Green office certificateJanuary 9, 2019 - The Center for Young Children is proud to announce they have attained the highest award of Platinum from the Office of Sustainability's Green Office program.  Vera Wiest, leader of CYC sustainaibility efforts, is featured in the video on the Office of Sustainability's Green Office page. This program is offered to all offices on campus and involves completing lists of actions to show commitment to sustainable practices. There are now four levels of awards starting with Bronze and ending with Platinum. CYC is one of the first to receive the Platinum status by showing how its office goes beyond the Green Office program's specified actions. The CYC has a Green Committee that incudes all staff, some PTP members, some UMD students, and the entire Blue Room kindergarten class. Some of the actions taken by the CYC include, collecting plastic bags for recycling, becoming a Maryland Green School, composting, growing a vegetable garden, using reusable plates and utensils for office events, and having a staff salad bar Monday. The Platinum award will last for two years.

"True sustainability happens when it is embedded into our core operation and part of everyone’s job. The Green Office program engages everyone in taking steps towards a more sustainable future."  ~ from the Green Office Program web site. 

Teacher on a log with childrenDecember 2018 – Renovation Solutions, a company that does construction and remodeling, donated some cross cut logs to the CYC playground. Children are using the pieces to create obstacle courses, balance beams, seesaws, bridges, tables, and many other creations. A big thank you to Peter Garvin for this new addition to the playground. The same week, Bob Wiest donated a mud kitchen he had made. A mud kitchen is essentially a table with a salvaged sink in it for children to created mud pies etc. Children were delighted with the new items that enhanced their play on the playground. The CYC is a big proponent for making sure children have ample time to play outside. Harvard Medical School, on their Harvard Health Blog, states that outside play promotes, exercise, appreciation for nature, and increases executive function, among other things.


December 20, 2018 - Eric Maring,the CYC's music teacher, organized another wonderful Winter Sing-along for families and friends. Eric Maring, better known to the children as "Mr. M", included his two sons Leo and Julian in the performance. Leo played the violin and saxophone while Julian entertained with his piano playing. Families were delighted to sit with their children and sing some of the songs children had been learning in music class including some old favorites like, Jingle Bells, The Gingerbread Man, and My Hat it has Three Corners. This is an annual event that is well attended by families. Some alumni even return to participate in this heart warming event.

Teachers at NAEYC conferenceNovember 17, 2018 -  All staff and faculty of the Center for Young Children were able to attend the annual National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) conference. This year the conference was conveniently held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC. Teachers were able to go to at least eight different one and a half hour sessions, each ranged from topics including, child development, curriculum, health, safety and nutrition, special needs, professionalism, and community. Many old contacts and colleagues were reunited. CYC staff were able to meet people in the field that they admired including project approach leader Lilian Katz, musicians Steve and Greg, and author Mac Barnett.

The conference spanned over several days. It was exciting to gather with so many serious early childhood educators that come from as far away as Dubai and Hawaii. The credits earned from this conference will be applied to the individual teacher’s continued education as required by Maryland State Department of Education. In addition, these continued education hours will help CYC teachers to maintain a high level of Maryland State Credentialing. By having many highly credentialed teachers, the CYC is able to attain the highest level of achievement in the Maryland EXCELS program, the state's quality rating system.

On returning form the conference, teachers convened to share highlights and insights gained from the multiple sessions attended multiplying the effects of the conference.


Containers for recycling markersNovember 2018 - The Center for Young Children have been recycling their markers for several years now, through the Crayola ColorCycle program. This year the Office of Sustainability Green Office program has asked to tag along with the marker recycling program. The Kindergarten Green Committee made ten marker-recycling containers from old pretzel jars and cracker boxes. They worked to label and decorate each one to be distributed to other interested Green Offices around campus. After the jars are filled, kindergarteners will count them and ship them back to Crayola for recycling. While working on the project, comments from the kindergarteners included:
  • If you use less trash, you can help the environment. The environment is the land that we live on.  It gets stinked up!
  • It’s a good idea to recycle markers because they are litter and the Earth might get sicker and sicker.
  • Be good to the Earth and not be bad to the Earth!
  • The Earth might get hurt and the Earth might cry! (Just kidding)
  • You can use markers for making other stuff, like rocket boosters, hopping frogs, and dry erase boards.
  • We should not waste.
Three children in ethnic clothingOctober 20, 2018 -  The Center for Young Children had its annual International Picnic. This event is organized entirely by the Parent Teacher Partnership (PTP) and was headed by Orange Room parent Ying Li. The event is a potluck, where parents and teachers bring dishes to share, many with ethnic flavors from the nearly 30 different countries represented at the center. Along these lines, guests were encouraged to dress in clothing that denoted their culture.

