December 8, 2020 - The Blue Kindergarten has been busy with writing, learning letter sounds and blends, going over shapes, numbers and counting. The Blue Room has also been doing an in – depth study on bones. The study got its start when teacher Danielle Miller, came in with a boot due to a foot injury. There were so many questions concerning the fracture that it just seemed natural to take it into a study.
A big part of the Center for Young Children’s curriculum revolves around choosing and implementing a “study” that is close to the heart of the classroom children. The study will incorporate learning from all the domains in a natural way with the children’s motivation leading the way.
Some of the highlights of the study have been a Zoom meeting with an orthopedic doctor, a life size skeleton replica shared by one of the parents, and setting up an orthopedic office in dramatic play including x-rays that were seen using a light table.
Using the full-sized skeleton model and some YouTube videos for support, kindergarteners learned the names of many of the bones and their function in the body. Children made a model of a bone using a toilet paper roll and tissue paper. They included blood vessels, the spongy bone, and the yellow marrow “that stores fat”.
At the end of their study, after most of their questions had been answered, children decided on a way to “culminate the study”, or how they could share all the information they had learned. Miller is working on a video of the children’s work to share with families along with some outside displays that can be viewed while social distancing. ~ Danielle Miller
November 23, 2020 - The Green Room has been doing an in-depth author study for the past two months. Their author of choice has been Mo Willems, famed author of the Pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, and Knuffle Bunny series. Their initial study series has been the Pigeon books, starting with “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”. If you are unfamiliar with the books, Mo Willems simply illustrates the dilemmas of “Pigeon” who always seems to want something he cannot have. The children explored the many emotions Pigeon goes through in his endeavor to succeed. Children practiced portraying the same emotions only wearing their masks. Teachers said they were surprised how much emotion came across using only their eyes. The class made a huge chart with images comparing the emotions, characters, and summaries of each of the five books they read. Children helped to label the sections of the graphic.
The class also watched a video on how to draw Pigeon, by Willems, and used these new skills to illustrate their own Pigeon book, “The Pigeon Wants a Chocolate Bar”, in which the Pigeon finally realizes he doesn’t have any teeth to eat it with and ends up giving it to the little duck.
In the future, teachers Ms.Person and Ms. Fowler, said the class will focus on Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books using some of the same comparison techniques they used with the Pigeon books.
October 6, 2020 - The CYC has opened this fall for a fulltime core day with smaller classes as a response to covid-19. Special precautions are in place for everyone’s safety including following all guidelines put forth by the Maryland Health Department and the Maryland Department of Education.
Teachers say that children have been adjusting well and are happy to be reconnecting with friends making new ones. One teacher remarked to parents, "Your children are all amazing at wearing masks and washing hands! We are very impressed." Parents are delighted to be able to send their children to a quality program.
Some of the topics addressed in these first weeks have been learning the possibilities of the classroom centers, proper handwashing techniques, beginning yoga, discovering each other’s families, personal emotions and feelings, and enjoying the many opportunities available on the large CYC playground.
The kindergarten children have been discussing where they live and trying to decipher the difference between cities, states, countries, etc. They have also been focusing on rhyming words and identifying letters and letter sounds.
Eric Maring (Mr. M), has returned as the CYC’s music teacher and he conducts each classroom session outside, weather permitting. “What a joy to be out under the trees with the CYC students this week!!,” remarked Maring. “We sang "Five Little Ducks" with Mother Duck, hopped like bunnies with John the Rabbit, tapped the beat and recited some favorite nursery rhymes with Wolfie and rocked back and forth to "Simple Gifts" with Owlie. What a blessing is music in our lives.” Mother Duck, John the Rabbit, Wolfie, and Owlie, are Mr. M’s beloved puppets.
Although drop and pick-up have been modified for social distancing, Assistant Director Anne Daniel, commented on how warm and welcoming the teachers have been when greeting families each morning and afternoon and that the whole process has been relatively smooth.
Teachers and staff have been doing a wonderful job at adapting and coming up with new strategies to be able to offer families an alternative to at home electronic instruction. These “in person” daily school sessions are proving invaluable to children and families.
May 28, 2020 - Teacher’s have been preparing to wind down the school year which officially ends June 12. Classrooms are working on memory books and other ways to say goodbye. One beloved way the CYC has finished the school year in the past has been with a CYC Dance led by music teacher Eric Maring (Mr. M) . Mr. M has been culminating each year’s worth of music instruction in a wonderful family event which usually took place in a large room at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. This year he moved the dance to an online Zoom venue. Although not the traditional method, many families attended and danced enthusiastically, and all agreed it was wonderful musical finish for an unusual year. Several parents of shy children noted it worked well for their children.
Mr. M and his two sons, Leo and Julian provided the entertainment and played multiple instruments to the delight of everyone. Adding to the fun, they set up in an old barn located on Maring's parents' farm in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. One of the favorite action songs the Maring band played was The Rattlin Bog. The whole event left this year’s families with a good feeling.
Eric Maring and his sons have been offering live music lessons for the children throughout the pandemic. These sessions along with familiar puppets, have been a great comfort to the children. ~ Vera Wiest
Earth Day and Arbor Day
This year Earth Day (April 22), and Arbor Day (April 24) came on the same week. Not to let the Covid-19 stay at home policy get in the way, CYC teachers celebrated virtually with their classrooms as a whole.
Partnering with the University of Maryland’s Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, children drew pictures of trees to add to a shared slideshow including images of the children enjoying trees from the school year and during their neighborhood walks. This was shared on the Arboretum’s Facebook page.
The CYC also has an Eco-school page called CyberGreen that presents several Earth friendly activities weekly. These activities are based on weekly themes and include, books, songs, virtual field trips, yoga, stories, and science fun. Mr. M, the CYC music teacher, created a video doing an action poem called, "Here Is my Trunk." Ms. Hurst read three books about trees to share and Ms. McAllister did a time lapse video while she used chalk to make Earth Day messages. A video about going on a field trip to a recycling center was also offered to the children.
For Earth Day the Kindergarten teachers gave the children a journal prompt of, “How do you take care of the Earth?” Some of the responses included, “I turn off the lights,” “I pick up trash,” and “I water plants.” One classroom had their students make something from recycled materials to share on a Zoom meeting. Another class made an instructional video about how to do an observational drawing of a tree.
CYC teachers continue to support environmental lessons creatively even as they are having to be creative themselves in how to interact with young children from a distance. ~ Vera Wiest
Photo by Lauren Neimeyer
March 30, 2020 – Today marks the beginning of the second week the Center for Young Children’s teachers are working online. Preparations began even during Spring Break as director Mona Leigh Guha sent out emails to the staff setting the groundwork for what was expected. Teaching preschoolers online is not necessarily a developmentally appropriate endeavor, so the overall concept was to keep in touch, and provide activities for children. Giving the children some sense of normal activities and connections is an important goal.
Teachers immediately went into action using a multitude of creative ideas to reach out to the children and families in their classrooms. Tutorials in Zoom were popular the first week. Google hangouts was used, along with other features of the Google suite provided by the University. Special drives were set up to house lessons, videos, and other documents that families could share in. One classroom started using flipgrid to connect and have students upload videos of themselves. Biweekly emails seem to be a widespread form of communication too.
Mr. M, the CYC music teacher, started posting three weekly music classes in the form of videos featuring his sons Julian and Leo as accompaniment. The family’s versatility in instruments is amazing and the caring and routine are invaluable to the students. Eric Maring say, “It has been so special for me and my boys having you all tune in for the Sunshine music classes. I've been so moved by all the emails knowing that the music has been as meaningful and important to all of you as it has to us.”
A collaborative website, Cyber CYC, has been set up with a page for each classroom to edit with videos and assignments. All of this has been a work in progress as teachers and families learn the best way to stay in touch. A Covid-19 social story has been posted to help children better understand how this all affects their lives.
The staff at the CYC are prepared to work toward whatever the next few months bring, doing the best they can to support their families and students.
February 21, 2020 - As one way to highlight the curriculum topics that teachers address in their classrooms, the Center for Young Children makes use of the large bulletin board in the front of the building to share with families documentation of these events. Right now, in conjunction with Black History Month, the Yellow Room teachers, Ms. Donn and Ms. Anstine, have displayed some of the work that they have been doing since the very beginning of the school year to incorporate meaningful activities, read-alouds and family-sharing experiences that uplift everyone in their class. The display is entitled Implementing an Anti-Bias Curriculum in the Early Childhood Classroom.
Developing an "Anti-Bias" curriculum is very important in all schools, and it is not too early to begin these conversations when children are young. At this age, they deeply understand the concept of fairness, and they are keenly observant of similarities and differences when they make new friends.
This description of an Anti-Bias Curriculum was taken from the Teaching for Change organization, a group local to the DC area.
