March 2016
University Child 
Development Center

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

Director's Corner
One of my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes is:

"I don't think anyone can grow unless he's loved exactly as he is now, appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be."

I find this to be so true especially in terms of the youngest children in our building.  There is such an urgency these days for children to grow up, learn more, do better and achieve certain things.   We are short changing our kids if we are always looking to the future instead of being in the moment. 

We have always valued children for who they are right now and for what they bring to the table, the discussion, the activity or the interaction.  Taking the time to appreciate that sends a strong message to children that they are loved, valued and appreciated.  We also know that children will need to understand certain things and learn certain things before they leave UCDC.  I'm confident that spending more time focusing on who they are now, instead of who they will become teaches them far more. 

A few weeks ago I met with a group of University students from an Introduction to Early Childhood class and a lot of my discussion was about readiness and testing.  The instructor (who is a kindergarten teacher) agreed that the important message about early childhood is focusing on who kids are, not who you want them to become when they leave you.  With all of the media influences, social networking influences and pressure on our children, it's more important now than it has ever been to slow down, take a breath and enjoy your children without the added pressure of trying to get them to the next level. All children get there (where ever that may be) in their own time.  Respect that and enjoy each and every moment now!
Mary Beth
Curriculum in the Classroom
Toddler Two
Toddlers Understanding Their Bodies

In the fall, we offered the children a chance to lie down on a huge piece of paper on the floor to trace around their body.  Crayons were available for children to color their outlines.  Some of the children made marks on the face for eyes and a mouth.  Others colored a shirt, pants, or shoes on their bodies where they belonged. Some children colored over the whole paper.  One child did not want to have anything to do with the activity.   A few months later, we repeated this activity since we know that toddlers love repetition, especially activities that they have enjoyed.  This time, the same child that declined participation initially watched again. She didn't want to trace her body but we asked her if she wanted to trace her doll that she carries routinely.  She agreed and colored her doll's outline and it was hung up like everyone else's bodies.  The second time the activity was offered, children made different marks on their bodies adding a bit more details.  One child added fingernails while another drew a diaper. Some other children noticed these details and added them to their own bodies. In Toddler 2, we will do this activity again and see what changes as the children grow and develop.

Margaret Mahler places toddlers between 15 and 24 months of age in the rapprochement sub-phase of the separation-individuation phase of child development. Toddlers now know that they are separate from their parents and they have a cognitive shift in their reality.  Tracing body parts helps a child know where their body begins and ends making this new-found realization more concrete.  This stage of development helps children to better understand spacial awareness and guides them in regulating their body. For example, it helps them to understand that when they flail about, they may bump someone near them, knock over their cup, etc.  As children grow, they begin to understand more about their bodies and offering these types of activities helps children to make this understanding more concrete.     
School Choice:


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 


Did you ever consider homeschooling? This is becoming a more popular option and there is a growing amount of support for families that choose this path. If you're thinking this might be the best for your child, begin by researching Pennsylvania's laws and regulations on homeschooling. You can then start to collect supplies, enroll your child in community activities and join lots of online groups for homeschooling. There's a plethora of support out there and lots of families and activities to join in the Pittsburgh area!


Spotlight on Staff

What would you do with a super power? We decided to ask our staff the same question and here are their thoughts...
  • Definitely would want the superpower of being able to fly--get anywhere in a matter of seconds! - Cathy Baier, Preschool Threesuperhero_kid.jpg
  • I would love my Super Power to be able to make everyone see the 'bright side' in every day! - Cheryl Petro, Preschool One
  • The ability to clean my kitchen after a day of cooking and baking with the snap of my fingers.....but not even a super hero can do that! - Marlene Schenck, Office
  • Since I've already mastered invisibility and super-strength, I'd love to be able to turn ordinary tomato seeds into bonafide tomatoes! (Can you sense I'm getting spring fever?) - Shelley Martin, Infant Three
  • If I could have any super power it would be to have the power to change homelessness and poverty. It saddens me to see people cold and hungry. It also makes me grateful that I am not in that situation, and that the problems I think I have are actually not that significant compared to other people. - Tiffany Robinson, Infant Two
  • My superpower would be to fly so that I don't have to sit in traffic since the Greenfield Bridge is closed. - Kathy Slater, Toddler Three
  • If I had a superpower, it would be to stop time so that I could accomplish more in a day! - Katie Osborne-Rozgonyi, Preschool Four

News to Know
  •  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.
  • UCDC's big fundraiser, our Annual Plant Sale, will be starting next week. Please check your child's mailbox for information and an order form! Get ready to support our Center in this sale!
UCDC Philosophy Explained
Question: Why is there so much unstructured play at UCDC. Don't children get bored?

Answer: Unstructured play allows children to figure out their interests, be creative and learn how to occupy themselves with their own thoughts and ideas. Young children seldom get "bored." It is more likely that these children that are claiming "boredom" don't know how to enter ongoing play, have problems initiating play or aren't sure how to manage unstructured time. There are a plethora of scheduled activities in a young child's life (child care, sports, play dates and normal family life of visiting and attending functions). Therefore, some children don't get as many opportunities to create their own ideas and involve themselves in their found interests.

At UCDC, we create an environment for the children that allow them to choose between a large variety of different activities focusing on skills, interests, cooperation and fun. Children may choose to participate in the more structured activities that teachers create or they have the opportunity to pick their own play throughout the day. When children choose their play themes, flying cars are born in the block area, parties are planned in the dramatic play area and gravity is tested over and over on the infant room climber. They are learning about social relationships while gaining all of the necessary academic skills through play.

And if children do get "bored," this is a great self-development opportunity for them to figure out how to occupy themselves. Teachers also use this opportunity to figure out how to help them find ways to be actively involved, join play or find an interest.

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." - Dorothy Parker
Did You Know?

Did you know that teachers are required to maintain 24 hours of professional development annually? They are constantly attending workshops, conferences and online trainings in order to keep these hours up-to-date in order to be informed about current best practices.

Preschool Wisdoms
"Target!" - Jack and Finn

This month, we were curious to hear where the children in Preschool One love to spend their time. Read on to hear their responses...

Kennywood - Raga, Molly, Ava and Kate
Pittsburgh - Tudor
Movies - Daniel
My room - Emmy
Target - Jack and Finn
Disney World - Emma
America - Arkady 
I don't know - Jesse
See dinosaurs - Andrew
Park - Alex
Museum - Peter