Region VII Head Start Sand Box summer 2017

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Project Eagle Staff Members

Promoting Excellence through Training of Future Professionals by Jennifer Adhima, MSW, Associate Director, Project Eagle, University of Kansas Medical Center


n its almost twenty-eight year history, Project Eagle has educated countless students in the fields of medicine, social work, early childhood education, child and family studies, and nursing. Through internships, observations on home visits, or classroom experiences, students in these fields have an opportunity to understand the strengths and needs of children and families in the community and best practices in the field of early education. It is often work that is less recognized than the direct service programming that happens on a daily basis, but it is equally as important. One of Project Eagle’s three purposes as an organization is to promote excellence in the field of early childhood education. One strategy is preparing students in the fields of child and families studies, early childhood education, social work, nursing, and medicine to work with children and families. Ten years ago, Project Eagle was collaborating with two or three academic institutions for a total of five to ten student placements in a year. Since then, the number of partnerships and student placements has steadily increased, and now, in a 26

Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Summer 2017

typical year, almost sixty students from six to ten academic programs ranging from high school through medical residency, spend some portion of time involved in hands-on learning from the staff, children, and families of Project Eagle. In the 20162017 academic year, fifty-two students spent time at Project Eagle completing various student placements. Project Eagle is an Early Head Start grantee in Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas and offers Early Head Start Home Visiting and Early Head Start Center-Based Services through its Educare Kansas City School. Many people assume that early childhood programs would only be appropriate placements for students studying to be early childhood classroom teachers, but the longest-running program at Project Eagle is Early Head Start Home Visiting, which provides many unique learning opportunities for students. Seeing families and their children in their home environments is an experience unlike others, and Project Eagle staff work directly with students to support them in learning how to do this important work.