How These Findings Can Impact Your Work with Young Children and their Families
By Elisabeth Wells, Ph.D., Our Kids Network Research & Knowledge Broker
We know that early childhood development is an important determinant of health and wellbeing across the life course. In Halton, one of the ways we monitor the developmental progress of children is with the Early Development Instrument (EDI). This is a population-based tool used to assess children’s development in five key domains. A questionnaire completed by kindergarten teachers across Canada, it is also conducted in Australia, parts of the United States, and in Halton. It helps us understand how children are doing developmentally in the context of their community.
The EDI measures developmental health. This refers to a child’s ability to meet age appropriate developmental expectations in five domains: physical health and well-being; social competence; emotional maturity; language and cognitive development; communication skills and general knowledge. When children are vulnerable in these areas, they can struggle in school, with relationships and have poor health.
- In 2018, 28.4% of Halton children aged five years were considered Developmentally Vulnerable on one or more EDI domains.
- Our developmental vulnerability rate in 2018 is similar to our 2015 rates, yet it remains at an all-time historical high for Halton.
- The 2018 vulnerability rate has stabilized to 28.4% since increasing from 23.8% in 2012 and to 28.1% in 2015.
- In 2018, physical health and well-being is the developmental domain with the most vulnerability. The domain with the least vulnerability is language and cognitive development.
The EDI results provide important information about the developmental wellbeing and progress of our Kindergarten cohort in Halton. The next steps are to explore the findings, have conversations about what the results mean, and plan to work together to respond to these findings.
How to Use these Results in your Work to Support Early Childhood Development
Developmental vulnerability varies by geography. Some neighbourhoods see consistently high developmental vulnerability. For example, Acton has traditionally had some of the largest percentages of children developmentally vulnerable in Halton, as well as South Central Oakville and West Milton. Use the Community Profile and the OKN Data Portal 2.0 to explore the differences between neighbourhoods.
Examine EDI results at the local community level by including other pieces of data, such as the Kindergarten Parent Survey (KPS) results. Using multiple indicators as evidence of strengths and needs provides a more comprehensive picture of wellbeing.
Use the Data Conversation tool with your team to talk about the results, interpret what they mean and how they relate to your programming and service delivery with children and families.