IECE student to lead by example within his classroom
- Lauren Weitlauf
- Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021
Fancy Farm, Kentucky native, Jackson Purcell, stands out within the WKU Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education program, and in more ways than one. Not only is he regarded as a top student within his discipline, but he appreciates the challenge of participating in a notoriously female-dominated field.
Purcell sees this difference as an advantage rather than a detriment as he hopes to provide students with a positive male figurehead early in life.
“When I came into this field, I knew that I was going to be one of the only males in my program,” Purcell said. “I had already prepared for this in high school. I was taking child development classes and was the only boy in those classes as well. Just being there for the children in a very crucial time of development will naturally help provide a different perspective to student learning.”
While his success seems like an overnight event, Purcell was not always sure he wanted to work with preschoolers. His interest piqued when he noticed children gravitating towards him during family parties and events.
“I quickly realized that I had a natural gift when it comes to building a connection with children. After this break-through I decided that I should put my natural abilities to good use, ” Purcell said.
Now, Purcell not only cultivates the work he enjoys, but he finds himself continually inspired by his students.
“They [children] are in touch with their emotions. They tell you when they are upset, happy, mad, thankful and many other emotions. [They] are always surprising me with the way they perceive things around them, how they view me and others and are not afraid to express those thoughts,” Purcell said.
Purcell will graduate in 2022, and while his career hasn’t officially taken off, he’s already looking forward to having his own classroom where he will foster a safe and positive learning environment and instill an early love for learning.
“The best way to help them [students] to learn this is through my own actions,” Purcell said. “Actions speak louder than words, and this stays true to this day.”
Lastly, in the midst of a global pandemic, life at WKU, and personal activities such as camping, hunting, and golfing, Purcell is also taking the time to redefine what “success” looks like for him.
“In my career, if I can make a difference in just one child’s life, that is success. If I make a positive change in lots of lives, then that is also success,” Purcell said. “To be part of something bigger than me and make an impact in the lives of children is success.”
The Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education program is designed to prepare individuals to work with young children from birth through 5 years of age, both with and without disabilities. The program was recently revised to include a minor in Teaching English and the opportunity to pursue the endorsement in TESOL. Program graduates enjoy a high employment placement rate. The IECE certification area is currently included on the statewide critical shortage list making it a lucrative area to pursue certification and employment opportunities. For more information, please contact either Dr. Sylvia Dietrich or Mrs. Beth Schaeffer.