Besides lobby greeting, trash duty, table setup and breakdown, providing streaming music, and a photographer, a parent volunteered to compiled a recipe book from the dishes served at he picnic. Children were able to decorate a Diya lamp with paints thanks to the idea and supplies offered by Melani Solomon a parent from the Green Room.

The Green committee did a takeoff on their usual “bring your own dishes to eat from” idea, and offered the sixty or so plates that were already in the center’s kitchen for guests to eat from. Volunteers took turns washing and rotating the supply so that no disposable plates or utensils were used at the picnic! New to the event this year was a raffle with UMD sports and CSPAC tickets donated to help the PTP raise money.

Nyle, purple room alumni, played the piano and sang as part of the entertainment. He helped earn the service points for his siblings in the Purple Room. Nine year old Nyle said he thinks about the CYC and things he did there. "Babayetu ( the Lord's Prayer in Swahili)" and "Circle of Life (from the lion king)" were beautifully sung by the UMD Ethnobeat Acapella Group. Also a performance from the UMD’s Korean Pop Dance Club featured Red Velvet’s song "Power up" and  they danced to a song by Anpanman. These performances gave a special feel to the picnic and a fun time was had by all. 



Global Hand Washing BannerOctober 17, 2018 – For the sixth year in a row, the School of Public Health Scholars treated the Center for Young Children to a lesson on hand washing as a celebration for Global Hand Washing Day. Lis Maring, the Director of the Global Public Health Scholars Program helped coordinate the event, which is celebrated by over 200 million people in over 100 countries around the world. She says that, “Promoted on a wide enough scale, hand washing with soap could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.” Maring also noted that, “The best hand washers on the campus are definitely the CYC children!” The School of Public Health undergraduate scholars came into several CYC classrooms, taught the children a hand washing song and helped the children create banners to display around the school. See the SPH article

See the Scholars article: GPH Scholars



Child eating a trash free lunchOctober 9, 2018 -  The CYC’s Trash Free Tuesday program yielded just two ounces of trash for the entire school of over one hundred participants. The kindergarten classroom collects the trash, weighs it, and graphs it, each week, on a chart displayed in the front lobby for all to see.

For nearly eight years, the CYC has conducted a Trash Free Tuesday program where families strive to pack lunches using reusable containers. From the beginning of school, children are taught to sort trash by compost, recycling, and lastly, landfill. Reusable dishes are also used at the school for lunch and snack and are washed daily by the student aides.

Within the past few years, “Fancy Lunch” has been introduced, where the lights are turned out and cloth napkins are used to add to the  savings of natural resources during Trash Free Tuesday. Teachers sometimes play soft music to make Tuesday’s lunch seem even more special and children help  sort, fold, and deliver the napkins after they are laundered.

Children get excited about Tuesdays and discuss what and how much trash they have in their lunch. Two children contemplated over lunch that everyday should be Trash Free Tuesday. “How could you let people know?” asked a teacher. All kinds of ideas were explored such as, writing letters and making posters. While grocery shopping with his Mom, one child deduced that buying a block of cheese created less trash than a package of individually wrapped cheese sticks.

It is hard to imagine going below two ounces of trash but the trash has been steadily decreasing over the years. The main credit goes to parents, who are thoughtful about the amount of trash they are generating and teach their children to be mindful of how the earth’s resources are used, even though it takes a little more time and human energy. The Center for Young Children is working toward re-certifying as a Maryland Green School for the second time. They are also certified as an Eco-School USA through the Nationl Wildlife Federation.


Children at the chemistry labAugust 2018 - The Center for Young Children runs a six week summer camp program for ages three to eight year olds each summer. During the camp each class chooses a topic to study as a focus for the six weeks. This summer, one group of rising first and second grader’s project was energy. Along with reading, hands on activities, and online resources, the teachers pulled resources from the many departments on campus to help guide the children through their learning.

Speakers included, Blossom Ojukwu, a music education student, who talked to the children about how sound comes out of the body, Heyi Solera a graduate student in the Ethno-musical department, who shared her bandoneon. Sarah Bergbreiter a micro-robotics expert, brought in some of her robots and Paul Anderson from the Mechanical Engineering department demonstrated potential and kinetic energy.

