June 2016
University Child 
Development Center

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

Director's Corner

When I think about the summer and children, I often think about science.
Summer promotes a sense of wonder, curiosity, and inquiry in children. It's also easy to see the energy and eagerness to pursue the "why" and "what" of everything. This is what makes young children natural and great scientists. 

Science is hands-on and active; what better place to experience that than outdoors?  Children should be exploring, playing with and literally digging in the dirt.  Mixing, pouring and "cooking" provides endless opportunities for social and language development as well as emergent math and science concepts.  

These types of experiences cannot be learned from a book.  They must be actual experiences that one has with their whole body and all of their senses.  With the sun shining, the wind blowing and good friends around you, opportunities present themselves for some of the most beneficial experiences to happen. Add to that the ability of the teachers to extend an activity and encourage problem solving and active thinking and you have an outdoor classroom that has endless possibilities.  Gardening is science, blocks are science, art is science, water play is science, and climbing and sliding is science.   Science is fun and learning combined in the best possible way.  And it is everywhere, especially on UCDC's playground!  

Mary Beth
Curriculum in the Classroom: Painting
Infant Two
Painting is a favorite activity for our children. Changing the materials and ways in which we paint makes it new and exciting, and allows us to focus on different skills. Recently we tried saran wrap painting. Through this process-based activity, children were given the chance to learn about how colors mix, and experience the unfamiliar sensation of paint beneath saran wrap. The infants were curious as they watched us cover a large piece of paper with paint, and then saran wrap. Some children came over right away to explore it, while others wanted to watch and see what happened first.

For the infants, still learning how to control and move their bodies, it gave them a chance to engage their feet, hands, and whole bodies, experiencing the feel of the paint and saran wrap as they choose how to explore it.
The youngest participated on their tummies, lifting their heads to see the paint and moving their arms and legs in the paint. One of the children lay all the way down and licked the saran wrap, wanting to know how it felt and tasted. She then pulled up the saran wrap, finding the paint underneath to feel it with her hands. Other children sat, choosing to either kick their feet or run their fingers through the paint.
Older, mobile children crawled or walked across the paper, seeing how the colors squished under their legs and feet as they moved.

In the end, each child participated in their own way, combining to create a unique piece of art. 
School Choice:
Pittsburgh New 
Church 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

This month, we're highlighting The Pittsburgh New Church School in Point Breeze. Please take some time to read on and learn more about them.

The Pittsburgh New Church School (PNCS) is a small religious private school located in Point Breeze, near Frick Park. Our school is a great option for families who are looking for:
  • Quality academics
  • Christian values
  • Creativity and self-reliance
  • Flexibility, friendliness, and responsiveness
We offer grades Pre-K through 8.
PNCS has been at this beautiful campus since 1930, but was founded back in 1885. We serve a mix of students from the local New Church congregation and students whose families value the unique benefits that PNCS offers.

One of those benefits is a holistic education. We balance academics with experiential learning and physical activity. We underpin the whole effort with solid spiritual values. It's a small, friendly, well-run school. Children get a great education, they feel at home, they remain curious, and they learn to be good people. Here's what you can expect for your children at our school:
  • Small classes
  • Superb academics
  • Good friends
  • Active minds and bodies
  • Growing spirits
  • New Christian values
  • Bright futures
299 Le Roi Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15208 | 412-731-0122 | www.pittsburghnewchurchschool.org
Spotlight on Staff

Summer is almost here! This season always starts with a lot of expectations and plans. So, we thought we'd ask our teachers and staff what was on their Summer Bucket List this year. 

  • My summer bucket list consists of spending time with family on camping trips, boating and kayaking, cooking out with family and friends next to the pool and taking long summer walks. - Joanne Stiller, Toddler One
  • Yay summer! I hope to do lots of camping and wander around NYC for a few days. - Amanda Sloan, Toddler Three
  • My summer bucket list is to kayak at least three times, paint my outside door, do the remaining un-sided part of my house with ledger stone (I can't wait to try my hand at that!) and make a stone patio. - Traci Schunk-Kolb, Infant Four
  • A family vacation with our children and grandchildren to Sandbridge Beach, Virginia!!  Can't wait! - Marlene Schenck, Business Manager
  • I was gifted an heirloom tomato from a 90 year old man who can no longer garden but wants the variety to continue. They grow to 2-3 lbs or more and my goal this summer is to keep it alive for him and save the seeds to continue the lineage.  - Shelley Martin, Infant Three
  • Celebrating my youngest daughter's graduation from the Creative and Performing Arts High School.  We will be out shopping for college and dorm supplies!  We also hope to spend some time at the beach and visiting my son in North Carolina. - Claudia Geisler, Preschool Four
  • Our summer bucket list was created by our girls and it includes a ton of fun activities including going camping, attending Harry Potter Day at the local library, eating ice cream, going to Gus and Yia Yia's, and spending a week at the beach. I think we can handle that! - Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator

