September 2017
Director's Corner
Grateful.  A very small but powerful word.

The definition of grateful is " warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful."  With so much happening in the United States and abroad, I am increasingly grateful for the many things that I have and for the many things that have happened or are happening in my life.

I am especially grateful for my family and the comfort of knowing that they are close by and safe. I recently spent the weekend with my family at our cottage in Slippery Rock. My parents built the cottage almost 65 years ago. I share it with my siblings and their children and it was a wonderful place to grow up. We have many friends and other family members that also have cottages there and some have four generations of families that spend time together in the summer. I know that many of our UCDC families do not have relatives or family members in Pittsburgh. That's one of the reasons that it's so important for us to utilize an extended family approach to taking care of the children and families that spend their days with us.

It is raining and chilly outside while I type this and I am thinking about the many families that are experiencing severe weather related disasters and challenges. We sometimes have our struggles with the weather in Pittsburgh, but the severe weather that family members and friends might be experiencing recently leaves me speechless and concerned for everyone that has had to endure the hardships that are associated with it. As you can imagine, it is especially difficult for young children to understand when devastation strikes and the normal and typical things that they know are suddenly gone and changed. The news and internet show increasingly graphic images of the things that are happening and children can be exposed to these which can cause them to be scared and worried for their own safety. Children also sense when their parents or family members are sad or concerned.  If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, "What do you think happened?" If the answer is, "I don't know," then the simplest reply might be something like, "I'm sad about the news and I'm worried. But I love you, and I'll take care of you and keep you safe."

Here are a few resources that you might be interested in exploring as resources for families:
This also might also be a time to help children understand how acts of kindness and generosity can help people in need. There are many ways to show your kindness and to help children be a part of the generosity. Helping your children understand the relationship between being grateful for what you have and showing kindness to those in need is a wonderful message to instill in children at a young age. 
Curriculum in the Classroom
Moving and Grooving with Toddler Three

Summertime brought us hot temperatures and rainy afternoons. There was no control over the weather but that didn't keep Toddler Three from having fun in the classroom! The best way for our toddlers to let out energy is having dance parties. The playlist consists of anything from "The Yellow Submarine " by The Beatles to the soundtrack from the top Disney movie, Moana ("How Far I'll Go"). 

There is not a time in our room that music is not present. The morning offers a mix of music that plays throughout the day. At nap time, soft music is playing to help the children to relax.  Some days, our children have the chance to listen to SongBank, which is composed of nursery rhythms where they sing-a-long, clap hands to the beat or act out motions to the songs. Also, our class marches to "The Bean Bag Parade" or to "We Are the Dinosaurs." Some of our toddlers enjoy dressing up and acting like the characters from movies like Frozen and singing to the soundtrack. Chances are they might partner up and dance together.  We offer streamers and blow bubbles. The only thing missing is a Disco ball! 

Recently, the children engaged in an art project using spin art. With the use of an old record player, paper was cut into a circle and children held markers as the turn table spun. Our toddlers were so interested in what this box thing was. We talked about how the record player plays music. 

Technology of playing music has changed in so many ways. Our room has a CD player, a tape player and an iPod and dock. No matter what method is used to play our music, we are always moving and grooving. Come and join our dance parties!

Good Eats

Tacos are usually a hit with children! Here's a recipe shared by Nikki Miller, a teacher from Toddler One.


3 cups of flour 
1/4 cup of shortening or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of water
Combine dry ingredients and oil until crumbs form.  Mix in water, roll into ball, flour until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.
Divide into 12 balls of equal size then using rolling pin flatten into circles.
Heat on high heat in a nonstick pan, flipping to 'cook' both sides.
Taco Seasoning
Brown 1 lb of ground meat cooked with 1 clove of minced garlic and 1/2 an onion 

Then stir in:
1 Tablespoon of cumin
1 Tablespoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of red hot sauce
UCDC Art Gallery

Professional Development Day

We are very lucky to be able to have three Professional Development Days (PDD) per year for our teachers and staff here at UCDC. This past August was our most recent PDD and during this day, we spent a lot of time working in teams and planning for the future here at UCDC.

Immediately following breakfast, we all engaged in an early morning session with Cheryl Johnson, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources where she discussed our achievements from this past year, the Plan for Pitt, as well as Pitt's Total Rewards program. She also discussed all of the changes in the Human Resources Department and how these exciting changes benefit the employees of the University of Pittsburgh. Following this session, Marlene "showered" the teachers with knowledge on emergency preparedness in order to keep all of us up-to-date on our various emergency plans.  Afterwards, a representative from the Benefits Department came to give the teachers and staff an overview of the benefits package as well as answer the many questions about education benefits and retirement. The morning concluded with some classroom work that included teacher meetings, organization and preparation for the new influx of children that occurs every fall.

Lunch (a delicious taco bar!) was followed by a large group discussion surrounding how the Plan for Pitt impacts us here at UCDC and how these initiatives can be translated into our daily work. Teachers brainstormed and worked in both large and small groups to come up with diverse and plentiful ideas. The day ended with more classroom work and teacher meetings.

Every Professional Development Day leaves us with a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction as well as excitement for new work to come!
Department of Human Services Inspection
On August 24th and 25th, two representatives from the Department of Human Services (DHS) were at UCDC to conduct our annual state inspection. As in years past, we did quite well, all files and paperwork were perfect and only a few very minor issues occurred in classrooms which were able to be corrected during their inspection. UCDC will receive our renewed license in a few weeks.  

Great job to all staff and the teachers for always being in compliance and for having another successful inspection!  Our inspectors, Joyce and Scott, had lovely things to say about the center and the work that the staff do every day. 
Upcoming Student/Faculty Visits to UCDC
  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education class that takes place in our conference room every Thursday from 4:30-7:00.
  • Applied Developmental Psychology students observing in infant and toddler classrooms between October 2nd-November 3rd.
  • Experimental Child Psychology students observing in Preschool classrooms October 5th and 12th.
Maureen Sahr - 30 Years at Pitt

Warm wishes go out to Maureen Sahr of Toddler Two.  Maureen celebrated 30 years of working at UCDC on September 1st!  Maureen was with the center when they moved from Carlow University to Bellefield Hall and was part of the big move to Clyde Street.  We are extremely grateful for her dedication and her continued presence here at UCDC.  Congratulations!!
"A hug" - Bode
Preschool Wisdoms

We all experience moments of sadness in life and it's best when you can figure out how to find ways to comfort yourself. We polled the 3-4 year olds in Preschool Three to find out how they deal with moments of sadness by asking them:

What makes you happy when you're sad?
  • A hug - Bode
  • Daddy and Mommy - Luca
  • My Mom - Sophia
  • Owen - Simon
  • My mom - Juan
  • Cathy - Jamie
  • A hug and Mommy hugs me - Naomi
  • Brother hugs me - Divya
  • Playing "cat" - Lincoln
  • Ice pack - Owen
  • Cars and dinosaurs - Oskar
  • Mommy - Amanda
  • Something silly makes me laugh - Hattie
  • Owen - Jackson
  • Giving hugs - Troy
  • A drum - Ogust
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 |