Littlest Setonians Grow Their Community with Help from Friends  (Including the Pirate Parrot)

Maria Stone, director of Seton Hill’s Child Development Center, says they strive to help children grow by creating a sense of community.

“We don’t just consider ‘community’ to be the tangible place in which we live or go to school,” Maria says. “It is also the people, fellowship and relationships that help us all grow, work together, understand and appreciate each other.” 

Community Helpers

The Center helps students to understand all the different types of people (and animals) that make up a community by hosting visits from “Community Helpers.” 

Recent Community Helpers have included:

  • Chef Rizzi Defabo of Rizzo’s Malabar Inn in Crabtree, Pa, who taught the children how to make homemade pasta. 

  • Dr. Jon Sweany, radiologist, who brought x-rays and an interactive suit that shows where organs are located inside the human body. 

  • Officers McAtee and Scalzo, with K-9 Officer Falco, of the City of Greensburg Police Department. The (human) officers talked to the children about their jobs, what to do if they need help, and how police dogs are trained.

Featured Friends

The students at the Center, who range in age from 3 - 5 years old, each take a turn as a “Featured Friend.” During their Featured Friend week, they get the chance to bring something to the Center for an “extra special show and tell.” One Featured Friend Show and Tell in particular was a big hit with both students and staff. 

“We were fortunate enough to be visited by the Pirate Parrot!” Maria says. “He danced with the children, took photos and even got to meet Griff!” 

(Griff, Seton Hill University’s mascot, loves the children at the Center and gives the Pirate Parrot one big thumb claw up.)

University Faculty & Students

During fall of 2018, the Center children also played and learned with a variety of other special guests, including:

  • Seton Hill University music therapy students

  • Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Jeremy Brueck’s “Science and Health” class 

  • Associate Professor of Education Dr. Kathleen Harris’ “Learning to Read” and “Art, Music & Movement” classes

  • Education students taking an “Infancy, Childhood and Adolescence” course 

Trick or Treat

On Halloween, the children participated in the Center’s annual campus trick-or-treat event. They dressed up in costumes and visited buildings and offices all around Seton Hill’s campus. 

“The entire university comes together to ensure the event is special and that the children feel as much a part of the university community as the other students, faculty and staff,” Maria says. “They leave with bags so full and heavy that they can barely carry them – a testament to the thoughtfulness, generosity and enthusiasm of Setonians.” 

Seton Hill’s Child Development Center is a part of the University’s School of Education. It has provided preschool services on Seton Hill’s campus since 1951.

“The children of the Center are the littlest Setonians,” Maria says. “Our wish is to fit them for the world in which they are destined to live in the hopes that they too will transform the world.” 

Want to Learn More? Contact the Child Development Center at (724) 838-4258, (724) 830-1032 or