Nutrition Update:
Sources of Important 
Nutrients for Vegetarians

By Amanda Maiello

No matter what type of vegetarian you are, it is important that you choose a variety of foods to get nutrients vegetarians might find themselves deficient in. Five important nutrients for vegetarians and some sources of these nutrients are:
  • Calcium: some vegetarian friendly sources of calcium are fortified cereals, rice or soy milk, broccoli, beans and some leafy green vegetables
  • Iron: fortified cereals, some dark leafy greens, beans and eggs. Including a good cource of vitamin C at meals helps increase iron absorption
  • Protein: beans, whole grains, soy products, nuts, eggs, dairy
  • Vitamin B12: B12 is found in all foods of animal origin, so for vegetarians sources of B12 are dairy, eggs and B12 fortified foods like nutrition yeast, soy milk and cereals
  • Vitamin D: few foods are high in vitamin D but it can be found in vitamin D fortified soy milk, cow milk, orange juice and cereals

News to Know
  • It is our goal to ensure that children engage in active outdoor play every day, weather permitting. In order to be able to run, climb, jump and play safely, sturdy shoes are important. Flip flops, rubber clogs and loose sandals  may catch on objects, cause tripping or fall off increasing the risk of injury for your child. We encourage you to dress your child in safe shoes or provide a safe pair in their bin, for them to wear during active play.
  • Congratulations to Mande Brodzinski, one of our Toddler One teachers, on the birth of her baby girl, Brooke Felicity. Mande delivered Brooke on her birthday - how could you be blessed with a more perfect birthday present? Congratulations to Mande and Steve on their first child!
  • In order to make the maintenance easier on our playhouse on the playground, facilities recommended putting siding on it. The work on this project will begin on Monday, June 6th and is projected to last approximately two weeks. During that time period, they will put up a fence surrounding the playhouse to allow them to work safely while keeping the playground open for the children. 
  • Sometimes the wait time in the parking lot can exceed 10 minutes during peak drop off and pick up times at UCDC. We understand that this can become very frustrating. In order to alleviate this, we're asking that you're very cognizant of how long your vehicle is in our parking lot during the busiest times of 8:30-9:30 am and 4:30-6:00 pm. It's really important that you take the time to talk to your child's teacher about their day and reconnect with your child before leaving. We also understand that families have strong connections with other families and love to reconnect at the end of the day. It's also evident that the weather is beautiful and it's easy to give your child an extra five or ten minutes on the playground. But these few minutes here and there add up and affect our congestion in the parking lot and on Clyde Street. So please be cognizant of the parking lot line as you make decisions about your drop off and pick up routine with your child(ren). Thank you so much in advance!
UCDC Philosophy Explained:
Appreciating Children's Artwork

By Jamie Wincovitch
Paint on Hands
Sometimes the amount of artwork that comes home with your little ones can be overwhelming. Some parents leave the Center will paper literally leaving a trail behind them! You may also occasionally get paper that may only have one paint stoke or line on it.  Or, more likely, with the philosophy at UCDC, you'll get a lot of work that has lots of paint or tape or markers all over it, but nothing that you can make sense of.

At UCDC, we believe in the importance of the process of artwork as opposed to the product that is created. We believe that participating in exploring art should be just that - exploration. The feel of the paint on their hands, the design that is made by the brush or the texture of the clay is that experience that we want to leave them with as opposed to creating something for an aesthetic value to adults. That means that you'll never leave the Center with a pumpkin or a barn or another "craft." More likely, you'll be inundated with all of the other work that is hard to understand.

So, knowing this, how do we show children that their work is valued? Here are some tips to help as you review your child's work with them at the end of a day.
  • Don't label what you think you see. If you tell a child, "I like your house" and it's a dog, you're sending them a message that their work is not recognizable. Instead ask open-ended questions enabling them to express their thoughts or feelings about their work. Also, avoid asking what it is because this makes a child feel like they either have to do art to create a product (when in fact they may have just been enjoying the process as we hope) or they may again feel like their work is unrecognizable.
  • Give specific feedback on their work discussing the colors that they chose or the medium that was used. If you simply say, "That's fantastic!" or "I love it!" you're evaluating their artwork and labeling it when, in fact, you might be wrong. Maybe it's supposed to be scary or sad; if you simply make an observation as opposed to an evaluation, you allow the child to share their thoughts and feelings with you. You may want to ask how they got the idea for their work or if they can tell you about it.
  • If your child is an infant, spend some time talking to their teacher about their artwork. A plain white sheet of paper with one blue paint stroke across it may be their first painting experience at school. Or maybe they typically don't participate and this day they decided to try it out and only tried one time before they deemed they were finished. These experiences are important and your child's teacher can give you a great picture of the child's experience.
So, what if you're one of those parents that ends up with a massive amount of artwork every single day? Here are some ideas of what to do with it after appreciating it with your child...
  • Take pictures of their artwork and use them as your computer screensaver.
  • Make a book out of their artwork.
  • Store their work in Jumbo-sized Ziploc bags and organize them by year.
  • Post their favorites around your home and in your child's room.
  • Frame some special pieces.
  • Send some of their work to their relatives. Grandparents LOVE this!
Hopefully you'll find ways to handle all of the artwork that your little one brings home. We know here at UCDC that they LOVE participating in art experiences and it's part of our every day!

