Blair Ackerman Interview:
This is file #69, cycle 2. Today’s date is Sept. 26, 2017. This is Jean McMillen. I am interviewing Blair Ackerman who is going to talk about her work when she worked at the Housatonic Child Care Center and anything else she wants to add. First we will start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
BA:Blair Erin McClanahan Ackerman
JM:When were you born?
BA:August 15, 1984
BA:In Sharon Hospital
JM:Your parents’ names?
BA:Patricia Hollman McClanahan and Donald McClanahan
JM:Do you have siblings?
BA:I have one older sister, Emily Beach.
JM:How did you get involved with the child Care Center?
BA:I had heard through a mutual friend that they were hiring staff.
JM:Were you in the toddler room?
BA:I was later on in the toddler room.
JM:When did you get the job?
JM:You were there for 2 years?
BA:Yes, 2005 to 2007
JM:Why were you looking for that type of job?
BA:I have always loved children.
JM:Good for you. That is a nice answer. When you were working there, did you get any training?
BA:No a ton.
JM:Was it in-house training?2.
BA:Yes, it was all in-house training.
JM:Was it hands-on?
BA:Yes, it was very hand-on which is what I like.
JM:Was the director at that point Lisa Harmon?
JM:How were the children divided up? The age range was from 3 months to 6 years old.
BA:There was the infant/toddler room which was 3-4 months to 3 years and then they would transition into the other room which was 3 ½ years to 6 years old.
JM:At the time that you were working there, did they have a bus that dropped off the Pre-kindergarten children at the Child Care Center from Salisbury Central School?
BA:Yes. There was the morning and afternoon pre-k kids would go on the bus.
JM:What level did you work with?
BA:I worked with the toddlers, not the infants, just the toddlers.
JM:Did you work with Kristine Gilman? (See file #71 Kristine Gilman)
BA:Yes I did. She is a sweetheart. She is very good at what she does.
JM: What was your schedule?
BA:I worked 9 to 5:15. When I left, I was working from 7:30 to 3:30.
JM:That is a long day. If you were working with the really little ones, you had to feed them, diaper them.
BA: Feed them, play with them, put them down for a nap and out on the playground. It was very intense. We would go for walks. There is a path from the child care center to Salisbury. We would walk the bike trail to Salisbury and back. That would be the morning activity. They liked it. They always liked that.
JM:Could you tell me how many clients you had?
BA:A lot, it was a ratio of 4 to one.
JM:That would be the infant/toddlers to one teacher.
BA:Yes, that would be in the 1 to 3 ½ year olds; for the older ones 3 ½ to 6 the ratio was 1 to 8.
JM:How many infant were in your care, 4?3.
BA:I mas mostly in the toddler room and had 4, but there were 3 or 4 teachers. You were only allotted a certain number by law.
JM:So you have a director and then a head teacher and assistants?
BA:Yep, Denise Gaynor was the Head Teacher for the Infant/Toddler Room.
JM: What did you like best about it?
BA:I loved the children. They were wonderful. You definitely got attached.
JM:Was there anything that you disliked?
JM:You said before that you learned how to be a parent from the examples of good and bad.
BA:Absolutely. There were a lot of very wealthy clients. There were a lot of expectations. There was a lot of money thrown around. I could tell the parents that really cared for their children and were hands-on than other ones who weren’t. That comes with the territory.
JM:Wanting the best for their children and willing to compromise some things. Is there anything you would like to add?
BA:I think it would have been better if we had had more training. Some of the talks were not appropriate and a waste of time. There needed to be stricter rules when it came to certain aspects. We had to do continuing Educational hours.
JM:When you were working there, were there any security measures?
JM:But that was before the massacre of children at Sandy Hook School.
BA:There was no busser system, camera in the classroom; you just walked in and you hoped that they would go right to the office. There was no open window; it was pretty open. Now I would want a security system.
JM:Now there are security cameras. You are buzzed in. Someone takes you to the office. If you are picking up a child for a parent, the parent notifies the center in advance. You have to show an ID before they release the child to you. It is very much more secure.
BA:That is good and what it needs to be.
JM:Thank you very much for your information.