February 2016
University Child 
Development Center

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

Director's Corner

Dear Families,
If you close your eyes for a moment, can you imagine your child as a nineteen or twenty-year old?  Can you imagine them making independent decisions, being responsible, and possibly living on their own?  Is there anything that you think you would do differently based on who your child is right now and based on your parenting techniques?

These are very tough questions.  It's hard to imagine your two-, three- or ten-year old as an older teenager or even an adult.  Preparing them for that time in their life probably doesn't seem as important now as it will when they are older.  But, believe me when I say most of what you do and say now has an impact on what kind of a grown up your child will become.

Recently, my daughter started writing for an online college website, through her sorority.   Her second article that she wrote resonated with me as her parent and as an early childhood professional. It helped to prove that children listen to you and put into practice the things that they learned from you along the way.  I'd like to share some of this article with you and I hope that you enjoy her words of wisdom.  While the suggestions are for college students,  they really do apply to us all. Also, as I read her article, I could hear my voice in at least a few of her suggestions. I'm hopeful that she takes her own advice!

Things We Don't Do Enough, That We Should Do More by Meghan McCulloch

We are students, and we are busy. We all know that.  Between class, work, the gym, friends, clubs, your boyfriend/girlfriend and your afternoon session of Netflix and a nap, it's hard to find time for everything in a day.  And such, days begin to slip away.  Before we know it, it is winter break of your second, third, or even fourth year of college.  The little things that mean a lot turn into seemingly nothing.  "What little things?" you ask.  Well here are just a few things that we don't do enough, that we should do more.

Call our parents- yes it may seem like a hassle, but they miss us more than they let on.  Even the shortest conversation will make their day. It may not always seem like it, but they want the best for us.  They love us and we surely can't forget about them.

Say thank you-We get so busy and distracted, sometimes forgetting that someone just held the door for us (stopping it from hitting us in the face. Phew).  Forgetting to thank our parents for doing all they can to make our life good.  Even thanking our friends for putting up with us when we have our monthly (more like weekly) meltdown.
Think before we speak- Hmm...is that really the best thing to say right now?  Is it going to help the situation? If not, just let it go!

Drink more water- 8 cups per day!

Say I'm sorry- admitting you're wrong is hard to do (especially when you are a stubborn 20 year old), but realizing you are wrong and saying sorry could have a huge impact on whoever you are saying sorry to.
Visit your family- whether they live 1 minute or 1 hour away, we should make time for them.  They are our family and they LOVE US.
Clean our rooms-  ...guilty of this one...a clean room leads to less stress, a less cluttered mind, and an easier life!  The more frequently you do it, the easier it will be! (easier said than done)

Go to the gym/exercise- No one wants to, but 30 minutes 3 times a week.  We can do it.  It's good for us...right?
Disconnect- We need to put our phones down, shut our laptops, and turn off the TV.  Read a book, hang out with friends, have a real conversation.  Disconnecting can lead to better relationships, being more productive, and just being all around happier.

Smile- It's contagious and believe it or not, it will make you happier.  Chances are it will make someone else around you smile too!

Take time for you-This one may seem silly, but we tend to get so caught up in what we should be doing, or trying to please others that we forget about ourselves.  We need to take time to do what makes us genuinely happy.  Take a bath, read a book, listen to music, whatever it is that you like.

Being thankful for what we have and not worrying about what we don't- This one is HUGE.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the things that we want or the things we think we want, that we forget about all the amazing things that this life offers us.  We have amazing opportunities and need to take advantage of them!  Instead of worrying about the new phone you want or the new shoes, take time to be thankful for everything you already have in your life.  The non-material things.  A good life, amazing opportunities, a family, plenty of friends, and a chance to make your life what you want it to be.  Not just harping on what you don't have.

So, we should begin to try to do these simple things that somehow slip our mind. You never really know what kind of change could come. 

(And as parents, many of these simple things send a big message to your children.  I know that I will thinking about them more often!)
Mary Beth

Curriculum in the Classroom
Infant Three
"When we were in the midst of fall, the leaves were a great source of inspiration!"

Infant 3 has been busy exploring textures, shapes and colors as of late.  We have participated in activities like rough vs. smooth painting; oats in the sensory table, sprinkled with cinnamon for smell; and frolicking in the piles of leaves outside.  

When we were in the midst of fall, the leaves were a great source of inspiration!  Crunching them as we walked through them or drove our buggy through them on a walk began our fascination. As they began to pile up, it was only natural the children became interested in them and began to explore them by sitting in their billowy softness, tossing them around and looking at their changes in colors.  

"At UCDC, we plan our activities around the interests of the children."
We have also been very interested in different colors, shapes and textures as our children become older.  While it isn't typical that an infant would know the language for shapes or colors, as we began to notice the shapes in the elevator ceiling and how excited the children became at seeing them, we began to plan activities around shapes and colors.  One activity that incorporated shape and color was painting circles of various colors and sizes to make a "circle wall."   This activity, created out of the children's interest in circles, involved a few of the older children.  We talked about circles, colors and sizes as we used watercolors to create our art.  At UCDC, we plan our activities around the interests of children.  Because they have been so interested in shape, color and texture it was a great activity to help foster this learning.

Kick Off to Kindergarten                         



February is typically the month that your local, public school will begin their Kindergarten campaign. Some schools will contact families with children of Kindergarten age, but not all will. So, February is the month to contact your child's public school, start on the Kindergarten paperwork (it is many, many pages long!) and set up a registration appointment. 