"Anti-bias curriculum is an approach to early childhood education that sets forth values-based principles and methodology in support of respecting and embracing differences and acting against bias and unfairness. Anti-bias teaching requires critical thinking and problem solving by both children and adults. The overarching goal is creating a climate of positive self and group identity development, through which every child will achieve her or his fullest potential."
In addition, Dr. Melanie Killen, a HDQM faculty member has been conducting research in this area for years and was recently featured in the Maryland Today newsletter. Read Melanie Killen's article entitled, Op/ed: Lessons on Battling Bias featured in Maryland Today.
The CYC greatly values the diversity of our families and strives to help their students to think critically about their world. ~ Leslie Oppenheimer, Curriculum/Enrollment Coordinator
February 11, 2020 – As part of the Center for Young Children Green Committee, the Blue Room kindergarten children wrote a letter to the world asking them to, “please take care of the earth.” The letter then turned to a wish that everyone could help make everyday "Trash Free Tuesday." Trash Free Tuesday is a program that the CYC has been doing since 2013. Trash is collected from each classroom mostTuesdays and counted. The results are graphed for all to see. There has been a steady decline of collected trash over the years as more and more people are becoming conscience of the problem. One comment on the letter to the world, was from a child who wanted to know how long humans had been on the planet. A quick Google search resulted in about 200,000 years. With this information he wrote, " We should know better, we have been around for 200,000 years!" As part of the Eco-School USA award, children are encouraged to write an article about being sustainable.
The Staff at the Center for Young Children not only are committed to teaching the children to be careful with the earth's resources, but also conscious of doing so themselves. The Center for Young Children just renewed it's Platinum Green Office status with the UMD Office of Sustainability by collectively making goals for the next five years. The goals include teaching the children about solar power and working to make the many windows in the center more efficient.
February 7, 2020 – The Center for Young Children Blue Room Kindergarten class celebrated 100 days of school. Children had been counting the days on a giant grid in anticipation for the 100th day that they had been in kindergarten. Children were not sure what would happen when they finished the chart, some children thought school might be finished or that they would get a holiday from school.
Teacher Amy Laakso folded 100 pieces of origami and suspended them from the classroom ceiling for the celebration. She and co-teacher Danielle Miller, and support teacher Carly Wilbur, dressed in hand crafted capes decorated with 100 pom poms each, creating “100 Day Super Hero” teacher costumes. Children brought collections of one hundred items from home. Some of the collections shared were, 100 googly eyes, 100 Legos, 100 straws, and a 100-piece puzzle.
Children celebrated the day doing “one hundred” day activities. They counted how far they could go by taking, 100 steps and 100 hops, they made necklaces with 100 beads and went on a scavenger hunt to find 100 numerals. Kindergarteners counted ten pieces of ten small snacks to create a snack of one hundred pieces. "Everyday we got closer to 100, the anticipation grew until the 100th day when we celebrated with each other," said Ms. Miller. Ms. Wilbur commented, “ It was nice to celebrate 100 days doing a bunch of math.” ~ Danielle Miller
November 7, 2019 - Children form the Center for Young Children kindergarten class walked over to the Art Sociology building on the UMD College Park campus to meet with Department of Arts chair W. C. (Chip) Richardson. The Kindergarten class has been studying art for the past four weeks, learning about elements, types of art, and different artists. The children were well prepared to attend Richardson's tour.
Richardson took the children into an art studio and showed them different paintings in progress. He taught them how to look at a painting to see if it was finished or not and talked about layering paint on the easel to gradually build the painting and mixing colors.Teachers were pleased that this information went along with what was also being taught in the classroom. Children were readily able to answer Richardson's questions about color, artists, and interpretations of different paintings. At the end of the tour, Richardson led the children through the sculpture studio with its machines and large shapes. The following day children recalled that they had seen many paintings and that painting was messy due to the amount of paint drops left on the floor and tables in the studio. They also were excited about being able to touch sculptures.
The CYC is fortunate to have extended resources from being situated at the University of Maryland College Park. The Center's curriculum involves long-term projects and the campus community provides experts on individual classroom studies as well as many walking field trips. So far this year alone there have been two other walking field trips, one to the UMD farmers market and another to a helicopter (donated by the Maryland Air National Guard). Children's learning is enhanced by being able to visit on-site locations and speak with experts. This all connects and expands their classroom learning.
October 21, 2019 – Three different continuing education conferences were attended by CYC teachers over the last week. A majority of Center for Young Children teachers were able to attended the Maryland State Family Child Care Association’s (MSFCCA) 27th Annual Conference. The overall theme of the conference was “Beyond Technology: Early Childhood Education in the Digital Age.” The conference was held over a two-day period at the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City Maryland.
Workshops included general sessions and breakout sessions that gave attendees a choice to fit their interest. Some of the workshops included; Growing Readers in a World of Screens Using Music, Technology Can Spark Creativity, and How to Communicate with Challenging Children. Presenters came from a variety of backgrounds including different government agencies and colleges. A couple of CYC teachers expressed that the quality of presenters was as high as any conference they had been to.
In addition to the workshops, teachers were able to enjoy the warm sun on the beach and collect a few seashells for their classroom. Asked if they would attend again next year, most said yes.
Earlier in the week, Curriculum/Enrollment Coordinator Leslie Openheimer, attended a conference titled, "Language, Behavior, and the Brain: Designing Effective Early Learning Environments and Experiences" at Harvard Graduate School. One of the presenters, Meredith Rowe, was a former UMD faculty member and her children attended the CYC. Some of the objectives for this conference were to explore the latest science, learn how early experiences shape the brain architecture, and discover effective ways to incorporate that information into educational practices.
The CYC music educator Eric Maring, was able to attend and conduct workshops with fellow musicians at Pourparler in Saint Paul Minneapolis over the weekend too. Pourparler is a yearly gathering of dance and music educators who are dedicated to teaching folk/ethnic/world/traditional dance in schools and/or community events. Teachers at the CYC take at least 24 continuing hours of education each year. ~ Vera Wiest
August 23, 2019 - Teachers and staff have been busy preparing for the new fall school year this week. Classrooms are being cleaned and set up as the "third teacher" (classrooms intentionally designed to support active learning). Staff meetings keep the teachers up to date on new policies. Some teachers are renewing their first aid and CPR skills and also some are updating their Maryland Credentialing status by documenting training they have had over the past year, along with different professional activities.
One highlight of the week was a team building session staff took at Terrapin Adventure in Laurel Maryland. Games that taught skills related to work were played including a human marble run, two truths and a lie, and knights. At the end, teachers and staff were able to slide down a zip line after balancing precariously on several ropes to get to the platform. It was a hot day but a lot of fun and gave a great comradery feel to start the new year with.
May 29, 2019 CYC children experienced a chemistry presentation in a Chemistry building lecture hall. The presentation was led by CYC chemist and parent Lenea Stocker Ph.D. Children were treated to experiments including fire and light, dry ice clouds, elephant toothpaste, and carbon snakes.
Being a mom herself, Stocker geared the demonstrations toward the attention span of the children, which included a group of school agers at the same time. Children shouted and cheered as fire ran up a glass jar, pennies changed from copper color to silver and gold, and jars of liquid changed from one vibrant color to another due to the properties of acids and bases. Stocker enlisted her UMD students and even her mother in the demonstrations. Other experiments entailed freezing a rose and a ball with liquid nitrogen to the point that they broke like glass when hit against a surface and showing how packing peanuts will dissolve almost endlessly into a small container of acetone. The finale culminated in a large blast by combining water and liquid nitrogen.
Back in the classroom, teachers extended the learning by doing experiments with different liquids and solids. Children expressed, “It was really fun” and “I liked the elephant toothpaste.”
Stocker was inspired by her high school teacher who did similar demonstrations. This is the second year Stocker has put on a children’s demonstration like this, she hopes to make it bigger and better each year. She said that her initial idea was to do it on Maryland Day but that this separate event allowed for a longer and more involved presentation. Her goal is to make chemistry and STEM approachable and not a scary subject. She says, "Chemistry is fun and all around us!" Dr. Stocker is the organizer of the 2018 “Kids and Chemistry Demonstration Day: Advancing Chemistry Appreciation Using Chemical Demonstrations”.
Exposing preschoolers to the sheer enjoyment of chemistry gave immediate rewards that may help them to pursue activities like this in the future. Having a school situated on a College Campus is full of many resources. Other campus fieldtrips have included the Entomology Department and the campus green house. ~ Vera Wiest
May 2019 - . Much of the curriculum at the Center for Young Children revolves around in-depth "studies" or "projects". Projects give children opportunities to ask questions, actively explore hands-on materials, interview experts, reflect on information gained, and share new knowledge with peers.
