By Bruna Redoschi, OKN’s Research Associate
It’s safe to say that 2023 is a data collection year for OKN. We will soon have new, high-quality data to support the work of organizations in Halton! We will learn more about how kindergarten children and their parents are doing based on the Early Development Instrument (EDI) and the Kindergarten Parent Survey (KPS). This is an exciting time for our community to come together and think about what is needed to see all children and their families thrive.
Before jumping into some history, I invite you to join us in this collective effort. The Kindergarten Parent Survey is going live on June 6. So, if you are a parent – or know a parent – of a senior kindergartener in the Halton Region, visit our survey page for more details on how you can support this initiative.
The History Behind the Kindergarten Surveys
While I have you on board, let’s talk about these exciting surveys, starting with where it all started: the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The EDI is a questionnaire, answered by kindergarten teachers, that assesses children’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations in five general domains:
Sample EDI question: Would you say that this child is well coordinated (moves without running into things or tripping over things)?
Sample EDI question: Would you say that this child is able to follow one-step instructions?
Sample EDI question: Would you say that this child comforts a child who is crying or upset?
Sample EDI question: Would you say that this child is able to read simple words?
Sample EDI question: How would you rate this child’s ability to tell a story?
In 2015 the EDI was implemented province wide. However, well before that, starting in 2003, OKN had been actively conducting the EDI assessments every three years in Halton.
When we understand how children are doing developmentally, we can work together and offer the support they need to thrive. A concrete example of this occurred in 2014, when the Acton community discussed the EDI results. This discussion prompted the community to move from data to action. By identifying the areas where children required additional support, the community got together and organized initiatives to offer kids activity kits, “monkeynastix” classes, and even hosted a Kindergarten Fun Fair annually until COVID.
There is Power and Achievement in Collective Action
Along with the EDI, came the Kindergarten Parent Survey – or the KPS. The KPS is a unique survey developed for Halton, by Halton researchers. The KPS supplements the EDI by asking parents of kindergarten children about their child’s health and wellbeing, child care, parenting, and social cohesion. We call it the “sister survey” to the EDI, and it helps us have a more fulsome picture of how children and their families are doing beyond developmental vulnerabilities.
This was my first time seeing a KPS implementation in action. I started at OKN in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the EDI and KPS had been delayed pretty much as everything else. I kept hearing about the dynamic duo but was still waiting to have a chance to participate in the process. It is finally happening, and after learning the EDI was moving forward, we got into KPS implementation mode! And I saw that it does take a village. It takes a village to support children and families once we get the results, and it also takes a village to collect the data! Seeing the network in action felt very rewarding. Children Services, School Boards, Public Health, and OKN staff all came together to think about what we need to know to move forward together. There would be no survey without this collective effort, from carefully reviewing and editing the survey tool to supporting its timely implementation. I’m impressed and delighted to see everybody joining hands to support Halton’s children and families.
By the end of the summer, we can expect some delicious data and a knowledge mobilization plan to keep supporting and inspiring collective action. Stay tuned!
If you want to know more about the previous editions of the EDI and KPS, visit our Resource Hub.