From the Office of Sustainability, Sally DeLeon and Samantha Bennett, came to discuss conserving energy and shared some solar cars. Two UMD physicists, Dr. Edwards and Dr. Turpen, made liquid nitrogen ice cream with the campers as they explained about thermal energy. Also two representatives from the Kinesiology department, under graduate student Lenisha Paige and graduate student Darius Singpurwalla, shared information on food and energy.

Chauncy Jenkins, UMD facilities operations manager, came into the Blue Room to explain how the swimming pool, the children swim in each day, is supplied with power. Mr. Jenkins brought some slides of the SCUB that showed a compressor, heat exchanger, motor control center, chiller, and other pipes and towers. He asked the children about temperatures; that of their body on the inside and the outside. He explained for the pool water to be comfortable it needed to be warmed. Mr. Jenkins said he was sorry he could not take the children into the SCUB but that he was concerned for their safety and the children did not complain, "I enjoyed the pictures", wrote one child in a thank you note to Mr. Jenkins.

On-campus field trips were to the LeafHouse were Renee Catacalos gave the children a tour, Dr. Isaacs Chemistry Lab to learn more about chemical energy, the Glen L. Martin Wind Tunnel to learn more about wind energy, and a “Turtle Bus” was used to transport the children to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore.

Other classes used campus resources too. The other projects included, birds, musical instruments, trees, ponds, and boats.

Read more about the energy study on their camp web site.


Student at CYCMay 17, 2018 - The University of Maryland College of Education’s Center for Young Children (CYC) earned the highest possible rating for quality from the Maryland EXCELS program, which evaluates early childhood and public prekindergarten programs in the state. CYC received five of five possible checkmarks from the state quality rating and improvement system for its overall score.

In the Maryland EXCELS rating system, childcare organizations’ overall scores are equal to the lowest rating received for a subcategory; therefore, CYC’s top score reflects that it earned the highest rating for licensing and compliance, staff qualifications and professional development, accreditation and rating scales, developmentally appropriate learning and practices, and administrative policies and practices. In addition, the Center, which is part of the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, was recognized for its accomplishments in asthma friendly child care, health and wellness, cultural and linguistic competency, eco-friendly achievement, and as an accredited program.


GreenFest TableGreen Committee Activities for April 2018 - April was a busy month for sustainable activities at the Center for Young Children. April 16th the CYC successfully re-certified as a UMD Green Gold Office. This was the fourth time the CYC has attained this prestigious status. To earn the Gold Office award you must select 15 actions from a list of 20. The CYC kicked off the renewal by surveying each staff member as to how many of the Green Office  actions they do at home, and while doing so they reviewed the actions that had been taken in past years to earn the Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards. The winner was Red Room teacher Kristen Bowman who did 34 actions in her home and personal life. Actions include things like composting, replacing appliances with energy star approved ones, making lunches trash free, and not idling vehicles. See the CYC's Gold Office action list.

On April 19th the CYC committed to presenting a display on their Trash Free Tuesday program at the Denton Quad Greenfest. Unfortunately, the Greenfest was canceled due to wind so the CYC display was set up in the Great Room for the parents to enjoy. Kindergarteners decorated some recycled boxes with photos and drawings to show the program and some cloth napkins were bought at the thrift store for people to take for their lunch boxes. Trash free snacks were available including oranges, pretzels, and homemade “wrapper-free” granola bars. A craft activity involved stamping leather scraps and stringing them on string recycled from packages. Many families participated as the children were picked up in the afternoon. This was the third year the CYC had participated in the Green Fest. ~ V. Wiest

Mr. M sing alongThe week of April 23rd was the CYC’s fifth “Save Fuel Week” and families were encouraged to walk, bike, bus, or carpool to school. The kindergarten class tallied the results at 22 just short of the 35 goal but showed a nice effort. 

