Parenting- one of the toughest jobs you'll ever love. One of the only jobs that does not come with a rule book, directions or instructions on how to do the best job possible. Will we all make mistakes? Of course we will. Will we still put forth great effort and do a wonderful job? Yes, we will. Will we in retrospect wish at some point that we did something different or did more or in fact maybe have done less? Based on my own experiences, that answer is a resounding yes!
I've been a parent and a teacher for many years and one thing that I know for certain, both of those jobs are getting harder to do. With the changing landscape in the world - everything from nutrition, social media, illnesses, safety and other areas of concern, things are very different than they were when we were young children. Our parents and grandparents had hardship and challenges, but they were certainly around very different areas and had very different sets of consequences. In one way, things were much simpler, but in some ways they were also much harder.
With the on-set of "just google it," we all have access to so much more information and so many more opinions than our parents ever did. I honestly don't know if having more information is a good thing or a bad thing. It's definitely confusing. And it can honestly make it feel as though sometimes we are not doing such a good job at parenting or raising our kids. Seeing what everyone else does and hearing what everyone else thinks can be overwhelming. Parenting books, articles, websites, blogs, chat rooms, magazines, social media, internet. You name it and you can find information on it. What you choose to do or not do with that information is the important piece of the puzzle.
A very wise person recently said to me - "you only have one chance with your children, make good choices." I've been thinking about our discussion and that comment for a few weeks now. It really rings true - there often aren't any do-overs with our children. We set the stage, we determine the limits and we are the example. We build the foundation and assess the expectations and the consequences. We have the chance to help children become good citizens, good neighbors and good friends. We have the chance to show children compassion, empathy and patience. We also have the chance to show children how to love and accept and not judge. Take your chance and do great things with it. Show your child and help them to be the best that they can be.
Parenting might be the hardest job you'll ever do but it's the best job you'll ever have.
Curriculum in the Classroom
Cooking with Infant Four
In Infant Four, one of our children's favorite activities is cooking. From measuring and scooping to mixing and pouring, our children love to get involved in whatever food-preparation opportunities we offer them!
Our children use all their senses in the baking process, usually touching the powdery flour with their fingers, smelling the cinnamon, and taking a taste of the pumpkin. They use a potato masher to mix all the ingredients together, and they work hard to turn the crank on the small mixer. They use spoons to transfer ingredients from one bowl to another, balancing it carefully and trying not to spill. We talk about units of measure while scooping "one cup" or "two teaspoons."
Getting children involved in preparing healthy foods teaches them where their food comes from and instills healthy eating habits from the start. Try this fall recipe at home with your family. It was a hit in Infant Four!
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal Cups
Makes 12 cups
2 cups oats
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup any milk
¾ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce (OR 1 egg)
¼ cup brown sugar
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Scoop into a greased muffin tin. Bake at 350*F for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are just set.
Let cool and enjoy!
Katie Anglin, one of our beloved infant teachers that just left to be a stay-at-home-mother, wanted to share this recipe that is a favorite of her family.
Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup non fat or low fat milk
2 TBS grated onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 cups (8 oz) grated cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like)
4 cups whole wheat elbow noodles cooked (8oz uncooked)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tbs melted butter or olive oil
pinch of salt, pepper, and paprika
Preheat the oven to 350. In a bowl, mix the egg through the ground pepper until mixed. Add in the cheese and mix, then fold in the cooked noodles. Spread into a greased 2 quart casserole pan and pat down to evenly fill the pan. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, butter and salt, pepper, and paprika. Sprinkle over the pasta and cover the pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes and uncover and bake another five minutes or until the bread crumbs brown.
*We like to use this as a base but add in veggies and meat. Our favorite is sauteed spinach and ham!
Spotlight on Staff
This month, we inquired about our staff's viewing habits and asked, "What was the last movie you saw in the theater? At home?"
- The last movie I saw in the theater was The Secret Life of Pets with my girls. At home, it was "The Beginning of Life." This was a must-see documentary about the impact of a child's early environment on their social, emotional and cognitive development. They were both great films! - Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator
- I can't remember the last adult movie that I went to, but we recently went to see the Stork Movie which was pretty cute! - Ammie Ribarchak, Preschool One
- Fathom Events has this great thing where they show older movies once a month in local theaters, complete with an introduction by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, if you're lucky! So, the last one I saw was Ferris Bueller's Day Off in celebration of its 30th anniversary. But by the time you read this, I will have surely seen Young Frankenstein! - Shelley Martin, Infant Three
- Saw Bad Moms at the theater... and just watched Zootopia again! Or for the third time... - Ammie Buettner, Substitute Teacher
- Zootopia was the last movie I saw in the movie theater and at home! With the kids of course! - Heidi Kalsani, Infant One
- I hadn't been to movies forever but recently saw Miss Pergrine's Home for Peculiar Children in 3D. It was interesting. At home, Pitch Perfect 2. I really like Anna Kendrick! - Mary Beth McCulloch, Director
- Theater - Straight Outta Compton. At home - Hmmm, I think Beerfest - Emily Marsh, Preschool Two
The last movie I saw in the theater was "GhostBusters" (2016 version) and the last one I watched at home was "Elvis and Nixon." - Cathy Baier, Preschool Three
Welcome to UCDC!