Recently two individual CYC classrooms, the preschool age Green Room and the kindergarten Blue Room, decided to do a restaurant study. Children compared what they already knew about restaurants before beginning a full investigation. Experts included student aides that had worked as waiters, hosts, and busers. Children were able to interview the experts and get some of their questions answered. Children set up a restaurant in their dramatic play area and took turns doing the many jobs such as cook, waiter, and hosts. Books and videos were also sources of information.
Both classrooms took field trips to local and diverse restaurants including Denny's, Banana Blossom Bistro, The Bagel Place, and Cedars of Lebanon. Each place was accommodating to the children, some even showed the children their back kitchen and how they did prep work. At one restaurant, the children were customers, each ordering their own food and paying their own individual tab including tip. The Blue Room went to a kitchen supply store and completed a scavenger hunt.
When the Green Room visited the diner on the University of Maryland campus they had chance to see how the College Students eat and were rewarded with a cookie at the end. During center time in the classroom, dramatic play was converted into a restaurant complete with aprons, cash registers, menus, play food, and tables.
To culminate the project, both classrooms decided to open their own restaurant and invite families and friends. With some guidance, children decided what food to put on the menu. They wrote invitations and made menus. The Blue Room decided on calling their restaurant “Eat it Up” and the Green Room called theirs, “The Green Room Family Restaurant”. On the day of the opening, children did most of the cooking and then hosted, waited, bused their tables, and collected the bill payment. One child commented on how the host's job is not that hard, but the server had a lot to do! The Blue Room had families fill out Yelp style reviews and every one came back with five stars. One said, “The service was great, our waiter kept checking on us!”
Like the children had seen at the restaurants they had visited, they had a tip jar and were able to collect a nice sum of money. Children voted to donate the tip money. The Blue Room decided to donate their tips to buy school supplies for children that did not have many, and the Green Room donated theirs to the Campus Pantry so that, "people who needed food could have some." From start to finish, each classroom took about three months to complete the project. ~ Vera Wiest
May 16, 2019 - The CYC’s commitment to teaching children to take care of the environment culminated in earning three major awards this spring.
January 9 - The Platinum UMD Green Office award from the UMD’s Office of Sustainability- The CYC had earned the Gold Green Office award several times by completing actions from a list such as, having trash free office events and carpooling to conferences. This new Platinum award allowed the center to show off some of its own actions, earning the Maryland Green School award and Trash Free Tuesdays being two of them.
April 24 - Third renewal of the Maryland Green School award- This award involves many steps including creating a committee with representatives from the children, staff, and greater community. The whole kindergarten class stepped up to the challenge and named themselves the, "Earth Committee". The school also showed that they include environmental teaching throughout the classrooms with projects such as worms, plants, and energy. Four pathways, chosen from seven, were addressed and a celebration was held. The CYC used Maryland Day as an opportunity to celebrate with displays and songs that showed their commitment. This award is renewed every four years.
May 19 - Third renewal to the National Wildlife Federations Eco-School USA Green Flag award- This award, renewed every two years, piggybacks on the Maryland Green School award. In addition, audits of three pathways including Energy, need to be completed with the children’s help. Both this award and the Green School award are more designed for elementary through high school age children, but the preschoolers and kindergarten children were able to accomplish them with few modifications.
As the last award was completed, the Earth Committee was awarded a small trophy for its work toward these prestigious honors. The Center for Young Children maintains a web site specifically reserved to show how each of the requirements have been fulfilled. Please visit the site to see the multitude of sustainable related activities the CYC has accomplished. CYC Green Pages ~ Vera Wiest
May 20, 2019 – The CYC Little Free Libraries got a face lift. The CYC is fortunate enough to have not one, but two Little Free Libraries. Little Free Libraries is an international non-profit organization that encourages members of a community to put up a small structure to house used books for anyone passing by to take one and then in return leave one.
Greg Thompson, from dining services had two built for the CYC in May of 2014. Representatives from the CYC Parent Teacher Partnership monitor and steward the two libraries, making sure the libraries are neat and has an ample supply of books. One Little Library is filled with childrens books, the other is for adults. Last year’s steward Priya Varadan, painted the libraries white with a red roof; a clean pallet for the children to decorate. This year’s steward Jackie Madoo, completed the job with the children of the Purple room adding their handprints as flowers. The nature theme has delighted children and parents alike, who frequent the libraries as during drop off and pick up. One brother of a CYC student commented that he really liked it and once found a water powered calculator kit in there. ~ Vera Wiest
April 27, 2019- Maryland Day at the CYC was so packed that there was standing room only for Mr. M’s (Eric Maring) sing-along. Staff were delighted to see many alumni students and teachers return to enjoy the concert. Mr. M sang many old favorites such as “Five Little Ducks, Bingo, and Form the Corn. " Ducky, Wolfie, and Owlie, Maring's beloved puppets, also made appearances. Mr. M’s son Julian played the piano and clarinet to accompany his father. The crowd enjoyed Julian's playing immensely, applauding loudly after each song. As a special recognition for the Center for Young Children’s successful renewal for being a Maryland Green School, Eric Maring sang, “I’m Lucky There’s a Sun.” One of the requirements for the Maryland Green School application is to have a celebration and one that includes the outside community and reoccurs yearly gets extra kudos.
For many families, this launched their exploration of Maryland Day for the rest of the day which was breezy yet balmy. ~ Vera Wiest
April 18, 2019 – The CYC participated for the fourth time in the annual Denton Quad GreenFest. The CYC chose “Being Active Outside” for the topic of their display. Children helped to decorate a display of pictures of them being active on the playground. Hula-hoops, hopscotch, bubbles, and chalk were available for passerbys to “get active” in the moment. A video about getting active produced by the Kindergarten class, played on a tablet so that attendees could get a feel for the energy the children bring to the focus. Families had been asked to share on a big chart how they liked to get active outside and college students added to this chart at the GreenFest. Many said, “Walking to class!” The CYC handed out oranges for a take away since they were a healthy snack in a natural wrapper. Danielle Miller and Vera Wiest put the booth together and answered questions.
Being Active Outside was chosen partly because it had been a focus for the year’s reapplication toward Maryland Green School and Eco-School USA, as part of a healthy schools pathway and they wanted to share their actions with the community.
The Denton GreenFest brings many organizations from the UMD community together to celebrate and share the sustainable efforts that are going on, on the campus. The official GreenFest website states:
“GreenFest is an exciting, educational event focused around wellness and sustainability. At the event, organizations set up interactive booths to inform residents about their group, volunteer opportunities, and upcoming events. Greenfest teaches students about living sustainably, healthy living, and learning environmentally-conscious practices.”
The CYC hopes to participate in the GreenFest again next year. ~ Vera Wiest
April, 2019 -The CYC is thrilled to be featured in the new textbook, Effective Practices in Early Childhood Education: Building a Foundation. This textbook is intended to be used by undergraduate students early in their programs to become early childhood educators. The book was written by Dr. Sue Bredekamp, a leading authority in Developmentally Appropriate Practice.
Video crews filmed classroom activities with children in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. They also filmed interviews with teachers and administrators from the CYC. The focus was on the developmentally appropriate practice and high-quality early childhood education that takes place at the CYC. Throughout the textbook, video examples are referenced and can be accessed by students, and questions and activities for the students are provided.
"We are excited that so many upcoming early childhood professionals will be able to see the thoughful practice of teachers at the CYC!" responded the Center for Young Children's director Mona Leigh Guha, PhD.
March 29, 2019 CYC participates in the campus wide E-Waste drive sponsored by the Office of Sustainability. For the entire week before the event, CYC parents and staff were asked to bring in old electronics, cords, phones, printers, computers etc. to be dropped off at a central location on campus where they would be responsibly recycled. The CYC was able to collect five large boxes of broken or obsolete electronic related materials for the event.
The Center’s kindergarten “Earth Committee,” got involved by making signs to remind everyone of the collection. The children are learning about the importance of recycling as opposed to dumping things in a landfill. The Earth Committee is involved in other environmental activities at the school including weighing and keeping track of the amount of trash generated on the school’s Trash Free Tuesday program. They already sort their everyday trash by compost, recycling, reusing, and landfill.
There is a strong commitment by the children, staff, UMD students, and parents to teaching and working toward a cleaner environment. Next week the school is sponsoring it’s annual “Save Fuel Week” where families and staff are encouraged to walk, bike, carpool, or bus in lieu of driving alone. CYC is in the process of renewing their Maryland Green School and Eco-School USA Green Flag awards. Staff at the CYC have attained the highest Green Office award of Platinum.
March 13, 2019 - Center for Young Children hosted its second annual Researcher Meet-and-Greet, providing an opportunity for families to meet the researchers their children have been working with throughout the semester. Laboratories from departments such as Human Development, Hearing and Speech, and Psychology came together to help parents learn more about the projects their children have been involved in and to foster continued interest for research within the CYC community. Children were thrilled to play with items that labs brought with them, such as fun maze games, puppets, testudo coloring sheets, and even a 3-d printed model of a human brain! We hope to continue to make research fun and available to any family who would like to participate!
