess.
  •  There are zero rules at my house!
  •  I didn't need to go to the store with my mom on home days.
  •  That I could watch screens (TV) more.
  •  I wish that mommy didn't have to wake me up in the morning.
  •  I wish I could ride my bike on muddy days.
  •  I would change how many lights can be on at night time.
  •  You're not allowed to play with or throw your food.  My brother does it all the time.
  •  I would like to say, "Oh my God."
  •  I would want to go downstairs at night time.
  •  I would change our beds.
  •  I would like to change my fish tank water so that it could hold frogs.
  •  I listen to my mom and dad!