April 28 - The month was finished out with Maryland Day. The CYC used this event to also show case their sustainable activities using displays and incorporating earth friendly themes with Mr. M’s sing along and Ms. Bowman’s yoga class. The front bulletin board showed images of the CYC garden over a year and connected the garden activities to Maryland state standards. The great room showcases displayed the steps and requirements that he CYC did to become a Maryland Green School including professional development, the Green Teams, and activities under several domains including transportation, solid waste reduction and healthy schools. ~ V. Wiest


Two CYC researchers

April 25, 2018 - The CYC held its first ever CYC Researchers Meet-and-Greet event this spring. Researchers from eight University of Maryland labs came together to share information about their research studies on child development and to engage in fun study activities with families. CYC Director Mona Leigh Guha and Research Specialist Kathleen Feeney were also available to answer questions about research at CYC. Among the activities that families could explore were an eye-tracking device, number line game, origami and puppets! Families had the opportunity to meet with the researchers who worked on all ten studies done at CYC this year. The children were excited to point out activities they had already done and to try new ones! ~ V. Wiest




NAEYC group with Senator NAEYC group with senatorMarch 5, 2018- Red Room Early Childhood Educator, Kristen Bowman, attended the Public Policy Forum organized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in early March. Mrs. Bowman represented the Center for Young Children and the University of Maryland at the forum as a part of the Maryland State Team. Along with other educators and stake-holders Mrs. Bowman was trained and briefed on the current education policies that impact young children, families, and educators. The training included emphasis on voting during midterm elections, the petition for the Child Care for Working Families Act, and funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant. On Tuesday, March 6 all of the state teams from across the nation went to Capitol Hill to meet with Congress members to discuss the relevant education policies. Mrs. Bowman and the other members from the Maryland State Team met Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Chris Van Hollen and were able to sit down with staffers from each of their offices to discuss the importance of early childhood education. Mrs. Bowman was also able to meet with a staffer from the office of Congressman Elijah Cummings. Mrs. Bowman returned to her classroom and shared her experience with her three-, four-, and five- year old students. The experience left Mrs. Bowman empowered to continue to advocate for children, families, and educators!


Anne Daniel behind table giving tickets awayFebruary, 25 2018- The Center for Young Children's long standing tradition of attending a Maryland women's basketball game together as a CYC fun community event continued this year. Maryland women's basketball coach, Brenda Frese, whose two sons attended CYC, and who continues to support us in many ways, provided the CYC with 200 tickets  for the Sunday, February 25, 12:00 PM women's game against Nebraska.

Assistant Director, Anne Daniel, who coordinates the event, said that she gave out around 175 tickets. The Maryland women’s team beat Nebraska 77 -75 as spectators were on the edge of their seats.  Daniel said the game was so exciting that families stayed longer than thay had in previous years. ~ V. Wiest


Andy's Auto Parts field tripDecember 2017- The Red Room preschool children took a field trip to Andy's Auto Parts in Bladensburg, Maryland during their vehicle study. Prior to the trip the teachers observed and noted that the children had interesting thoughts about what vehicle owners should do if a part of their vehicle stops working. Many of the children thought it best to just get a new car! The teacher's thought that Mr. Andy from Andy's Auto Parts would be just the right expert to show the children how vehicle parts can be recycled, replaced, and reused. Andy's mission at his junkyard is to recycle and reuse at least 95% of non-functioning vehicles. He and his crew work to recycle the oil, gas, wires, metal, rubber, and glass from the vehicles in the junkyard. Mr. Andy gave the children a tour of the junkyard by showing them a work space, the junkyard, the warehouse with all of the vehicle parts, and how they sort and organize everything. The children were even able to see Mr. Andy smash a vehicle that had parts recycled from it! A bonus to the experience is that the children, parent chaperones, and teachers were able to be a part of a television show called Junkyard Empire that is filmed at Andy's Auto Parts! View the episode.  by Kristen Bowman


CYC Sing-alongDecember 19 2017- Eric Maring, (Mr. M), the CYC music teacher, preformed his 11th annual Sing-along for the children and their families. This is a long anticipated event for the CYC and finishes up the year with many songs that the students have been learning throughout the year, along with some Holiday classics such as, “Frosty the Snowman”, and “Winter Wonderland." The Great Room was packed with the majority of families being able to find time to attend with their children.

With his stuffed penguin sitting in his lap, Eric Maring charmed the children with his song/chant, “Twenty Four Penguins,” a takeoff of the old song “Twenty Four Robbers.” All the children joined in the chorus chant, ”H-O-T hot peppers!”

Accompanying Mr. M were his two sons, Leo and Julian. Both are alumni of the CYC. Julian played the piano and Leo played saxophone and violin. These two young people have been growing as musicians and are great role models for the children of the CYC.

Maring ended the set with his trademark song, “You are my Sunshine”, which he recalls his own mother singing to him with love.


