September 2020
UCDC Developments
Dear Families,

It’s hard to believe we’re back open. It seems like we never left, but in the same breath, it feels like it’s been forever since we walked through the doors at UCDC.

The preparations needed to reopen a childcare center during a pandemic were daunting, ever-changing, and overwhelming. It seems as if the focus would be on the BIG thing (the virus), when all of the focus and energy ended up on the LITTLE things (cleaning, new routines, new roles, etc.) These “little things” in turn became the BIG things!

After many months of learning and planning, we finally opened our doors in August. To be completely honest, after all of the physical preparations of the Center and the work that went into changing the policies and procedures, you’d think we would have been prepared for the feel of the new Center. But, when we finally opened, it was extremely emotional and a little bit shocking. Seeing the child’s bins outside of the classrooms, the extra furniture and soft toys in storage, the COVID signage, and the physical distancing markers on the ground was a constant reminder that things weren’t the same and we weren’t coming back to the old UCDC.

The inability to walk into the classrooms and visit with the children was also gone. And admittedly, this was very hard! BUT, as the Education Coordinator, I am also able to view the Seesaw app in order to get a glimpse of what’s going on in the classrooms every day. This is my favorite part of my every day!!! What I witnessed through the lens of my iPhone was the fact that UCDC IS back! I was able to see the unique creativity of the teachers as the children engaged in experiments, completed art explorations and engaged in creative play. Yes, some of the classroom materials have been reduced and there aren’t as many children, but the play is rich! These teachers took our philosophy and mixed it with the new CDC standards to create a beautiful and developmentally appropriate program. The children are thriving!

And do I see the masks? I do, but they’re no longer my focus of attention. I can see the adventure, the children, the developmental appropriate activities and all the other things that makes childcare quality.

As you drive up to the Center, no longer can you walk into the building, but be assured that the same awesome activities are occurring in a safe way for these unprecedented and uncertain times.
Our amazing teachers have responded in a respectful, appropriate, safe and developmentally appropriate way. They have taken what makes UCDC unique, mixed in the new regulations, and created a valuable and engaging curriculum. The teachers are also learning so much that will stay with them forever and inform their teaching from this point forward. The less structured schedule is inviting more interactions with children and the fewer materials are strengthening the children’s creativity and therefore changing the curricular focus. Life is full of life lessons and this one is definitely teaching us so much about ourselves as educators of young children.

Finally, we couldn’t have done this without the support of YOU! The support of the families makes this so successful. Our new drop off and pick up system is SO different with SO MANY different rules. Thank you for remembering your child signs, staying in your car, remembering your face coverings and all of the other little things we’re asking to make this successful. All of these efforts assist in our ability to remain open. We understand that it’s probably hard to refrain from meeting your little one on the playground where they’re happily playing with their friends, but thank you for your restraint!

We also want to thank the families for their part in this new communication system. The inability to come into your child’s classroom is huge and we want to thank you all for being so responsive to the Zoom calls, Seesaw messages and emails. We’ve always had pride in our strong relationships with families and we want to keep it robust, regardless of the fact that we can’t see you in 3D.

As we navigate each day at UCDC, we’ve learned to pivot quickly and remain flexible while abiding by all the new regulations in order to make this work. This is definitely a learning experience and we’re happy to be in this journey with all of you!

Warmly,
Jamie Wincovitch
Congratulations to Mary, Wendy, Marlene and Cheryl C who all retired on August 31st!!!

Happy Retirement!!!
We'd also like to congratulate Cathy Baier who will be retiring on September 30th!
We would like to take some time to honor Cathy Baier, the Head Teacher from Preschool Three, who will be retiring after almost 19 years at the University Child Development Center.

Cathy has worked as a strong, compassionate, and caring member of Preschool 3 for many years and has made numerous contributions to the team.  She played a part in many of the Center’s unique projects, including our Duksung University partnership, PAUS, and partnering with her UCDC colleagues and center administration to contribute to projects and committees. Cathy was a consummate professional, and enjoyed attending professional development to learn new things about early childhood and children.

More than anything, Cathy has been an amazing teacher and true partner to all of the families that have been in Preschool 3. She always took time to get to know the families and children so that she could best meet their needs and support them as individuals.  She always had a funny or moving story to share to help ease any concerns or worries they might have. And her sense of humor and smile often helped many of us to smile and think happy thoughts!

We will miss Cathy at UCDC for many reasons, but wish her the absolute best on her much deserved retirement from the University.  Congratulations, Cathy!!!
Preschool Wisdoms
We definitely missed being at UCDC are so happy to be back! We wanted to hear what the children love best about being back at UCDC so we asked the children of Preschool Three. Here's their responses:

  • Playing with Benjamin. It's better at UCDC. - Lennox
  • I like to read Jabari Jumps. I like to play with Lennox. - Benjamin
  • Playing with Ellie and Lennox and Benjamin. Riding the bike. My favorite thing is books too. - Zara
  • I like to play the bicycle and I like to read. - Ellie
Be the Change We Need: UCDC Action Group for Diversity

Hello Everyone!

Our committee, Be the Change We Need: UCDC Action Group for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity has been very busy this summer and we started the fall semester with a staff book club. Interested staff read the book, How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. We held two separate book clubs for staff via Zoom. One occurred at the end of August in order to include some very valuable staff that were retiring. A second book club meeting occurred on September 17th for another group of staff.

We are finding the information learned to be extremely helpful as we seek to move beyond a “non-racist” attitude to becoming, instead, true advocates for antiracism in our society. Too often, these terms are thought to be equal when, in fact, being non-racist is typically about your attitude and outlook while being an antiracist is about your actions and confronting the bias you see in the world. As early educators, this is especially important to us as we seek to build a culture where all children learn to value their differences, their family cultures, and all that they can bring to this world to make us better. 

We are also sharing articles within our teaching teams to help us think more about diversity and inclusion. This summer the entire center read, Becoming Upended: Teaching and Learning About Race and Racism with Young Children and Their Families (NAEYC’s Young Children magazine, May 2018). We then discussed the article and how it relates to our work within our teaching teams. 

We are committed to offering both mandatory and non-mandatory activities to staff, as well as providing information and opportunities to families to join in as well in the future!
UCDC Art Gallery

UCDC Philosophy
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.