To learn more about research at the Center for Young Children, please visit our research pages where you can find out about different types of studies, current research, and get a brief biography and focus for each of the researchers currently conducting studies at the CYC.
January 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.
2018 News Archives ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
December 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.
November 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.
November 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.
October 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.
October 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
October 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.
August 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.
May 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.
Green 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
The 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
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
March 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!
February, 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
December 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
December 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 ......
October 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 (southpoint.nirman.info) 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!
September 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.
August 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.
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.
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.
May 10, 2017-videotaping at CYC for a supplement to a Pearson textbook, "Effective Practices in Early Childhood Education." This book is written by Dr.Sue Bredekamp. Sue is looking to capture outstanding early childhood practice, and we are honored that she has selected the CYC as a location for this.
Dr.Bredekamp is an amazing figure in Early Childhood Education. She worked for years at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC, from whom we received re-accreditation this year), and she literally wrote the book on Developmentally Appropriate Practice. Many of our CYC teachers did a workshop with her a few years back.
Pictured left is Dr. Bredekamp with videographer Andy Eggert. Eggert was delighted to have one of the children draw his picture which included the red caps on his tripod.
April 29, 2017- Maryland Day at the CYC- The CYC celebrated Maryland Day with Yoga and Zumba sessions led by Kristen Bowman and Amanda Holliday, two CYC teachers! Ms Bowman led a group of students, alumni, parents, and teachers in a fun half hour of yoga moves related to Earth Day. Participants started with a mountain pose and moved to plants, bugs, and animals ending with a cat cow move. Bowman helped children think about life on earth through body movements.
Next Ms. Holliday zoomed in just in time for a lively Zumba class. Everyone participating got a good workout moving to a variety of Caribbean music beats.
This all helped to celebrate the renewal of the CYC's Eco-School USA Green Flag award and UMD Sustainability Department's Gold Office award. On display were objects of art the children had made from recycled materials and a collabrative project the Purple Room started that was also shared at the Denton Quad Greenfest.
A bulletin board displayed some of the new CYC's Physical Fitness policy complete with photos of the children in action. This policy was sparked by the governments "Let's Move" program and the Eco-School USA's Healthy Bodies component.
April 13, 2017- The CYC participated in Greenfest at Denton Quad UMD. The Center's display included a huge collaborative trash sculpture created by the Purple Room. Attendees were asked to cut and attach something to add to the sculpture. Scraps of paper and old magazines were provided to. The original sculpture was created discarded boxes and materials donated by the parents. The Purple Room children are in the midst of an art study and looked art made from trash for inspiration that week. Several families attended the event which included music, food, give aways, and other activities. A big thanks goes to the Bertges family who spear headed the event.
March 10, 2017- Today the whole CYC went on a field trip to the School of Public Health to see a spectacular performance by the UMD GymkanaTroupe. Gymkana is a University campus club formed to promote healthy living by performing gymnastic routines for the public. Children, parent chaperones, and teachers were in awe as they watched entertaining routines on the bars, rings, vault, trampoline, aerial silk, and mats. A highlight in the show was the ladder act that was featured on the television show, "America's Got Talent" in 2011.
The performance was doubly exciting since one of the CYC's staff members, Mr. Murick, was part of the show. The parallel bar comedic act Mr. Murick was participant in, was the talk of the children afterward. Director and Head Coach Mr. Josh Montfort has two boys that attended the CYC in years past. Look for Gymkana's home performances April 21 and 22 and also on Maryland Day April 29.
March 13, 2017- CYC music teacher Eric Maring, received a Fulbright scholarship to teach music in India this winter. To keep in touch with the children Maring has set a schedule to FaceTime the students every two weeks. During these FaceTime sessions "Mr. M" sings familiar songs with the children and takes them for a "walk" around the streets near his home to see some of the sights. This week people were celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi. Children watched as Maring was wiped on his face with different colors by passersby. Maring was also able to show the children motorcycles, cows, and different shops down the street from his home in India. One child noticed there were not any cars.
Eric Maring has made two videos of his trip for the children that you can access on Youtube. He plans to be back for a big sing-along in May. During his absence Jessica Kendal and Aryssa Burrs have been giving the children weekly music lessons. Kendal is a Ph.D student at the University for music education.
March 8, 2017- A big thank you goes to Dr. Steven Cohan's Environmental Horticulture Class for pruning the CYC playground again this year! It looks terrific.
March 6, 2017- The Center for Young Children successfully completed re-certification for the Eco-School USA Green Flag award. This award is put on by the National Wildlife Federation and comprises seven steps. The steps include forming a team to facilitate completing the steps. The CYC has a strong Green Committee made up of staff, parents, and the outside community that meets monthly, usually by email. There is also a Kindergarten component of the Green Committee, who conduct meetings in their classroom to do things like talk about waste and make posters and signs. The Committee came up with the slogan, "The CYC Saves Energy" which was voted on by the children and the PTP. An audit is conducted with the children helping check for things like drafts around the windows, cracks in the foundation, and weighing trash, compost, and recyclables.
An action plan is decided on, this needs to fit into three of the 10 pathways. The CYC chose energy, healthy living, and sustainable food. Children made signs as reminders to turn off lights, a new "salad bar" option was given for snack, and the school purchased a " greener" cleaner as part of the action plan. Community involvement was also specified and the CYC will be participating in a campus Green Fest April 15th for the 3rd year in a row. The Eco-School USA award is good for two years. See the progress toward this award.
February 26-28, 2017- The CYC's Curriculum/Enrollment Coordinator, Leslie Oppenheimer, attended NAEYC's annual Public Policy forum. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) had over 260 members and Affiliates from 44 states and the District of Columbia, participate in Washington, D.C. and it was their largest Public Policy Forum to date. There was a "Power to the Profession" boot-camp and Congressional meetings on Capitol Hill. Those that attended were advocates for high-quality early childhood education.
Oppenheimer said, "After an exciting and energizing day on Capitol Hill, I can say that I was proud to serve on the MDAEYC Public Policy team. All of the team members are exemplary early childhood professionals and I'm happy to call them all colleagues. We met with amazing senior staff members of our State Representatives and Senators, and we were pleasantly surprised when Sen. Chris Van Hollen himself found time in a very busy day to spend with us!" Read more on the NAEYC web page.
February 6, 2017 - The CYC received a NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accreditation renewal decision Friday, two weeks after the official visit, and two months sooner than we anticipated. The results showed a more than perfect score due to some of the emergent criteria that the school was able to showcase.
Director- Dr. Mona Liegh Guha expressed, "We are proud of our teachers and our community, and it really speaks to the quality of early childhood education at CYC that NAEYC gave us such high marks." The 10 NAEYC "standards" (covering nearly 400 criteria through documentation appearing in 10 "program portfolios") were all awarded 100%. In fact, six of the 10 standards were awarded 100+% because the Center for Young Children addressed and documented "emerging criteria," not required, but evidence of highest quality.
The many portfolios documenting the school's actions toward these 10 standards were "commended" for their quality, completeness, and evidence of best practice. Assistant Director Anne Daniel says, "These portfolios (the 10 program portfolios and the three classroom portfolios [Red, Blue, Purple] examine and document the life of the CYC: its physical plant; the relationships built between school and families; our participation in the community beyond CYC; our teachers' preparation to teach and their teaching strategies; our curriculum; our assessment methods; our concern for the health and safety and general well-being or your children; and our leadership and management strategies. Thousands of pages of text and photos comprise these portfolios, telling the story of CYC. I am so happy that everyone's hard work is appreciated and acknowledged by NAEYC." Ms. Daniel was extremely instrumental in preparing the CYC during this renewal process by coaching, checking, encouraging, and supporting everyone in their effort.
Classroom visits (one hour each) to the Red, Blue, and Purple rooms equally validated the excellence of the school's program. All teachers at CYC were ready for their rooms to be visited.
When asked where do you go from "perfect?" Daniel said, "We will continue to listen to families and build relationships. We will continue to learn and grow as professionals, and to reflect on all that we do. We will continue to explore the campus community and the community both within and beyond CYC so that our children can learn and grow and become understanding members of a diverse world."
