(EDI) Early Development Instrument

The EDI is an important tool for the community planners, funders, and all those working with young children and their families.

The EDI:

  • Increases awareness of the importance of the early years;
  • Identifies areas where children are doing well or experiencing challenges;
  • Provides evidence to support community initiatives towards healthy child development;
  • Strengthens relationships between researchers and communities;
  • Provides communities with information to support future planning and service development.

            EDI results allow us to understand trends in child vulnerability across the province. Knowing how children are actually faring in the province means that communities and governments are able to provide better supports and services for families and young children. The results give every community in B.C. a snapshot of their children’s development in the years before they begin school.  The EDI results are widely used by our government partners to inform their program and policy decisions. Provincial initiatives, like the Strong Start Early Learning Centres, have used EDI data to assist in the planning and implementation of the program. Building on the principle of “children thrive when families thrive”, HELP’s researchers have provided government with recommendations for policy investments.

These investments will enable parents to best balance their responsibilities for caring and earning, therefore contributing to improved child development outcomes. Targets for reducing childhood vulnerability have also been integrated into the provincial strategic plan. In Abbotsford the EDI is used to help guide municipal planning and programming

The school district looks at EDI data for future early learning opportunities and funding. The Abbotsford Early Childhood Community Partners Table and Success by 6 also look at EDI data when choosing funding priorities.  To date funding has been provided to 5 school playgrounds, summer StrongStart programs, and various community programs located at school sites.

            The partners review the EDI data, along with other data including Stats Can Census information and neighborhood information to look at where there are potential gaps in services and identifies needs of families.  Through this information they are able to plan, and/or advocate to provide the services needed for the families of Abbotsford.   Without this data it would be difficult if not impossible to identify the specific needs of each neighborhood. 

            The goal of the Community partners is to ensure that every child is healthy, safe and secure, successful learners, and socially engaged and responsible. The data provided by the EDI help us to support families with young children to give them the supports and resources the need to prepare their child to succeed for life.  If children get off to a good start they likely to have better health, be more successful learners, and be more socially engaged and responsible throughout their teen years and through their lives. They are likely to require less extra support from social, medical and education systems.

            Economic research shows that for every dollar invested in quality childcare, at least two dollars are saved in later social costs and labour force productivity. For children in high-risk situations, this payback can be as high as seven to one. With the right care and nurturing in the first six years of life, children are less likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs, have health problems or become involved in crime in later years.