October 18, 2017- Kindergarteners at the Center for Young Children  laboratory school on the University of Maryland campus were visited on Wednesday by students from the Global Public Health Scholars program to celebrate Global Handwashing Day. Read more ......

 Dr. Kumar VisitOctober 6, 2017- Dr. Nita Kumar came to visit the CYC and engage in an exchange of ideas with the CYC faculty. Dr. Kumar founded the Southpoint Vidyashram School ( in Benares, India, and has directed the school for 27 years, and is the Brown Family Professor of South Asian History at Claremont McKenna College in California.

When our own Mr. M was completing his Fulbright scholarship last year, his son Julian attended Dr. Kumar's school, and Mr. M also was able to work teaching American music to children and teachers at the school.

Dr. Kumar and the CYC faculty shared ideas and challenges that are similar and different between our schools; imagine having to take care to close the windows at the CYC so monkeys don't come in and take our books!   Dr. Kumar then enjoyed a tour of the CYC and saw the teaching methods used here, as well as the environment.  Staff had the chance to share the idea of the Classroom Study as well as the Families Read program and plans were begun for future connections between our two schools!


Jennifer King RiceSeptember 2017- Both HDQM chair Kelly Mix and Dean of the College of Education, Jennifer Rice visited the CYC this month.

 Over the course of the past year, both the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (HDQM) and the College of Education (COE) have come under new leadership. As the CYC is part of both HDQM and COE, we were pleased that both of these leaders were able to make time in their busy schedules to visit the CYC.

Kelly S. Mix, Ph.D., took a tour with Director Mona Leigh Guha in which she was able to view all six classrooms in action. Mix was complimentary about the practice and environments she observed. She is focused on math, and pointed out many wonderful ways that she saw math integrated into the classrooms, including the block center, and during whole group activities.

The following week Dean Jennifer Rice, Ph.D. was also given a tour by Guha. “She was so pleased with everything she saw here, and commented on the overall "happy" feeling of the CYC. Rice particularly commented on how every child she had seen was engaged - she had not seen a single child who was not involved either in a center, with another child, or with an adult,” commented Dr. Guha.


Rock ClimbingAugust 2017 Playground Additions- This summer some new additions were added to the CYC playground. The hill by the hill slide that had been installed a couple of years back through the "Come Alive Outside" program and Dr. Stephen Cohan, had become eroded. There was some leftover money from the original project and it was put to use installing rocks for the children to climb on one side and a stairway on the other. Children can now scramble up rocks to slide down the willow arched slide or walk up some gradually sloping steps. The rocks appear to be the favorite and sometimes the slide is forgotten all together as the children climb up and down the slightly challenging terrain.


Looking at the Eclipse August 21, 2017 -Amidst classroom set-up, staff meetings, CPR and first aid refresher courses, and six hours of continued training, staff took the time to head out to the playground and view the eclipse. Armed with special glasses provided by administration, everyone eagerly faced the western skies and were astonished at the exciting view although it was reported to be less than 90%  of the totality. Adding to the enthusiasm of the day were the discovery of multiple little moon shadows projected on the sidewalk from the leaves of all the shade trees on the playground.

Workshops included "Taming the Tiger in Your Program: Classroom Environments that are Conducive to Learning for All Children" presented by Paul Armstrong and "It Starts with Me: Celebrating and Embracing Diversity" presented by presenter Linda Bratcher both from the PG Child Resource Center .  Armstrong and Bratcher seemed impressed with the CYC program and validated CYC practices during their talks.


Using sidewalk paint


Summer 2017-  Wind, The Bay, Playgrounds, Mixing, Camping, and Maps were the theme projects selected this year by the 6 camp classrooms. For the six weeks from June 26th to August 4th, campers had the chance to delve deeply into one of these topics by reviewing what they already knew, asking questions, and finally investigating the topic through books and other resources, hands on activities, interviewing experts, and taking field trips. Some of the exciting field trips campers went on were to Sandy Point State Park, Bass Pro Shops, Dr. Isaacs Chemistry Lab on campus, the Wizard of Oz playground at Watkins Regional Park, and Maryland Map room at the Hornbake library on campus.  The Orange Room's study on wind led them to the McKelden Mall  on campus to fly kites. In addition to these activities, campers went to the UMD Eppley Recreation Center pool at least twice weekly and had a music lesson with Dr. Jessica Kendal. Read more about the Green Room's Mixing Study on their camp website.



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