This past month, we've welcomed two new teachers into our UCDC family. Kelly Breit and Courtney Mullen are both in our Infant Two classroom. Read on to learn more about these two new teachers!
"My name is Kelly Breit and I am very excited for the opportunity to work here at UCDC in the Infant Two Classroom! I graduated from California University of PA. When I am not at work I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking up new recipes, visiting my brother at WVU or binge watching a show on Netflix. I'm a HUGE Pittsburgh sports fan and love watching all the games and attending as many as possible. I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know all of you as I continue my career here at UCDC!"
"Hello, I'm Courtney. I just moved to Pittsburgh last July from Boston and am loving the new area I'm in. I have worked professionally with children for the last four years. I love working with children and watching them grow and develop. Can't wait to get to know everyone!"
- UCDC will be closed on Wednesday, Novebmer 23rd for a Professional Development Day for the teachers and staff. We will also be closed on Thursday and Friday of that week for Thanksgiving Recess.
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
for a list of spaces around campus.
- On Friday, November 18th, we will have a group of visitors coming to preschool classrooms to do a hand hygiene demonstration using Glo-Germ with the children. The Pennsylvania Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine will also be reading a story to the children following the demonstration. We are looking forward to our visit!
UCDC Philosophy Explained: Digital Media in Childcare
By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator
Technology is everywhere, literally everywhere. At the grocery store, in the library, at the gas station...even in the public restrooms! It makes life easier in so many ways (and harder in others).
The American Academy of Pediatrics have just changed their screen time recommendations for the first time in 17 years. Previously, they recommended that children under age two have no screen time at all. They have just lowered this age to 18 months with an exception of live video chatting (i.e. the benefits of seeing grandma and grandpa are great!). They are stressing that using screens with this young of a child requires the screen time to be
with an adult, interacting. The new recommendations also redefined limiting screen time to exclude limiting screens used for homework or other educational tasks and only limiting "recreational screen time."
Admittedly, this can be difficult. Screens are so portable now and convenient. It's easy to soothe a cranky toddler with a cell phone or quiet an impatient preschooler with your iPad and this may happen often on any given day. There may also be a screen in your van that your child watches on the way home from school as part of their routine. All of this adds up!
At UCDC, we believe that technology is a part of today's child's world and we teach them to use it in meaningful ways. It's awesome to see a toddler's face when you show them the Pittsburgh bald eagles via live streaming. Or when a preschooler inquires about how dog's drink and you can show them this happening in slow motion (this is a great
, even for adults!). Technology is changing so quickly and our children are growing up in this world where change is normal for them. We want to provide an environment that teaches them to use technology as a tool to gain information, learn new skills and experience what they can't hands on. Our children are very fortunate to be growing up in a technology rich environment - it's our job to make it meaningful for them and with them.
Tudor, Hanling and Ava
Curious to know what 4 and 5-year-olds consider challenging? This month, we asked the children in Preschool Four what the hardest thing was that they have had to learn. Here's their answers:
Swimming - Tudor
Getting up on the monkey bars - Cole
Gymnastics - Emerson R.
Being silly - Vivian
Catching leaves - Emerson L.
Swimming - Hanling
Reading books to my sister - Victor
Running fast - Sullivan
Riding a two-wheeler - Ruby
Swimming - Ava
Swimming with goggles - Arkady
Singing - Makena
Being silly - Andrew
Painting pottery - Emma
Knowing numbers - Jesse
I'm good at lots of things! I'm a good runner! - Peter
Playing with my friends - Molly
I'm very good at making secrets for people - Alice
UCDC utilizes a child centered, extended family approach that is fostered by supporting the developmental needs of all children. We foster children's self esteem, creative abilities, sense of belonging and success by implementing a developmentally appropriate curriculum based on NAEYC and Keystone STARS standards, through a play-based approach to learning. We support families and partner with them to provide an environment that welcomes their collaboration and supports both cultural and family preferences.