Early Development Instrument
What is the Early Development Instrument?
The Early Development Instrument (EDI) is an early child development questionnaire developed by Drs. Dan Offord and Magdalena Janus at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University.
The questionnaire has 104 questions and measures five core areas of early child development that are good predictors of adult health, education and social outcomes.
The EDI questionnaire is completed by kindergarten teachers from across B.C. for all children in their classes. They are filled out after teachers have known the students for a while and can answer the questions knowledgably, normally in February.
Looking at Populations Not Individual Children
The EDI is a population-level research tool. This means it measures developmental change or trends in populations of children and is not used to understand individual children. Although Kindergarten teachers complete the EDI for individual children, the results are not used at the individual level.
Safeguarding EDI Data
Safeguarding data is a responsibility HELP takes very seriously. Please visit our Safeguarding Personal Information page to learn more about how HELP safeguards research data and protects the confidentiality and privacy of individuals.
EDI Data: How is it used?
HELP creates maps, graphics and reports that summarize EDI results at a provincial, school district and neighbourhood level. Specifically, these materials focus on the vulnerability of populations of B.C. children, which are determined by EDI scores. To be vulnerable means that a child is at increased risk of difficulties in the school years and beyond. HELP’s Vulnerability on the EDI fact sheet provides specific information about vulnerability.
Communities, schools, and governments use the EDI data, along with associated maps and reports, to inform their work. Learning how children are actually faring across the province right now means that communities, schools and governments are able to provide better supports and services for families and young children where they are needed.
To date, more than 500 early child development initiatives and community projects have been supported by EDI results. Examples include Preschooler Health Day Circuits in Prince George and the hiring of early childhood educators for preschools and daycares in Vancouver Island neighbourhoods in which 25 to 50% of children were at risk in one or more of the developmental domains of the EDI.
In addition to community projects, researchers are using EDI data to dig deeper to learn more about children’s well-being. Using EDI data, HELP’s own Developmental Health and Well-being of Children Born to Immigrant and Refugee Families research group has found that kindergarten children’s developmental health does differ depending on cultural backgrounds, even after poverty is taken into account.
EDI Data: Who uses it?
Early childhood coalitions, early child development workers, and school representatives use EDI data to inform their work with children and young families by identifying strengths and needs within their communities. A number of provincial ministries, including the Ministries of Children and Family Development, Education and Health, use EDI maps and data to plan early childhood investment, policy and program development. B.C. Ministries also use EDI data for program evaluation. Researchers at HELP use EDI data to address important questions about the genetic, biological, and social determinants of children's health and development to inform policy and program development.