The Production of The Castle and the Dragon - By the Blue Room
Since September, the Blue Room Kindergarten children have been studying theater. They have learned about many aspects of theater, including, “that backstage has everything that actors need.” The children took a vote in January and decided that for their culmination, they should put on a play. First, they signed up for jobs that needed to be completed in order to put on the show. This included writing the script, roles of actors, making the set, props, among others. On Friday, January 27, 2017, the Blue Room performed The Castle and the Dragon in the Great Room. Families and friends came and watched the performance. After the show we had a party to celebrate all of our hard work! The food was even made by children in the Blue Room! We had a fun and exciting semester learning about theater! ~ Danielle Miller and the Blue Room Kids
January, 2017 - On the campus of the University of Maryland, three to six year olds at the Center for Young Children help the Earth. The kindergarten class at the Center are all members of the “Blue Committee”, the child section of the school's adult “Green Committee”. “The Earth is special and we want it to survive”, said Veronica and Brady, two kindergarten members of the committee.
The children also said they want animals, plants, and people to be healthy. They work hard to use less power by turning off the lights when they don’t need them. They even made signs to put on the light switches as a reminder. The Center for Young Children has earned the Maryland Green School award, The University of Maryland’s Gold Office award, The National Wildlife Federation’s School Yard Habitat award, and they are working on renewing their Eco-School USA Green Flag award. Part of the Green Flag award requires students to write an article about what they do. The children brain stormed ideas to put in the article to cover the questions, what, when, where, when, how, and why.To answer how they help the Earth, children listed their weekly “Trash Free Tuesday” event. Families pack lunches, “that have only a little trash so we don’t put too much trash on the mountains of trash in the landfill,” said one boy. Last Tuesday the whole school made less than ½ of a pound of trash at lunch time. The Blue committee also mentioned that they use both sides of the paper and they have a basket to put scraps of paper in that can be used again. Recycled materials are also available for the children to make collages or other art work. Children take care of materials so they last like, “putting caps on markers so they don’t dry out”, said Ben. The children came up with the motto, “The CYC Saves Energy” and it is proudly displayed in the front lobby of the school. Mimi, a 6 year old said, “The CYC saves ener gy because we want the Earth to be a healthy place”.
Teacher's have been preparing the children for this event by reading different versions of the Nutcracker and playing the music for children to dance to using scarves for props.
After the performance children were invited up to talk to the dancers and touch their costumes. One question a child had was, "Why do ballerinas wear tutus? "
"Daraja Ensemble" will be presenting their full concert next Saturday, December 10 (8:00 PM) at the Gildenhorn Hall, at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center here on campus.
The design team was made up of graduate students Brenna McNally, Leyla Norooz, and Priya Kumar. The sign depicts raindrops as they travel through the water cycle, pick up pollutants, and get cleansed as they move through the dirt and mulch of the rain garden and finally end up in the river. The design also includes a large slate board for children to draw on. McNally said the children helped by explaining what they thought the sign meant.
Some ideas the children came up with were to make the drawing board larger, show the path of the raindrops, and show smoke coming out of the boat in the ocean. The sign is considered 30% and will return to the sign company for some revisions. Look for the sign to be installed on the playground sometime in spring 2017!
The CYC article mentioned many of the sustainable activities geared toward the littlest terrapins on campus including the garden, recycling, composting, Trash Free Tuesdays, and learning about nature. Two teachers, Sara Person, and Vera Wiest, and two parents, Sally DeLeon and Peter Sunderland, attended.
The key note speaker was the vice president of Administration and finance, Carlo Colella. He talked of reaching out to the global community and of all the advances the University has done in the area of sustainability. Other articles highlighted included a time-line on environmental activities on campus, Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability, and how the University of Maryland takes a leadership role on Global Climate policies.
Abbey says, " My favorite time of year is the few weeks in spring. It is when the grass first greens, the cherry trees, the daffodils and forsythia are blooming." Although she maintains other gardens at the University she says the CYC is her favorite because everyone seems to enjoy the flowers so much. She says the kids, "crack her up". For maintenance, Penny says, "the most important thing is getting the new plants established in the beginning stage. That is when they need more water to root. Then it is just weeding and maybe deadheading or trimming."
Abbey got her first job at a farm stand when she was still in high school and has been working for the University since 1989. She plans to retire in 2019, buy a small home and plant her own vegetable garden. The CYC is very fortunate to have Penny Abbey tend to their gardens.
CYC At College of Education’s Welcome Fair
August 25, 2016- teachers and administration from CYC spent the afternoon greeting new and returning Graduate Students at the College of Education’s Welcome Fair. Kristen, Amy, and Amanda (respectively in photo above) along with Mona Leigh, Center Director (not pictured), shared information with Graduate students about our facility, how they can conduct research at our center, how they can enroll their children at CYC, and how they could work with us in other capacities. Looking forward to morecollaboration with COE Graduate Students in the future!
Summer 2016- Summer Camp at the CYC involves swimming, music class, lots of playground time, and an in-depth study topic. Each classroom does their own study based on the teacher’s ideas of what would be a good topic to delve into during the hot summer days The criteria are something that will hold the children’s interest, something that could incorporate being outside and something that uses the resources on our University campus. This summer the six camp groups chose, recycling, farm animals, bugs, healthy bodies, fish, and bridges. Some of the youngest preschoolers were able to observe the campus recycling trucks in action and talk to the University’s recycling expert, Adrianne Small. The farm animal campers took frequent trips to the campus barn to visit the cows and the healthy body group took fitness lessons at the Rec center and toured the Health center. The Entomology department hosted the bug group to view their insect collection and this group of 5 year olds also visited a solitary bee display at the Apiary on campus. One group of older children were able to visit the biology department to see and learn more about fish. They also went to the Paint Branch creek on a successful fishing trip. Lastly the rising 2nd graders toured many bridges on
campus and used the Campus bus to travel to some interesting local bridges. The Epply Recreation pool is utilized fully during summer camp and it is only one block from the Center. Children go to the pool at least twice a week with the older ones going three times a week. Having camp on a University campus has
been a great advantage for teachers and children at the CYC to give hands on opportunities for the campers to learn as well as just have fun during their six week attendance at summer camp. View the Yellow Room's summer camp web page to see more activities done during their bug study.
July 20, 2016- The children from the Green Room visited Klotz Institute of Karate in Columbia to take an introductory karate class during summer camp. The Green Room children are learning about healthy bodies and what it means to exercise. The children stretched and warmed up before practicing a few karate skills. Mr. Ken, the owner of Klotz Institute of Karate emphasized that karate is a practice to help you focus and activate your mind through physical movements and as a form of self-defense. Mr. Ken shared with the children that it is important to practice and not play karate. The Green Room children learned that karate is just one form of exercise to help keep your body healthy!
May 11, 2016- The Center for Young Children was proud to unveil the repainted bird sculpture located outside of the front entrance. The bird was originally part of the Prince George's County Art Council project in 2003 and had been donated to the school. The original paint on the bird had begun to chip and fade. Two UMD students, Yilin Zou and Elaine Qiu, had noticed this and offered to repaint it. Yilin and Elaine are graduates of the Plant Science and Landscape Architecture Department. Yilin majored n Landscape Management and Elaine in Horticulture Production. They are both part of the 2+2 program that allows Chinese students transfer their two years of college education in China towards a four year degree at UMD. Both of them were actively engaged in the CYC landscape projects. Children from the CYC kindergarten helped submit ideas for the new bird and were delighted with the results. One kindergartener said, "It's better than beautiful!"
April 30, 2016- was another successful Maryland Day. The CYC opened it's doors for a sing along with their very popular music teacher Eric Maring better know as "Mr. M". Along with Mr. M were his two son's, one on violin, one on mandolin, Milan's from the Yellow room's Dad, Can Ertogan, and a mom from the Purple room on the piano. Alumni and current students were present as well as some new faces. Several displays were set up to show green activities that the CYC is involved in to make it an all around annual Green Celebration.
April 2016- The Center for Young Children was certified as a University of Maryland's Gold Green Office for the third time! To become a certified Gold Green Office all members of the office must agree to participate by signing a pledge. The next step teachers and staff did was to review all of the criteria they earned as a Bronze and Silver Office, denoting those activities that they participated in at home. Some of the items on the check list were to have a non-idling zone for cars, a kitchen so that staff could bring their own food in, and to make sure coffee purchased is either fair-trade, organic, or both. The CYC was the first to become Gold Green Office certified on the entire campus. Staff agreed it gets easier each time. See the complete checklist of items completed by the teachers and staff. Learn more about the Green Office program at the UMD Sustainability web page.
April 14, 2016- The Center for Young Children participated in Residential Life’s Green Fest for the second time. This year’s exhibit included collages presented on large discarded cardboard boxes. The collages consisted of pictures of the children engaged in earth friendly activities such as composting and creating art out of recycled materials. Other images showed the students involved in activities outside with snow, wind, gardens, and other natural elements. Children dictated or wrote on recycled paper how they took care of the earth. These quotes were attached to the collage of images. Eliot dictated, "This is me and my friend exploring the Earth so we can learn how to better take care of it" to go along with a picture he had drawn. Yellow Room children, ages 3-5, made flowers from old magazines, yogurt cups, and cut apart egg cartons to adorn the top of the boxes.
