Halton Providers Can Use the Early Development Instrument (EDI) to Coordinate and Integrate their Work with Young Children & Families
By Elisabeth Wells, Ph.D., Our Kids Network Research & Knowledge Broker
Typically, when we talk about Early Development Instrument results, we talk about the number and/or percent of children who are considered developmentally vulnerable. Percent vulnerable means the percent of children who are struggling in one or more areas of a particular domain or subdomain of the EDI. For example, in Halton 28.4% of kindergarten children in 2018 were vulnerable on one or domains, and 12.6% were vulnerable on two or more domains.
How to Determine and “Turn the Curve” on Key Issues
Come together with partners across sectors to talk about the findings as they relate to your work, and identify gaps and where you might get started. Based on these conversations, you will determine which issues you need to act upon. This is referred to as “turning the curve.” This means taking action on findings that reflect a negative trend in order to turn the trend or curve in a more positive direction. The following is an easy tool designed by Mark Friedman, developer of Results Based Accountability (www.raguide.org) that can move you from talk to action in 45 to 60 minutes. Try using this tool as a way to discuss the results in the Community Profile.
The Early Years Initiative – Using Data to Create Criteria and a Plan
The Early Years Initiative is an example of collective impact to promote early childhood development and reduce the percentage of children who are developmentally vulnerable in Halton. The initiative operated in 6 neighbourhoods that were identified by studying risk factors, EDI data, and other neighbourhood level data and information. Six local community groups and worked together to plan and develop resources that are most needed and supported at the local level to address early children development and transition to school.
By Alison Hilborn, Our Kids Network Acton Community Hub Coordinator
Around the Acton Early Years Committee table, making a positive difference in children’s lives is what we all want. We want young children in Acton to grow and flourish, and ultimately become successful, happy adults. We work towards this vision through the many strong partnerships around the table. Over the past four years we’ve met once a month. We’ve brainstormed, discussed, critically analyzed, grown closer, and developed supportive, mindful relationships – relationships with “heart”.
It’s important to recognize that the partners on this committee come from organizations that have their own mandates, and yet these organizations all see the tremendous value in working together to bring change for the good to the community, and to young children and their families. We’re grateful for these Halton organizations* that support their staff to participate at the Acton Early Years Committee table. The benefits from their knowledge, expertise and perspectives on child development and this community’s unique needs are invaluable. We’ve progressed from speculating on possible solutions to grounding our discussions and actions in experiential learning, best practice efforts, and strategies.
It’s easy to see how our evidence-based initiatives that support young Acton children reflect the heart and creativity of the Acton Early Years Committee:
- Fine and gross motor skill activity kits that respond directly to the Early Development Initiative (EDI) vulnerabilities.
- Annual Kindergarten Fun Fairs to engage with new parents and to provide necessary service support information.
- Connect, Play & Learn Every Day! Messaging that speaks directly to parents.
We know it will take more time, and lots of hard work, to improve on current EDI results, but the Acton Early Years Committee is dedicated! We will use our partnerships, what we’ve learned, and our “heart” to continue to work toward addressing the underlying factors that impact young children’s developmental readiness for school – and to ensure that, in Acton, all children thrive!
Approximately 280 people attended the 2018 Acton Kindergarten Fun Fair including 89 brand, new kindergarten children!
*Acton Early Years Committee
Halton Catholic District School Board
St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School
Halton District School Board
McKenzie-Smith Bennet School
Robert Little Public School
Halton Region, Children’s Services and Healthy Families
The Halton Resource Centre
Reach Out Centre for Kids ROCK
The Town of Halton Hills
Community Living North Halton,
YMCA of the GTA
Links2Care – EarlyON
Halton Hills Libraries
Halton Children’s Aid Society
By Shawna Scale, OKN Early Years Initiative Community Impact Animator
With the end of October nearby, we will soon be reminded to turn back our clocks in order to gain a few extra hours of daylight. It’s also an opportunity for us to literally turn back time and reflect on our experiences as children and what this time of year meant to us.
As a child, for me fall was a magical time of playing outdoors until it was too dark or too cold to stay outside. I remember collecting acorns and brightly coloured leaves on my way to school and trading them with my friends at recess, jumping into piles of raked leaves in my backyard, and running through the fields at a local farm to find the perfect pumpkin for carving.
Play was as integral then, as it is now, to a child’s physical, social and emotional health and learning. Unfortunately, as Dr. Jean Clinton recently pointed out, the importance of play and learning is not well understood among parents who are more inclined to value traditional academic and structured activities over play. In order to shift this thinking, we need to change the conversation to address the importance of play with families, caregivers, colleagues and others who work with children during the early years.
Thankfully, as professionals working with families, many of us have daily opportunities to highlight the importance of play within our work and how it can be beneficial to both children, parents and caregivers. Through the Early Years Initiative, OKN and its partners are doing this by promoting Connect, Play & Learn, Every Day!, a campaign developed to raise awareness about the importance of learning through play during the early years. Parents and practitioners alike can access information, resources and play ideas online.
The more we discuss and document the importance of play with families during visits and in programs, the more likely parents will value the benefits play has at home, in school, and in the community.