Discover MDI: A Field Guide to Well-Being in Middle Childhood

It is with great excitement that we announce the launch of a new online tool that will support schools and communities to explore and use their data from the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI). We're calling it “Discover MDI: A Field Guide to Well-Being in Middle Childhood.

The MDI obtains information about the psychological and social worlds of children during middle childhood inside and outside of school from the children themselves; allowing children’s voices to be heard and valued. It gives us insight into areas that have great significance in children’s lives, but which are not typically evaluated by other assessment tools. Yet, simply collecting these data is not enough. My goal for the MDI has always been that the data garnered from it be actionable and hence support positive change for our children in their schools, homes and communities. Over the past five years we have been working collaboratively with educators and community partners to develop this innovative resource that will provide the tools to make it relatively easy for people to use their MDI results and make positive change for children. The culmination of this work is the MDI Field Guide.   

We understand that enacting change in our schools and communities can be complex. The Field Guide features shareable, plain-language walkthroughs of key MDI concepts, tools and tips for presenting your data, and recommendations for using the MDI to initiate change in your schools and communities. It’s aimed at a diverse set of users: those new to the MDI and those who want to deepen their work with their MDI data.

We also know that “it takes a village to raise a child” so it is best not to attempt change on your own. That’s why the MDI Field Guide has been designed to be a collaborative space where users can ask questions, submit their ideas, and share their stories with others who are using MDI data and concepts in their work in BC and across Canada. Children have shared their experiences, feelings and wishes with us. It is now up to us to listen and initiate positive action within schools, organizations and communities.

I would like to extend my warmest appreciation to the students, teachers and administrators who have made the MDI possible. MDI research is made possible with funding from the United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) and school districts and communities across BC. Thank you for your support and collaboration on this project. 


Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl
Director, HELP and Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education, UBC