At the festival, attendees were asked to cut flowers from scraps of construction paper, write how they took care of the earth and attach it to the collage. Several CYC families attended the event which was within walking distance of the school. The exhibit will be shared at Maryland Day, April 30 to help celebrate environmental awareness at the CYC.
March 9 2016- To kick off their garden study, the Orange Room walked over to the UMD Community Learning Garden where they met Ryan Kieft, a volunteer who is a music education major. Kieft showed the children the rain barrels and explained how they work, he also told them about the hay and how it kept moisture in and that they cover the vegetables at night when it is cold to keep them warm. Kieft wrapped the material around his body to demonstrate this idea.
One of the favorite items at the garden was the dinosaur kale that had bumpy skin like a dinosaur. Children brought clip boards with paper and pencils to draw some of the things they saw at the garden. 5 year old Veronica wanted to know why the tree nuts Kieft showed them were so big. Sam speculated it was because" a tree is so big." The class will continue their study by growing seeds in the classroom and vegetables on the playground and by more field trips to other gardens in the area, both vegetable and flower. ~ v.wiest
March 4, 2016- Teachers spent all day Friday participating in two workshops sponsored by the Prince George’s Child Resource Center. The first workshop led by Paul Armstrong, was titled, Including All Children and the Americans with Disabilities Act,
where teachers were able to learn the benefits of including children with disabilities, both physical and mental. Modifications for these students was discussed and it was discovered that most of these cost little in time and money and the paybacks for children were immense over an institutional setting. Resources were charted to help classroom teachers accommodate numerous types of disabilities.
The second training, On Track: All Aboard for Developmental Progress Overview, introduced staff to the new Maryland Department of Education’s regulation to screen young children for developmental delays. Using a variety of professional tools, teachers and parents will need to comply by briefly assessing children against typically developing milestones of their child's age to pinpoint whether a child is in need of intervention. This law will help identify children that may benefit from extra services. These children may have previously fallen through the cracks. This workshop was presented by Laura Terrell a trainer for the Resource Center.
Teachers commented that this information was important to help them comply with Government regulations and do the best job available for the children at the center. Not only does taking courses like this help comply with State criteria but it also increases the effectiveness of the CYC and helps to maintain the exemplary program that is already in place. ~ v.wiest
February 28, 2016- The Center for Young Childrens 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 (FREE!) for the Sunday, February 28 5:00 PM women's game.
This was the last home game of the season. Maryland's four Seniors, who have been to two consecutive Final Fours (and pushing for this year as well), were honored prior to the game. One Senior, Tierney Pfirman, has CYC connections...she was a student intern in the Blue Room a couple of years ago. The opponent was a worthy one...Minnesota. The Terps were ranked 5/6 in the country....a worthy opponent for Minnesota and for almost everyone this year. Everyone had a fabulous time at the Maryland vs Minnesota basketball game. Thank you to the parents who shared their pictures.
February 18, 2016- Children at the CYC were able to experience an electric guitar today during their weekly scheduled multi-class sing-along.
Can Ertogan, the dad of Milan in the Yellow Room, played some music with Eric Maring the school's music teacher. Eric Maring, known to the children as “Mr. M”, frequently encourages families with musical talent to share it with the children. Ertogan’s guitar playing was a big hit with all of the classes. Maring and Ertogan had the children compare an acoustical guitar (Mr. M's) with the electric guitar. Children noticed that they both had six tuning pegs but the electric guitar had all of them on one side. They also noticed the electric guitar did not have a hole and was plugged into a little "box" (amplifier). Maring showed the children how the volume could be controlled by turning a knob on the amplifier. Ertogan brought several pedals that connected to his guitar and amazed the children with the wah wah and reverb effect. Mr. M and Ertogan played the ABC song and Down by the Bay as the children sang along. Afterwards, several of children thought about making their own electric guitar with metal and wires.
Maring said even though they are both from different countries they could find common ground playing music with their guitars. Ertogan is from Turkey and has been playing on and off for about 20 years. You can listen to some of his music at www.oturmagrubu.net ~ v.wiest
December 18, 2015- CYC’s director, Dr. Fran Favretto, handed over the reins to Dr. Mona Leigh Guha today. Dr. Favretto directed the center for the past 23 years. Dr. Guha is no stranger to the CYC, her daughter attended the Purple Room for two years and she spent five years doing research at the Center with the UMD College of Information Studies & Human-Computer Interaction Lab. The staff, children and families will surely miss Dr. Favretto but are excited and welcoming for the new director Dr. Guha. ~ v.wiest
December 16, 2015- This week the Green Room hosted Penny Russell of Penny’s Puppets who shared her puppet show called Billly’s Bridge with the whole CYC. Her STEM based show featured Billy, Nan, and the Kid as they worked together to find a way to cross the stream to get to the green grass on the other side. Penny sang a song about problem solving and engineering saying, “1. There’s a problem. 2. Make a plan. 3. Build it. 4. Test it. Did it work? Why not? 5. Redesign, redesign, redesign! …”
During the fall semester the Green Room has been studying puppets with a focus guided by the children’s interest in creating a variety of puppets. The children created finger puppets and a stage with the characters and setting for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. After watching a video of Jim Henson demonstrating how to make a hand puppet each child created their own character using fabric, yarn, a foam ball, markers, and lots of double stick tape. At present the children are involved in a more complex small group project of making string puppets also called marionettes. We are finding many opportunities to use the engineering method taught to us by Ms. Penny! ~ S. Person
December 9, 2015- Dr. Fran Favretto, the Center for Young Children’s director retires after 23 years of service. As the director, Dr. Favretto has been in charge of teachers, researchers, staff, and children as well as being a presence at the College of Education. Her ideals for the school have resulted in a worldwide acclaimed program. Dr. Favretto’s leadership included moving to the current building designed specifically for the Center. Favretto was also instrumental in steering the school toward using the Project Approach, a style of curriculum which evolves from the children’s interests and looks at topics in-depth. This has resulted in teaching children how to go about finding the answers to their questions by observing, talking to experts, going on fieldtrips, and reading.
Favretto brought numerous well know speakers in the field to present workshops to the staff, including Sylvia Chard, Judy Helm and Carol Seefeldt. She paid attention to what the teachers asked to learn more about and included workshops on math, literacy, special education , documentation, outdoor learning, occupational therapy and many other topics.
Her most recent accomplishment was the complete renovation of the Center’s kitchen. Dr. Favretto always negotiated such projects making sure the CYC received the best available.
To honor Dr. Favretto, not only did the staff take her out to dinner but the school devoted an entire PTA meeting to celebrate her years of service and rewarded her by naming the Centers Great Room after her. The children were also involved by giving her advice for what to do in retirement. They suggested such things as, “sleeping, eating, doing laundry and visiting her grandma and grandpa.” The department chair, Nathan Fox and the Dean, Donna Wiseman attended the celebration as well as most members of Favretto’s family and many teachers from the past.
The College of Education singled her out at their annual Holiday party to give tribute to her accomplishments. Dr. Fox noted that the Center for Young Children was a “jewel” on the campus and that Favretto helped it become so well acclaimed. She will be greatly missed but the strong foundation she has provided the CYC with will love on. ~ v.wiest
November 2015- UMD Keeps the Yellow Room's Learning Mooving! -
During the fall semester, the Yellow Room children decided they wanted to study Cows. At first, the teachers recognized and valued the children’s ideas, but were concerned with how to carry out a deep and meaningful investigation into this specific animal. With a little research, the teachers were able to find out more about the UMD Campus Farm, the knowledgeable farm experts on campus, and the incredible lives of cows so close to our school. After creating a list of questions about what they wanted to learn, the children shared their first cow experience when visiting the campus farm. They observed these fascinating creatures, drew pictures, and asked many more questions. On their second visit “Farmer Lauren”, a UMD undergraduate expert, answered all of the children’s questions in addition to teaching them more about cows. Ms. Holliday, one of the classroom teachers noted, “We were lucky to have the campus farm available for many more future trips so the children could have live, meaningful experiences with our two resident cows, Chai and Eva.”
As the study continued, the children were extremely interested in dairy cows, the four compartments of the stomach, and the process of milking. The teachers spent a lot of time researching with the use of books and videos, but needed another live experience to truly understand these subtopics. The Central Maryland Research and Education Center (CMREC) located at the Clarksville Facility allowed the class to take a special tour of the barns, feeding silos, and milking parlor which services 80 dairy cows. The children met calves for the first time, watched many cows eat, touched real feed, watched a high-tech milking machine, and saw an enormous cooling tank up close. Needless to say, they gained an incredible amount of knowledge from a single field trip. “Having this UMD research facility open their “barn” doors to us was an experience which kept our study “mooving” in the right direction” Holliday expressed.
