Ashley Durgan

Major: Liberal Studies and Child Development
Hometown: Redding, CA
Class: Senior
Program Position: Teaching Assistant, AS Child Development Lab (ASCDL)

How did you first get connected with ASCDL?
I’ve always loved working with kids. It’s in the genes! My mom owns a home daycare. I had a classmate here who worked at the ASCDL and she told me all about it. I went on-line to look for a job with the lab last semester, and here I am!

How would you describe your current position with the ASCDL?
I’m a teaching assistant in the Blue Room which is filled with two year olds. I facilitate play by helping them explore and expand their small ideas. I use my creativity to help them develop along with positive modeling. We plan activities that facilitate developmental milestones; parallel play, animism, group play, etc. Learning how to socialize in group play is very important at this stage. We have activity tables with a wide variety of sensory motor activities, so the children are constantly playing and moving.

What does working at the ASCDL do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
My job allows me to use my creative spark to be silly, goofy and just have fun. The kids are always happy to see you and to show you what they’ve learned. It’s a great environment. The teachers model and teach us, but always allow us to use critical thinking to make judgments. I get to connect the developmental theory I’m learning in the classroom in my work setting, so I’m always learning and applying. What I live in the lab helps make what I learn in class more clear and cohesive. To see the wide variety of development at various stages is so interesting. You observe what happens in the lab and then learn why it’s happening in class.

What do YOU bring to the table in your position at the ASCDL?
I get to be lighthearted and excited every day. I genuinely want to see and hear what the kids have to say – to let them know they’re special and important. I have a lot of experience babysitting and watching my mom run her daycare, so it’s nice to share what I know to help others with less experience.

What are your career plans and how does your job with the ASCDL better prepare you for that path?
I want to work in a day care or pre-school setting, maybe even own one. I’ll be moving to San Jose so working in childcare at a company like Google would be great.  Every day is different and fun when you work with children. I’m happy to work with children of any age but I’m partial to the two year olds. It’s so rewarding to watch them explore and be proud of their accomplishments. The head teachers I work with are such great models and they work hard to help you succeed.