December 2017
Director's Corner

Driving in to work last week, someone on the radio was having a discussion about finding one's purpose and passion in life. I started to think about myself but also about my daughter. I recall a few years ago when she and I had a discussion about that exact thing. She asked me how a person finds what they are passionate about. I remember thinking at the time that it was a very complex question and also thinking I wasn't quite sure if I had ever found something that I was passionate about. I like a lot of things (reading for pleasure, music, gardening, painting) and I'm fairly good at some things, but I wouldn't necessarily say that I am passionate about them (I'm passionate about chocolate and cake, but I think that might be something entirely different).

I also recall thinking that having a true purpose is different than loving your job. I love what I do and I more than enjoy coming to work every day. My colleagues, the parents and especially the children make what I do each day rewarding and valuable. Is it my purpose in life?  Do I have a higher, deeper purpose? This is a topic that is worth exploring a bit more. 

As we traverse the goals of parenthood, I think that modeling passion and purpose for your children is probably one of things that we can do to help children ultimately find what they are passionate about and possibly their true purpose. Modeling your enthusiasm and commitment to a cause, a talent or an enjoyable activity is probably as important as giving your children their own opportunities to experience many different things.  

It's definitely food for thought and a topic worth exploring.

Mary Beth
Curriculum in the Classroom
Toddler One

Art is an important part of the Toddler One classroom each day. Through daily free art creations, the children develop their fine motor, cognitive, math, social and language skills. The toddlers seem to have a sense of emotional satisfaction when they are involved in making and creating art, whether they are modeling with clay or play-dough, drawing with crayons or markers, painting with watercolors or tempera paint or making a collage with scraps. The children have opportunities to choose and decide what materials they will use and this may be one of their first opportunities to make independent choices and decisions.  

A few skills that toddlers practice when they participate in art activities:
  • Fine motor skills:Grasping pencils, crayons, chalk and paintbrushes helps children develop their fine motor muscles. This development will help children with repeated opportunities for practice gaining confidence in their use of tools for making art and later for writing, buttoning a coat and other tasks that require controlled movements.
  • Cognitive development:  Art can help children learn and practice skills like patterning and cause and effect (If they push very hard with a crayon/marker, the color is darker.). They can also practice critical thinking skills by making a plan for what they intend to create and following through on their plan.
  • Math skills: Children learn, create and begin to understand concepts like size, shape, making comparisons, counting and spatial reasoning.
  • Language skills: As children describe and share their artwork, as well as their process, they develop language skills. Asking open-ended questions and carrying on a conversation using and learning new vocabulary words relating to their creation.

Lost and Found

It's that time of year again when mittens and hats mysteriously go missing! Please check out our clothesline of Lost and Found in then entryway of UCDC for any missing items.

  • UCDC will be closed from Friday, December 22nd, 2017 through Monday, January 1st, 2018. Please enjoy your Winter Break with your family!
  • UCDC will also be closed on Monday, January 15th in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 
  • We are happy to host students from Duksung Women's University once again this year during January and February. The students will be in Preschool One and Preschool Two this year and we look forward to this experience!
UCDC Philosophy Explained

The spirit of the holidays is all around us and it's a wonderful time of the year! Everywhere you look there are preparations for this holiday season.  So, why don't we celebrate with the children here at UCDC?  This is a great question with much support behind our conscience decision to omit holiday celebrations with the children here at UCDC. While we choose not to celebrate in the traditional way that is often associated with early childhood, we will talk about anything that children want to talk about and we will listen to all of the exciting information that they want to share with us about the things they do with their family and friends. 

Some of the reasons we choose to not celebrate here at UCDC include:
  • Holidays can drive a curriculum. At UCDC, our curriculum is child-centered and driven by the children's interests, milestone development and needs. If we followed the calendar of holidays to drive our curriculum (making sure to celebrate all of the holidays important to every represented culture here at UCDC), there would be no room for allowing the child to lead.
  • Holidays are typically rooted in something deeper than young children can understand.
  • Holidays may have a religious component to them and we refrain from teaching religion here at UCDC.
  • A lot of holidays celebrate with junk food. As you all know, a big part of our curriculum is healthy eating.
  • Some of the holidays are confusing! It's hard to explain Groundhog's Day to children (and adults that may not be familiar).
  • In order to touch on every holiday, we would be celebrating at least once a week! And in order to cut down on that, how would we decide which ones are most important to celebrate?
  • Some of the holidays feature beliefs that some families choose not to introduce to their children (the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, etc.).
While there are reasons not to celebrate in a childcare center with very young children, there are many reasons to celebrate at home with your family. This is a joyous time of year where families engage in traditions, enjoy time spent together and make lots and lots of wonderful memories. We hope your holiday season is full of joy as you spend this time with the ones you love.

Happy Holidays!

Preschool Wisdoms

We all have fond memories of our childhood. This month, we wanted the current preschoolers to reflect on the best thing about being a kid!

  • "Going to the Chancellor's for Christmas." - Owen
  • "Not dying" - Quinn
  • "Playing" - Sophie, Lexy and Youhang
  • "My shirt. I love my house made of fabric." - Zach
  • "Fun" - Aurora
  • "Playing babies" - Marina
  • "Being healthy" - Anna
  • "Playing with friends" - Grace
  • "Go to school" - Nick
  • "I like playing with Owen." - Holden
Our Philosophy

Markers on Hands 7.11
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.

University Child Development Center | University of Pittsburgh
412.383.2100 |