While the children will never forget all of their amazing experiences, the Yellow Room teachers will never forget the amount of resources we have available on campus. ~ A. Holliday
November 5, 2015- The Come Alive Outside project has brought two more additions to the CYC playground. One being a pergola to cover the stage built last spring. The landscape company Lawn Wrangler did the work much to the satisfaction of the children seen here dancing under the new structure.
The other addition was a maze designed and installed by Horticulture and Landscape Management students using ornamental grasses for the borders. Dr. Cohan, professor in the Plant Science and Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Maryland, the originator of the project said the grasses will grow to about three feet next spring, just the right size for 3-5 year-olds to "hide" in. Read more about the Come Alive Outside project. ~ v.wiest
October 28, 2015- This is the fourth year that College Park Scholars - Global Public Health students celebrated Global Hand-washing Day with the Center for Young Children. "I think this was the best yet with a small group of GPH students conducting an educational session about how to wash hands effectively, leading hand washing songs, and coloring a “Raise a hand for hygiene!” banner", said Professor Marring. Learn more about Global Hand-washing Day. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Hand-washing's mission is to save lives and improve health by teaching the important habit of washing hands with soap world wide. ~ v.wiest
October 4, 2015- Two CYC teachers present to a Science Methods class at the UMD. Amy Laakso and Vera Wiest conducted a work shop to an EDHD 321 class titled, The Young Child as Scientist, a science methods course, taught by Susan Klauda. The presentation emphasized the Center for Young Children’s project style curriculum with an emphasis on in-depth studies. This approach involves student inquiry and integrated learning with the child’s interest being the focus. Laakso and Wiest used several studies previously implemented in CYC classrooms including a reptile and pond and stream study. The workshop was enhanced by showing slides and video clips from the actual studies.
In addition the class was asked to think up science related topics that might be used in a long term project (several weeks) and to brain storm investigations and discussions that might be included in the topic. EDHD 321 students were then asked to write their own rudimentary lesson plan to accompany one of those concepts. Many good ideas were shared with the class including ways to adjust the lesson for children with special needs. After the lesson Klauda responded, “It was very interesting to get an inside look at how the Project Approach is implemented at the CYC, and very helpful for the students to have the opportunity to practice planning for a project/lesson with your guidance and input.” ~ v.wiest
July 2015- The University of Maryland Center for Young Children (CYC) Green Room summer camp children, studied "taking care of their world" for six weeks, with field trips around and off campus including a solar tracker, the A. V. Williams building, and LEAFHouse. At left, campers tour the Student Union with Dan Wray. Here they observe their green roof. After returning to the classroom, several campers made block structures with green roofs. The UMD Sustainability office featured one field trip to the Energy Research Center where the children climbed in Dr. Wachsman's Tesla and viewed a fuel cell. Read more at the Sustainable news page and visit the Green Room's camp web site to learn more. ~ v.wiest
May 2015- The Music Kids program exists to enrich and improve student development by bringing musical instrument education programs into the local school environment. They passionately believe that the study of a musical instrument should be an integral part of every child’s learning experience, right from the start.
Music Kids says that research shows studying a musical instrument during childhood, especially ages 3-7, is a powerful way to promote neurological development: it enhances verbal communication skills and spacial-temporal reasoning, teaches focus and discipline, and builds self-esteem.
To make the program as convenient as possible, they offer lessons at school during the day where children can learn an instrument alongside their peers. Parents are not required to attend lessons but are always welcome. Each student receives an instrument to take home for practice while they are enrolled in lessons.
The Music Kids violin program at CYC had a fantastic season with 26 budding virtuosi enrolled in lessons for the 2014-2015 school year. On May 19th, families gathered for the recitals to see each student perform a solo and celebrate their musical growth over the year.
“Three to six-year-old students are my favorite age group to work with, and it is so special to see the students start to self-identify as young musicians. The progress can seem slow in the beginning as first-year students gain the motor control to produce a beautiful sound, but I can always see them soaking up new information and improving week to week. The students grow in focus and discipline in their lessons throughout the year and really take ownership over what they are learning. By the spring, things really start to click, and I am always so thrilled to see my young students perform with poise and confidence at the recital.”– Sarah York (“Miss Sarah”)
Peter Sloan, whose 5 year-old took violin with Ms. York for 3 years said, “I think it’s wonderful. It’s great that the CYC makes it available. It makes it so much easier having it at school. The philosophy is just right.
- Influenced by the Suzuki method, where students learn music in the way that they learn a language: listening, learning to play before they learn to read
- Parent-teacher communication is key. Parents receive video summaries of lessons and have access to a practice video play list on YouTube so they can help at home.
- Students learn musical concepts like rhythm and pitch through singing, clapping, movement activities, and games and apply them to playing the violin.
She began Terrapin Teachers an initiative in undergraduate secondary STEM teacher education at the University of Maryland supported by the National Mathematics and Science Initiative. The program is a replication of the nationally known and highly regarded UTeach program that was developed at the University of Texas at Austin under her leadership. This is a collaborative academic program between the College of Computer, Mathematical, & Natural Sciences (CMNS) and the College of Education(COE). This program prepares students to teach math and science effectively using inquiry and project-based instruction.
The Provost wants to return to CYC especially when she needs a stress free experience. She is always welcome!
Fire Marshall Louisa works for the Department of Environmental Safety on campus and helps the CYC comply with the State’s licensing requirements for monthly fire drills.
August 16, 2014- In preparing for a new school year, teachers not only set up their classrooms and prepare lessons but will attend many inspiring and stimulating professional development workshops. Two such workshops scheduled for the first week are, Building Young Math Minds, presented by Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Cox author of Math Intervention and Family Math Night, and Physical Development in Young Children, presented by Dr. Jane Clark, Dean of the School of Public Health. Upcoming workshops will include, using nature to inspire children’s art, early childhood literacy, and an overview of the UMD’s Leap program. In addition all teachers will attend a full day of pediatric CPR and First Aid.
March-May 2014- Healthy Harvest, a UMD Honors group participating in the UMD Do Good Challenge, helped children plant seeds, make bean tepees and arrange tires for planters on the playground. Their goal is to, “enable children to grow their own unprocessed produce and learn about sustainability, gardening and healthy eating”. Pea, bean, radish, and spinach sprouts are already appearing through the soil. The children are anticipating the harvest and consumption of these tasty vegetables. Mia Kim coordinated the activities for the group.
March 5, 2014- The Center for Young Children earned the Silver Eco-School Award from the National Wildlife Federation. Julia Aquino, a UMD student intern in the Yellow Room, helped spearhead the initiative. One of the requirements achieved were to audit the school for energy use and come up with an Eco-action plan to reduce the usage. The Kindergarten and Yellow Room helped with the audits and decided on the use of natural light during their weekly Trash Free Tuesday lunches. The CYC also earned an award for School Yard Habitat through the NWF. Read more about progress toward the next level or Green Flag award.
Ms. Kain said, "We had a fantastic time at the NAEYC conference last Thursday and Friday! It is such a powerful feeling being at a convention with thousands of other people working on behalf of young children. "
August 2013- Cyc students learn first-hand about the March on Washington. Janice Gonzalez, a teacher at the Center for Young Children, recalls her experience 50 years ago in 1963 at the March on Washington where she heard Dr. Martin Luther King give his famous “I have a Dream” speech. Ms. Gonzalez was captured in a video recording by Katie Saponaro, a 7-year-old summer camp student. Katie was a participant in the Purple Room’s summer project on photography when she found out how to use the video mode on her team’s camera. During the photography study, the rising 2nd grade Purple Room campers visited the National Portrait Gallery where they saw an exhibit of photographs on Dr. Martin Luther King. After learning about Ms. Gonzalez’s experience, campers were encouraged to ask her about it. Katie got the idea to document her talking about it on video.
See more about the Purple Room’s Photography Summer Project
Chief David Mitchell, Major Chris Jagoe, Sgt. August Kenner, and Mark McGuigan, from the UMD Police Department, came in for a discussion on safety at the CYC. Teachers were able to express concerns and have their questions answered. A follow-up assessment was planned for a future date.
Jan.15, 2013- The Center for Young Children kicks off their first Trash free Tuesday. Initiated by the CYC Green Committee, Trash Free Tuesday is a day when children and staff strive to limit the amount of trash in their lunch that would end up in a landfill. Children at the center already sort trash into three different bins: Compost, Recycling and Trash.T
On January15th, the CYC community surprised everyone by cutting their lunch time waste by over half! After weighing the trash, the Kindergarten Green Committee helped create a graph to show the results to the entire school. Everyone was excited and one kindergartner wondered if the school could get down to only one piece of trash.