Did You Know?

Did you know that UCDC was awarded a grant from Let's Move Pittsburgh? Read on to learn more!

Let's Move Pittsburgh, a program of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, has announced its 2016 Champion Schools grant recipients, providing 40 Allegheny County education centers with a total of $40,000 in grants to support new and existing health and wellness projects that will affect more than 7,500 local children. These awards were generously funded by the Heinz Endowments.

Champion Schools applicant projects were judged according to need, sustainability and impact. Projects are related to the following themes: Bag the Junk - Increasing Healthy Food and Nutritional Education in Schools, Getting Kids Moving, and Teaching Kids to Grow and Cook Food. The highest scoring applications received up to $1,000 in grant funds to back efforts ranging from the creation of learning gardens, Zumba nights, rollerblading fitness programs and many more creative and exciting initiatives.

The seed grant recipients are: Barrett Elementary, Beth Shalom Early Learning Center, Curtisville Primary Center, Donaldson Elementary School, East Union Intermediate Center, Heritage Out of School Time, Hillcrest Christian Academy, Hugs Away from Home, Jefferson Elementary School, Marshall Elementary School, Mount Lebanon Montessori School and Academy, Mt. Washington Children's Center, Pittsburgh Minadeo Pre-K - 5, Pittsburgh Montessori Pre-K - 5, Propel Pitcairn, Righteous Beginnings Learning Center, Sto-Rox Elementary and Middle School and Washington Elementary School.
Those receiving awards for existing programs are: Angels' Place, Community Day School, Dr. Cleveland Steward Jr. Elementary School, Earthen Vessels Outreach, Environmental Charter School, Greenock Elementary, Linton Middle School/Penn Hills Elementary School, Mon Valley School, Myrtle Avenue Elementary School, Pittsburgh Banksville K - 5, Pittsburgh Linden K - 5, Pittsburgh West Liberty K - 5, Pre-K Counts Founders Hall, Rankin Promise Program, Shady Lane School, Shady Side Academy Junior School, Shaler Area High School, South Fayette Elementary School, Southminster Child Care Center, St. Bernard School, University Child Development Center and Urban Pathways K - 5 College Charter School.

We were awarded a gardening grant that will allow us to do more innovative and different activities with children strengthening the food to table connection. We're so excited for this opportunity! 

A huge thanks goes out to Mary Beth, Joanne, Cheryl P, Samantha, Wendy and Traci for working on the proposal and making this happen!

Preschool Wisdoms

This month, we decided to ask our preschoolers for advice on food. We asked the three and four-year-olds in Preschool Three where they love to eat. Read on to get some great restaurant reviews!

  • Costco, because I like to eat hot dogs. - Makena
  • McDonald's because of their chicken nuggets and fries. - Henry
  • Mad Mex because I get to eat french fries. - Satya
  • Panera because I like pesto. - Lena
  • Texas Roadhouse because I get to eat yummy rolls. - Cole
  • My house because I get to eat cake when I go to San Francisco. -Nolan
  • Pizza Hut because I like all different kinds of pizza. - Mila
  • Target because I get to eat squash there. - Owen
  • Costco because I eat pizza there. - Victor
  • Hot Dog Store because I eat hot dogs. - Jasper
  • Rolls store because I get to eat rolls. - Whitman
  • Mad Mex because I like my Mom to come and eat mac and cheese. - Shay
  • Sharp Edge because I eat french fries. - Frederick
  • Costco's because I eat pizza. - Vivian
  • Daddy's restaurant for the bread. - Sophie
  • The restaurant that they dance at because there's music. - Anna
  • How Lee because there's green beans and rice. - Ryan X.
  • Hokkaido Buffet because there's fried chicken and dumplings. - Ryan L. 

The University Child Development Center | 635 Clyde Street | Pittsburgh | PA | 15260