Ashley Jenkinson

When I was a senior in high school, I started working one on one with a Kindergarten student who had English as her second language. It was that experience which triggered my curiosity about the years before Kindergarten. As I went off to college I was pretty set on becoming an elementary teacher but also knew I wanted to study child development. My first child development class was about young children and trauma—it was there that I found my passion for Early Childhood Education and Child Development. I started taking more ECE classes, volunteering at Head Start and also started drifting farther from Elementary Education and more toward ECE. I graduated with my BA in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Child Development from Humboldt State University in California. In 2008, I got my first position at a local ECE program which was inspired by Montessori and used a play-based curriculum. This solidified my choice to work in the ECE field rather than Elementary—this is when I truly fell in love with ECE and all of its possibilities and the influence we have as early childhood educators.

I have had many roles in the field – from classroom aide to teacher, program specialist, assistant director, director and now a mentor for all early childhood educators in Multnomah County. What I love most about my current role is helping professionals find something new within themselves or overcome a barrier. I also very much enjoy the people I work with every day—we have a WEALTH of knowledge, experience and passion in this office and it’s very rewarding to be immersed in that each day. I believe there is never a ceiling in this field, we can continue to learn and learn from one another.

The things I enjoyed most when I was a child were reading books and playing in the forest in my backyard. I made mud pies, investigated creatures I found, built forts, and explored trails, among other things. As an adult, I am grateful that my parents made me play outside for most of my childhood. As a young child, my favorite book was The Napping House and still to this day it’s my favorite picture book. Outside of work, I spend much of my time with my husband and our two dogs, Comet and Dash. We enjoy camping, trying new restaurants and new foods, fishing, gardening, watching the San Francisco Giants, cooking, and cherishing time with family and friends.