Happy Spring! What a lovely time of the year for the children at UCDC. Getting the opportunity to play and learn on the playground, take walks in our neighborhood and explore nature and all the season has to offer provides many wonderful opportunities for the children.
We are currently processing our plant sale orders and the sale is proving to be a huge success. Delivery day will be a new experience for us, and we will be sending out SPECIFIC instructions for parking and pick up on that day (Friday May 5th). We hope that you will be pleased with your purchases and that you enjoy planting with your children!
Speaking of planting, we are immersed in our own gardening process, which includes continued implementation of our Lets Move Pittsburgh gardening grant.
We will be trying a new gardening technique on the playground called Straw Bale Gardening and we are very excited about this unique gardening process. We have also put together our composter and will begin to pilot gathering compostable materials from three of our classrooms. We will also be sending home information for families about opportunities to compost with us and ways that you will be able to help us in our gardening ventures here at UCDC.
Finally, our grant group (Samantha Baird, Cheryl Petro, Joanne Stiller, Jamie Wincovitch and myself) will be attending an event at Phipp's Conservatory 5-2-1-0 Speaker Series. Each school that receives that grant creates a large poster to display at the Champion Schools Poster Session. There are opportunities to share how they have implemented the grant funding to carry out their goals and objectives and discuss their process with other schools and attendees at the event. We are very excited to have the opportunity to share what we've done and what we have learned so far.
Keep an eye out for more updates on all of our spring activities here at UCDC and enjoy the beautiful and warm days with your family.
Curriculum in the Classroom
In Infant One, our children have recently been interested in reading and finger plays. Reading books and practicing finger plays presents many opportunities for the child to learn with the teacher and develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as their comprehension of language and literacy.
Some of the current favorite books are "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes," "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," and "Ring around the Rosie." While reading takes us away to a different time and place, the children have started to learn different signs, gestures and movements that go along with the books. While expanding their language and comprehension through reading and singing, our children are also able to present their gross and fine motor skills through finger play and dancing. While singing "Ring around the Rosie," the children will join hands with each other and start moving around in a circle using sideways steps. At the end of the song, the children fall to the ground and laugh. They also practice their gross motor skills while reading "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." Through the pictures, the children are able to learn to identify the different body parts while moving their arms up and down in the direction of the body part that is being talked about. While singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," the children have begun to move their fingers practicing their fine motor movements that go along with the song. After finishing the book, many times the children would say "more" over and over again. Through repetition of reading the books to the children, they come to recognize letters, language, rhythm, tone and gestures.
Reading also provides the perfect opportunity for the children and the teachers to bond. It promotes togetherness, conversation and a comfortable learning experience for the children.
This recipe is a favorite of one of our preschool teachers, Cathy Baier. Sounds light and delicious!
1 spaghetti squash
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 small onion, diced
2 diced garlic cloves
1 T olive oil
2 cups marinara sauce
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and pulp. Place it in a glass baking dish with about ½ inch water, rind side up. (or can microwave on high 8-10 minutes per half). Bake 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees.
Separate strands by running a fork through from stem to stem. Place strands in a separate bowl. In medium frying pan saute broccoli, onion, garlic, and oil until vegetables are crisp tender. Add squash and heat thoroughly. Serve topped with heated marinara.
Spotlight on Staff
Everyone loves good music! We wanted to find out what kind of music the teachers at UCDC prefer. Read on to find out what's on their playlists!
- My playlist has a little of everything, mostly country, but there also a tad of soft rock, a few songs from musicals and Disney movies, a few from Andrea Bocelli and a song from Kermit the Frog. I love listening to music mostly because it reminds me a special time or someone I love. - Cheryl Petro, Preschool One
- I always have to have Backstreet Boys, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, and Sam Hunt on my playlist. - Kelly Breit, Infant Two
- A LOT. I'll give you five songs I've listened to more than once in the past week. Kiss - Strutter, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons - Let's Hang On, 88 Fingers Louie - Tomorrow Starts Today, Karen Carpenter - Superstar, and Alice Cooper - Elected - Emily Marsh, Preschool Two
- It's hard to narrow it down! I like a variety: the music of the play "Hamilton," Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Lecrae, tobyMac, Mandisa, Pharrell Williams, Amy Grant, Sheryl Crow, Steven Curtis Chapman, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Mercy Me, Casting Crowns and the list goes on... - Cathy Baier, Preschool Three
- Lately it's been lots of Leon Bridges. Or whatever Alexa decides I should be listening to... - Amanda Sloan, Toddler Three
Lost and Found
Do any of these belong to you? Random mittens, a striped scarf and an adorable stuffed puppy? They are hanging in the entryway waiting to be reunited with their owners!!!
Professional Development Day
This past Professional Development Day (PDD) was full of collaboration and activity! UCDC is a member of the Pittsburgh Alliance of University Schools along with Falk, the Cyert Center of CMU, the Children's School of CMU and Carlow's Campus School. Together, we work to create professional opportunities for each other and the greater community. This is the first year of the collaborative and as a kick-off, we each hosted an Open House with a theme that allowed colleagues to mingle while learning about each other and our schools. April will be our turn to host and our topic is "Teamwork and Collaboration."
In preparation for this event, each classroom team worked together to create activities for our our colleagues that highlight teamwork and collaboration. They also each created a presentation of how they collaborate with other adults (parents, the University, colleagues, therapists and many others). These presentations are amazing and the teams worked very hard on them during their time together on PDD.
We also spent time on PDD learning about working with therapists successfully in a way that fosters collaboration and communication.
This day sounds like it was all work, but we did have some fun! We engaged in team building activities with the whole staff. We truly have an amazing group of individuals that work at UCDC!
Closing Early on Thursday, April 27th
UCDC will be closing at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 27th in order to allow our teachers to prepare for our Pittsburgh Alliance of University Schools (PAUS) event that evening. Please plan to pick up your child by 5:00 on that day. Thanks for your cooperation!
The Week of the Young Child
April 24th-28th is the Week of the Young Child! At UCDC, we plan to celebrate all week with families and children. The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world's largest early childhood education association. The purpose of this week-long celebration is to focus public attention on young children and their needs. It is also to recognize early childhood programs that meet the needs of young children. You can look forward to some fun activities in your child's classroom during this week and we'd also love to hear how you celebrate at home.
If a preschooler could have a superpower, what would it be? The 4 and 5-year-olds in Preschool Four have a pretty good idea of what super power they would want.
- Moving fast - Hanling
- Fire - Victor
- Spider webs - Sully
- Lasers - Andy
- Shock - Alice
- Sending princesses - Emma
- Strong superpowers like Superman - Arkady
- Flying with super speed - Ruby
- Seeing through things - Molly
- Flying through the sky and seeing things with powerful eyes - Emmy
- Flying - Ava
- Love like a cupid fairy - Makena
- Flying in lava - Cole
- Light up socks so I could jump over things - Tudor
- I would touch the sky and fly. - Vivian
- Lightning - Emerson
- I'm really fast and strong. - Peter
- Fast - Jesse
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.