October 2016
Director's Corner

As we should, most of what we write in the newsletter is about children.  This month I wanted to share something that a very wise and compassionate teacher shared with me that applies more to the grownups who take care of, nurture and love children here and at home. In the bestselling book, The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz speaks about four principles that I find refreshing and not so much about self- help as they are about good common sense and how to be a truly genuine person.  Chances are you'll be able to apply these principles in your own life or share them with others, creating a more positive environment for children and adults.  In this ever changing world that we call home, the challenges and struggles to live together in unity are becoming increasingly difficult.  Hopefully these agreements can help as you navigate through your day.

The Four Agreements are:
  1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don't Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.
  3. Don't Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
Children are quite impressionable and as role models, we have a responsibility to help them be the best that they can be, by always doing our best.  By showing children, rather than telling them, we can help them grow into responsible, caring individuals who will make a difference in the world as they get older.

Mary Beth
Curriculum in the Classroom
Preschool Four

One of our teachers in Preschool 4 attended a work shop on "Big Body Play." The workshop taught the importance of big body play and discussed ways to integrate it into our classroom curriculum.

Big body play is...

  • Friends jumping on and off the climber.
  • A group of children playing tag or chase on the playground.
  • Racing a friend to the finish line.
Big body play is important for multiple reasons. It goes without saying that it supports a child's physical development but equally important it supports their emotional thinking, social awareness and language skills.

At UCDC, it is our philosophy to plan classroom activities based on our children's interests. So...what do you get when you add art and big body play together? SCOOTER ART! Many of our friends love to create art and ride scooters so we decided to offer a collaborative project combining the best of both worlds. The children worked in pairs to create art through motion.  
The biggest challenge was figuring out how to regulate their own bodies in order to hold up and move their partner's body. The child doing the drawing had to use language skills to tell their partner to push, pull, spin, go faster or slower depending on what they wanted to accomplish with the markers. One child noticed if he moved his arms out to the side while spinning he created a really large pattern of circles. One of the students moved her arms up and down like wings on a bird fluttering through the sky.

Preschool 4 enjoyed working together while learning about motion through art!

"Play is the highest form of research." -Albert Einstein

Good Eats

This recipe is a favorite of Christina's family (Head Teacher in Toddler Four). She notes, "it's quick and easy and everybody loves it!"

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

1 pack cream cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
1/2 cup cream chicken
1 cup (your choice) frozen veggies
1 cup shredded chicken
Two packs of crescent rolls
Place crescent rolls in muffin tins
Mix all other ingredients then fill muffin tins. Bake for 30 min at 350

Spotlight on Staff

This month, we thought we'd find out a little more about our staff's reading habits. So, we questioned about the current book that is absorbing their free time. Read on to find out who loves what genre.

  • I'm currently reading The Happy Sleeper. -Katie Anglin, Infant Four (and new mother)
  • I like to have several books on hand at once so I'm currently reading: First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower; Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Deepak Chopra; Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo; the Bible - Cathy Baier, Preschool Three
  • The book I am currently reading is More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. When my friend let me borrow Harry Potter and the Cursed Child I saw the Scary Stories set on her shelf and I had to reread them! I remember bits and pieces and the combination of macabre illustration and storytelling is still just as scary as when I was a kid. - Jocelyn Myers, office
  • Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian - Shelley Martin, Infant Three
  • We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut 1988-2001 by Eric Davidson (lead singer of The New Bomb Turks) - Emily Marsh, Preschool Two
Lost and Found

A tiny lost puppy
Binoculars found in the parking lot
Do any of these items belong to you or your child?

 If so, they are in the front office - please claim them!
A ring (adult sized) 
UCDC Art Gallery
Crayon Art by Toddler One
Sunflower Painting by Emmy (Preschool 4)
Stick Painting by Divya (Toddler 3)
String Art by Holden (Preschool 1)
Welcome to UCDC!

We'd like to welcome LaToya Bundy to UCDC as the newest teacher in Toddler One. LaToya has an abundance of experience, but I'll let you read on to learn what she'd like you to know about her.

My name is LaToya Bundy and I am very excited about this job opportunity that I have been given at UCDC!  I have worked with children for the last 15+ years and love every minute of it!  I graduated from California University of PA. When I'm not at work, I LOVE spending time with my family. I've been married to my husband, Michael, for 19 years and we have three boys that keep us on our toes daily!  In my spare time, you can usually find me chauffeuring my children to and from their sporting events, cheering them on at every game and cooking! And, there's never enough food in my house to feed these growing men of mine, so I live at the grocery store!:) I am looking forward to continuing this career path at UCDC and look forward to meeting and getting to know you all!
  • This is the time of year that illness is spread easily and quickly, especially in childcare. Please make sure that you are keeping your children home when they are sick in order to help eliminate the spread of illness. We also ask that your child is fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications before returning to childcare. In order to try and stay healthy, take as many precautions as possible this time of year. Washing hands frequently, getting a flu shot, drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest all help to keep illnesses at bay.
  • We have a lot of observers in the Center from a variety of classes at the University. The observations vary in length and will continue throughout the fall. 
UCDC Philosophy Explained
By Jamie Wincovitch, Education Coordinator

Question: How is UCDC preparing my child to be a good student in elementary school?

As my kids are now both in elementary school, I get to see a big difference in the decreased level of activity, the paperwork that they bring home and the testing that happens so regularly (mostly for the 3rd grader). Although, with all of this being said, they are both thriving in this environment. My Kindergartner loves that she has her own seat in class and various folders and mailboxes that belong to her. She enjoys the routine and "work times" that happen in a Kindergarten classroom. My 3rd grader loves to take tests. She thinks it's fun to answer all the questions of things she's learned. She also enjoys reading for hours on end and learning anything and everything that is presented to her. I'm so grateful for this and I believe they had the best preparation for it by attending UCDC. 

This sounds like a paradox, doesn't it? Read on...

There's so much pressure for kids to succeed and do and be. There's so much emphasis on "getting them ready" for what's to come. But in this case, getting kids ready for elementary school DOES NOT involve practicing what they'll do in elementary school. It's a different phase of life and a completely different experience. Preparing them means letting them play. Preparing them means teaching them to get along with others. Preparing them means showing them respect for the phase of life that they are in and embracing it. All of this happens at UCDC.

If you were told that we would experience a famine next month, would you start starving yourself today? If a severe drought was predicted, would you stop watering your flowers now? The answer is obvious and the same is true for children. We shouldn't give them worksheets and force them to sit in seats for long periods of time now because they will experience this in the future. We should give them choices and freedoms. We should provide them with ample time to play and use their own imagination. They will gravitate towards enjoying what's to come, but there's no sense in making them do it now when there are way more important things that should be happening in a young child's life.

I think Rae Pica said it best..."Childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood, nor is it a race. It is a separate, unique, and very special phase of life."
"A boat at my house."
Preschool Wisdoms

We were curious what the younger preschoolers of Preschool One would wish for if they could have anything in the world. Here are some highlights:
  • A toy dinosaur
  • A boat at my house
  • My own car
  • Frozen stuff
  • A new dino soft toy
  • To be a mermaid
  • A doggie
  • Mommy giving me a moose
  • My momma
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 | www.ucdc.pitt.edu