If your child will be attending private school, a lot of schools will send their decisions out soon which will enable you to plan.

Spotlight on Staff

This month, we decided to ask a question that reveals a little bit more about the staff's values and we got some enlightening responses. Read on to hear how the staff guide their families at home.

Question: Does your family have a "motto," spoken or unspoken? What is it?

  • Our motto is "We are on the same team!"  Life is just better when everyone works toward the common goal, even if it's as simple as "one wash, one dry" or getting another person a drink after a long day so they can sit and relax. - Shelley Martin, Infant Three
  • My mom always said "Take care of each other" and when anyone was leaving her house she always said "Love y'all." - Mary Beth McCulloch, Director
  • We don't necessarily have a motto, but every time we say "I love you forever" (yes from the book by Robert Munsch) to our kiddos, their response is always, "I love you forever even more!" - Jen DeJulio, Preschool Three
  • Growing up we had all sorts of sayings in our house that make me giggle now.  Like, " If you snooze, you lose,"  "Shuffle your feet, lose your seat," "You make a better door than a window" (when blocking the vision of someone) or "Do you live in a barn?" (If you leave the front door open).  - Ammie Ribarchak
  • One that we heard all the time from my Grandma, aunts and mom was, "Che no lavora no mangia." In Italian it means, "he who does not work, does not eat." - Emily Marsh, Infant Two
  • At home, we always tell the girls, "Be the best you that you can be." Another common saying in our home is, "You matter!" - Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator

In and Around Pittsburgh
Have you ever been to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh? Maybe it's been a while since you've been there. It's worth a trip for babies up to tweens! 

Spend one of these cold, wintery weekends at the Museum. There's something for everyone - check it out!

News to Know
  • Winter  has arrived!  With the arrival of snow and colder temperatures, driving and traffic in Pittsburgh and Oakland can quickly become a nightmare. In the event that snow arrives at rush hour, please try to leave earlier so that you can make it safely and on time to pick up your children.  
  • At the end of the day, parking can be quite limited due to the sheer volume of parents picking up at the same time. We just wanted to remind you that parking is permitted in ANY open space at the END of the day. Although the spaces facing the road and facing the apartment building are reserved spaces, if they are free at the END of the day, it is okay to use them for picking up your child. 
  • Please make sure you are walking in the hallways with your children at drop off and pick up times. The hallways can be a very busy place, especially around the areas where babies and adults are sitting down to take their shoes on and off (for our shoe-less infant classrooms). 
  • After a visit from Keystone STARS (Pennslyvania's early childhood quality assurance program) earlier in the year and submission of paperwork, we have successfully maintained our STAR 4A designation. 
  • We want to thank everyone who donated birthday supplies for the drive for Children's Hospital. We got an OVERWHELMING amount of materials for this and we are so happy for your generous donations!
  • Students from the University of Pittsburgh's Introduction to Early Childhood Education  class will be here in February to complete classroom observations. They will use the observations booths as well as the classrooms to complete their observations.
  • Just a reminder that UCDC will be closed on Thursday, March 10th for a Professional Development Day and Friday, March 11th for Pitt's Spring Holiday. 
Lunch Menu Project
We wanted to update you on the UCDC menu project we have been working on that you received a survey about earlier in the school year. On January 13th we met with a representative from Sodexo food services to discuss our ideas for the new lunch menu. We are very exited with how the meeting went and are looking forward to seeing what Sodexo is about to create with our ideas. Our intern, Amanda, is continuing to work with UCDC and Sodexo and we hope to see changes in the menu being implemented within the next few months. We will be sure to keep you updated with the progress in this project! 

Did You Know?

Did you know that infants and children should not wear their coat while in their car seat? Bulky winter coats actually take up a lot of space (up to four inches!!!) which has an impact on a child's safety if the car were to be in an accident. Click here to learn more on how to keep your children safe...and warm!

Preschool Wisdoms


Winter is in full swing and the children are loving the snow! This month, we posed the question, "What would you do if we got THREE FEET of snow?" Here are Preschool Four's thoughts...


  • Someone would cover me and I would sink in the snow. - Tumaris
  • I would dive into the giant pile of snow. - Samantha
  • I would build a big snowman. -Maeve
  • I would go in the house, stay home and race my cousin. - Fiona
  • I would go outside, make a snow angel and use the extra snow pushed out when the door opens to make a one-balled snowman. - Ruby
    "I would build a big snowman." - Maeve
  • I would make a snow angel all the way to the bottom. - Hazel
  • I would shovel it with my family. - Rishi
  • I would walk upside down and put boots on my hands. - Sullivan
  • I would go to outer space to get the sun. I would bring it back to Earth and melt the snow. - Jerry
  • I would put on a hat, gloves, a coat and a scarf. - Jack
  • I would put on a hat AND my hood! - Kate
  • I wouldn't be able to walk with my feet, legs or this body (pointing to herself). - Alice
  • I would build a snowman. - Zoey
  • I would call a snow plower. - Ben
  • We would need a snow plow, a helicopter and an airplane. They would use movers to move it to where it is dry. - Sasha
  • I would make a snowman that could reach the sky. - Finn
  • I would crawl through the snow. - Wilder
  • I would shovel myself out. - Emerson
  • I would play snowballs and throw them at my mom and dad! - Christopher
  • I would take all the snow and push it over the hill in my backyard. - Joey