Tonya Roussis Interview:
This is file #66, cycle 2, this is Jean McMillen. Today’s date is Sept. 8, 2017. I am intervi3ewing Tonya Roussis , the Executive Director of the Housatonic Child Care Center. But first we’ll start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
TR:October 1, 1969
JM:You parents’ names?
TR: Christine Becker & Robert Carley (deceased)
JM: Do you have siblings?
TR:David deceased) and Brian
JM:Where did you go to school?
TR:I did my Associate Degree at Northwestern Community College in Winsted. I did my Bachelor’s Degree at Charter Oak. (Majored in Early Childhood Education Ed.)
JM:What is your job title?
TR:Executive director of the Housatonic Child Care Center
JM:How long have you been there?
TR:9 months, I started November 28th, 2016.
JM:Give me a job description.
TR: I oversee the teachers, and the program. I guide the teachers in their planning. My biggest job is to keep everyone safe in a safe environment for everybody to be in. I am now starting to do some stuff with the budget which is something new that I am starting to learn. I do a lot with the budget. I learn how to read it to find out where the money is coming from and what I have to spend. That is all very new to me. That’s about it.
JM:That’s a lot.
TR:It is a lot.2.
JM:What was your prior career path?
TR:It has always been this.
JM:Where did you work before?
TR:I worked at Canaan child Care in Canaan for 9 ½ years. I was the Head Teacher of Preschool. It was just Pre-school.
JM:And Assistant Director?
TR:I did some Assistant Director work and some tasks for the Director.
JM:At the Housatonic facility how many staff do you have?
TR:Right now we have 8 plus myself.
JM:How many clients?
TR:We are at 43.
JM: How are the children divided by age?
TR:They are divided by four different age groups: Infant which is 6 months to a year, toddlers 1, the one year olds and toddlers 2 who are the 2 year olds, and there is pre-school which are ages 3 to 5. We also do some before and after care. We do not have a lot this year.
JM:What do you mean before and after care?
TR:Children who come before the bus comes in the morning and they’ll come off the bus in the afternoon for the afternoon part of the program.
JM:What is the ratio of children to teachers?
TR:Infant room is one to four, toddlers are one to four and pre-school is one to 10.
JM:The curriculum that you are using is Teaching Strategies Gold?
TR:Yes, it is a creative curriculum.
JM:Can you give me an example of it?
TR:The reading of a book? So with the creative curriculum this would happen more in a pre-school class rather than toddler classroom. The teacher will read three different times within a week or a week and one half. The curriculum guide tells them the questions to ask during the story about the vocabulary for the teacher to enhance. By the time she gets to that third reading, the children should be able to narrate the story, not word for word, but they should be able to retell that story after that third reading.3.
JM:What is your fee schedule? What is it based on?
TR:That is something that the board puts together.
JM:Is it based on the age of the child or the care?
TR:It is based on the age of the child and the hours of care. So it is broken up into infant, toddlers have a different rate, and we also build on a pick–up time. The infants come from 7 to 4:30 which is one fee. If the child comes until 5:00 it is another fee, and if the pick-up is 5:30 that is another fee. We stagger those in the afternoon in order to plan teachers and their schedules.
JM:What are your hours?
TR:We are open from 7:30 to 5:30.
JM:That is a long day. Do you have any future plans for the playground?
TR:yes we are working on both playgrounds right now. I have divided the toddler playground into two groups of 8 who go out there. More than 8 toddlers cannot be in one space at one time. So I did split the playground because we have 2 groups of 8 toddlers. The one side of the toddler playground is full of large motor activities like climbers. The other side is the sandbox which I would like to put some more sensory things in there like water tables. The teachers are talking about putting in old pots and pans on the fences so the kids can play music. We want to spice up that one. In the pre-school playground we are in the process of getting tires to make a climber, not a high one but one that the kids can use. That is what we want to do with the playground.
JM:What is your illness policy?
TR:The basic illness policy is fever, diarrhea, throwing up 24 hours free of those without any medication. When they do come back they are able to participate in the program.
JM:If a child becomes ill at the Child Care Center, do you call the parent?
TR:We call the parent if the child’s fever is over 100.5 or if they have had diarrhea or vomiting. There are some other things that they can have like rashes or pink eye or those other childhood things that are contagious; we will call the parent to pick them up.
JM:What is your security policy?
TR:We have security cameras in the classrooms, outside and the front where the parking lot is. We also have a buzzer system so at 9:00 AM I lock the door. Anyone who comes in after that, they are buzzed in.
JM:If I wanted to pick up a child and you did not know me, what is your procedure?
TR:When they came in they would tell us who they were here to pick up. The parent would have to let me know ahead of time who was coming to pick up and give me their name. When they come in, I would check their ID to make sure that that was really that person to pick up the child.
JM:Sound like a plan. Is there anything that you would like to add to this before we close?
TR:I have been there for 9 months. It is wonderful to be in a new position. I was Head Teacher before and now this is a totally different role than what I was doing. I am enjoying it. I love the kids that we work with and the teachers are great. I am just looking forward to learning more and progressing the center into whatever next stages are going to come.
JM:Wonderful. Thank you so much.
TR:You are welcome.