Most of the trash came in the form of food wrappers covering things like Gogurt, cheese sticks and cereal type bars. The trash will continue to be weighed by the children for the next three weeks. See the flier.
Special recognition goes to Anne Daniel who spearheaded and directed this process. She was committed and dedicated to the CYC receiving this wonderful honor. The teachers and front office staff must also be commended for their dedication to this endeavor. Also the families and children we work with are a huge asset and for whom we work so diligently. The process started last spring with parents filling out evaluations for the school.This is a marvelous outcome for this school year.
See the letter to the Director and the complete report.
To be considered a Green School the CYC showed documentation of using the environment as a context for learning, staff environmental learning, best management practice actions, and school-community partnerships.
Voted as our top 5 achievements during the process were;
- Receiving a Grant from UMD Campus Sustainability
- Teachers presenting at NAEYC
- Composting Program
- Switching over to reusable dishes and cutlery
- The Multiple Gardens Around the CYC
Congratulations to the administration, teachers, staff, children, and community members that were so deeply involved. See the completed online application.
Feb. 16, 2012- Students young, and old, thrive at the CYC. See the full article in the UMD Diamondback.Jan. 26, 2012- Campus Sustainability presented the CYC with the Bronze Green Office award after staff completed over 23 requirements, from powering down over breaks to bringing waste-free lunches. Many of the actions were already in place due to environmentally conscious efforts by teachers and staff. See our completed Bronze Green Office checklist!
The CYC has also become a participant in the Green Office initiative sponsored by the Sustainability department of the University of Maryland.
The PTA has become involved by selecting a parent as a member of the Green School committee, by selling reusable water bottles and by participating in the Save Fuel week. Even the Blue Room Kindergarten has formed their own Green Committee to help with progress toward a greener school. For one part of their commitment, the Kindergarten counted all of the indoor plants at the CYC and made a graph for display in the front lobby. Before the count, the Kindergarteners discussed how plants are beneficial to the environment.
Green Room teachers, Cici Fowler and Sara Person presented, "Do you paint what's in your mind? Conducting an in-depth investigation of painting through the project approach", at this year's convention of the prestigious National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in Orlando Florida.
The presentation consisted of sharing an 11-week in-depth investigation on painting conducted at the CYC and based on the Project Approach. Conferees were engaged through a series of photos, short video clips of field experiences such as the children's visit to the UMUC Art Gallery, the beginning phases of introducing a new media, and their culminating event: the opening of a classroom art gallery.
Ms. Fowler and Ms. Person shared, how through the course of the study, the children became active participants in learning how to use three different types of paint- watercolor, tempera, and acrylic. They also shared how they were able to use local artists as "experts" in their field of painting to demonstrate how to use the various types of painting tools, techniques, and paints.
We are proud to have Ms. Fowler and Ms. Person represent the Center for Young Children at the NAEYC annual convention again.
Later, Rosemary and Stephanie met with our CYC faculty for an hour and a half of fun information and sharing about the children's book publishing industry. I know we all feel like we KNOW this author, and the little character Yoko. That makes a difference for all of us here when purchasing and sharing Rosemary's many (over 130!) books. Visiting the CYC was one thing Ms. Wells requested to do when passing through DC. To quote Rosemary Wells, “Children learn up at CYC”. Finally, Rosemary left us with several pieces of her original art work. We'll frame and find just the right spots to display!
Check out Rosemary's website (www.rosemarywells.com) for more info about this beloved author, her books, games, etc.
August 6, 2011-The CYC Blue Room summer camp project is featured in the local College Park newsletter, the College Park Patch. Children ages 8-9 studied local American Indians over a six week period this summer culminating in their own Native American museum. Highlights of the summer included field trips to the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Language Museum, a visit from an archeologist, building their own brush shelter and hands on trips to Paint Branch Creek.
May 12, 2011-Connect the Dots dance troupe honored the CYC again with a performance on May 12. The dancers did two performances of Cinderella to accommodate the large group of children. Afterward many children were inspired to act out their own version of Cinderella. Thank you Connect the Dots for giving our children such a valuable experience.
April/May 2011- Ms. Casey and Ms. Adamson-Kain have an article in the current issue of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) "Teaching Young Children". The article features an investigation of pumpkins and gourds, entitled "Picturing Good Practice."
April 30, 2011 Maryland Day
Maryland Day is a special UMd tradition when campus is open, the last Saturday in April each year, to tens of thousands of visitors. Hundreds of separate activities and experiences are planned for those visiting Maryland. CYC is always open that morning, and we'll celebrate Md Day on Saturday, April 30, from 10:00-12:00. Kaydee Puppets will visit and present "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and "Nursery Rhymes and Rhythms" beginning at about 10:30 (but don't arrive at 10:30, as the Great Room is usually all filled by that time!); "Mr. M", Eric Maring will lead all guests in a special sing-along following the puppet shows. So it is a special, though brief morning here at CYC , with lots of time for your family to explore all the other happenings on campus.
For more information visit the Maryland Day web site
CYC kindergarten teachers Kathleen Sayers and Beth Solomon helped to initiate a desire in the Center for Young Children Kindergarten class to do a service project by reading a dozen or so picture books about people in diverse situations. Next the children came up with ideas of people they might be able to help. Then they talked about how they could help, and whether the help would be sustained over a long period of time. After many discussions and some research, the children focused on wanting to buy or build a house to help those in need. This is where the idea of Habitat for Humanity came from.
Zack Olsen and Michelle Chan, two experts from the UM Habitat for Humanity organization were invited to speak to the children and answer their questions. Meridith Phillips, the CYC PTA president and a fundraiser specialist, also came to discuss with the children how to raise money. From this information the children decided to hold a bake sale for the hungry college students at the Diner. The proceeds would be donated to Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Thompson from the Diner, embraced the idea and helped gain permission, set up a tent etc. to help make the bake sale a huge success.
The Kindergartners made signs and sent out donation letters to local stores in addition to baking items for sale at home and at school. Giant, Jason’s Deli, Roots and MOM’s donated food to be sold at the bake sale inspired by the children’s letters. The day of the bake sale all of the children helped to sell the goods and collected the money. The final tally has not been completed yet but it is estimated that the children sold over 400 items. The Kindergarten teachers said the success of the project could never have been realized without the help of their “incredible parents” who helped bake and bring in donations, as well as supervising the actual event.The children calculated a final total of $425.76!
The Dance Company collected Christmas gift donations from the CYC to donate to a children’s hospital. Many parents also purchased books through the CYC annual book fair to donate.
December 6, 2010- CYC Goes Green: The University Sustainability Council and the Student Advisory Subcommittee have decided to fund the Youngest Terps Go Green project. There were a total of 29 proposals seeking funding from the Campus Green Fund, and six have been funded to date. The Council thoroughly enjoyed reading over the project submitted by CYC and the funding will educate future generations about sustainability issues.
November 6, 2010 -Six CYC teachers presented at the annual NAEYC conference in Anaheim California, on topics ranging from language arts to science. See a write-up of each topic on the Presentations page. Congratulations teachers!
The purpose of this visit was to learn about the following:
- Overview of the CYC mission
- To observe a preschool class
- Overview of the early childhood education programs at CYC
They were impressed with the CYC and would like a partnership and collaboration with the staff and faculty. A Trip to Beijing may be in the future.
September 20, 2010 - The NAEYC Governing Board has invited Orange Room teacher Stefanie Kain to serve on the NAEYC Consulting Editors Panel for a three-year term beginning September 1, 2010 and ending August 31, 2013. As a consulting editor she will review and write a critique of approximately 12-15 manuscripts a year for NAEYC's journal, Young Children. Congratulations Ms. Kain!
April 16, 2010 - Author Dr. Sue Bredekamp Visits the CYC
There was a perfect match between the new textbook’s philosophy and the exemplary classroom practice, environment and documentation evident at CYC. The event was very successful and we hope to continue this positive partnership.
April 9, 2010 - Check out PBS's Reading Rockets to read Maria Salvadore's entry, "Why folk and fairy tales?", written after the Yellow Room teachers, Ms. Denaro and Ms. Ciardi gave a presentation to her Children's Literature class. The presentation showed the three stages of a fairy tale study recently completed with a group of mixed aged preschool children. Though the CYC is not mentioned specifically by name, Maria's thoughts are highly complimentary...and carry weight in the world of children's literature! Ms Salvadore's class had just completed a several week look at folklore. Congratulations Yellow Room teachers for this acknowledgment of your work.
Go to Rosemary's web site to learn more about her and enjoy reading her books with your children.
Dec. 12, 2009 - The Winter 2009 issue of Endeavors (a magazine for alumni and friends of the College of Education), mentioned the workshop presentations of CYC administrators and staff at this year's NAEYC convention. To view the article go to page 2 of the December 2009 Endeavor issue.