November 2015
University Child 
Development Center

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

Director's Corner


Over the past month, I have been writing inspirational quotes and comments on a dry erase board in the Teacher Resource Room to inspire and support the teachers in their daily work.  Sometimes they are related to the children and the work they do and sometimes they are about personal growth, kindness and happiness.  Other times, I just want to put a smile on their faces. Life is sometimes tough and days are sometimes hard and a kind word or thought can go a long way to making someone feel better. 

I believe that this is something that parents hope to teach their children as well. I know that I did with my own daughter, but I often wondered if the things I said or modeled actually made an impression and I'm sure that most parents wonder the same thing.  Luckily I recently got confirmation that the things we do have an impact on even the youngest children.  One day, our Education Coordinator, Jamie, was closing the center with her daughter, Hazel. Upon entering the Teacher Resource Room, Hazel asked what was written on the board.  Jamie explained to her four-year-old in terms that she could understand that I often write things on the board for the teachers to read in order to make them feel good or help them to see what's important.  After hearing Jamie's explanation, Hazel asked if she could also write something for the teachers. She then asked how to spell the words, "Be Kind" directly under my quote.
When I saw what she had written the next day, I was so touched and inspired.  I couldn't ask for greater confirmation that children do understand and do "get it." Those two simple words that mean so much and can do so much, coming from a four-year-old are priceless and beautiful. So, do as Hazel says, each and every day.  Teach your children through actions and words to "be kind!"
"Hazel asked if she could write something for the teachers."

Curriculum in the Classroom
Infant Four
"Lunch can be a little messier when everyone's feeding themselves and older children are starting to practice with an open cup!"
I Can Do It By Myself!

As our children are getting older, and several of them are getting ready for toddlers, we've been really working hard at practicing our self-help skills the past several weeks!

When the children in Infant 4 practice self-help skills, such as feeding and dressing themselves, they practice their small and large motor skills, gain confidence in their abilities to try new things, and build their self-esteem and pride in their accomplishments. When they reach milestones in the classroom, they are very proud of themselves and each other. Teachers share in the joy and excitement by giving a high five, a smile, or a hug. Some of these self-help skills the children have been working on include, but are definitely not limited to: using their spoons to scoop their food, drinking out of an open cup, using their words and signs to tell us "more" and "all done" at meals, recognizing their own clothing items, walking holding hands, walking up and down the stairs in our building, washing their own hands, cleaning up toys in the classroom, and beginning to put on and take off their socks, shoes, coats, and hats.  

"By giving our children time to practice their new skills at their own pace, we can help them build their independence and their confidence..." 
It can take a little longer to get out the door when everyone's working hard to find their own shoes or take them all off by themselves. Lunch can be a little messier when everyone's feeding themselves and older children are starting to practice with an open cup! Walks are a little slower when our youngest walkers are taking turns to walk on their feet around the block. By giving our children time to practice their new skills at their own pace, we can help them build their independence and their confidence in their skills. The mess and time are worth it when that child lights up like the North Star when s/he perfects the skill she was working on.

 We are often surprised when parents express surprise at their child's perseverance and skill level. We encourage parents, when time and patience allows, to slow down and let their children experiment with the steps to different skills, eventually building to mastery.
School Choice
This is the time of year when private schools are opening their doors to prospective families. There are a lot of choices available when picking a school for your child(ren). Here are a few of the local private schools that are hosting Open Houses in the near future.

Remember, there is no "best school" for your child; it's more like a "best fit." If your child is three years of age or older, this is the perfect time to start looking at prospective schools. Take some time to schedule some of these events into your busy schedules so you are able to make an informed decision during the application process for your child. Most events require an RSVP so please visit their websites to register in their method of choice.

Falk School
Friday, November 13, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. to noon or noon to 2:00 p.m.
St. Edmund's Academy
Thursday, November 12, 2015
9:00am - 10:30am or  5:30pm - 7:00pm
Thursday, December 10, 2015
9:00am - 10:30am or  5:30pm - 7:00pm
Shady Side Academy
Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 at 9:15 a.m.
Waldorf School of Pittsburgh
Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 10:00 am
Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 10:00 am
Ellis School
Sunday, December 6th at 2:00 pm
Spotlight on Staff

As Early Childhood Educators, work can be quite busy on a daily basis. This month, we were curious to hear how our teachers and staff recharge after a long day at work.
  • I like to recharge by getting a little extra sleep on the weekends, drinking a hot cup of pumpkin spice coffee and staying home with my family. -Michelle Mattys, Preschool Four
  • A favorite way to recharge is to take a walk in a tree-filled park listening to my favorite playlist. - Cathy Baier, Preschool Three
  • I recharge by walking and talking with my friend. We try to go at least three times a week.   Dinner out with my son and/or husband weekly is a boost also. - Maureen Sahr, Toddler Two
  • I usually come home, make myself a glass of iced tea, sit in my recliner and work on the Daily Crossword Puzzle in the Post Gazette.  No interruptions allowed for at least fifteen minutes.    - Mary Fertelmes, Preschool Two
  • I recharge by getting outside. It could be a brisk walk alone, a leisurely family walk around the neighborhood, or simply sitting on the front porch. The sunlight literally recharges me! - Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator
  • Naps...and going to see lots of bands with my husband and friends! - Emily Marsh, Infant Two
  • I love a lazy Saturday, maybe brunch, a book or magazine, and Netflix at night! - Shelley Martin, Infant Three
UCDC Philosophy Explained
Question: Why are family style meals so important at UCDC?

Answer: At UCDC, the teachers eat with the children at every meal, mirroring what would happen at home. This practice is extremely important to our philosophy at UCDC for so many reasons. First, we believe that modeling healthy eating helps a child to try new foods and accept new foods more readily. We also know that children imitate others and when we all sit together eating a healthy, shared meal; the children are more likely to participate fully. Second, family style meals play a large part of our family oriented philosophy. We want our Center to feel like a second home to the children and families so we work to create a home-like atmosphere in our environment and practices. Similar to the aspect of having children call the teachers by their first names and the presence of family photographs in every classroom, we want UCDC to feel like home and sharing food family-style plays a big part in this practice. Finally, we love it! The teachers form such a strong bond with your little ones and they thoroughly enjoy the time spent with them, including meals! It's a lovely time to talk about weekend plans, discuss the play that they children have engaged in or share about their favorite foods. Lunch at UCDC is BUSY, but enjoyable!

Did You Know? 
Did you know that the main produce distributor for Pitt dining services is Paragon Monteverde, who is dedicated to supplying local and organically grown fruits and vegetables? Paragon distributes from several local farms including but not limited to Dawson's Orchards, Wexford Farms, and Brenkles Farm.

Additionally Sodexo at Pitt has signed the "Real Food Campus Commitment" which will bring more "real food" onto Pitt's campus and facilities it provides food to. More information about this initiative can be found on the Real Food Campaign's web site.