Nova Scotians now have more information to determine how children are doing developmentally with the release of new Early Development Instrument (EDI) data.
The data is collected every two years by Grade Primary teachers who complete a questionnaire for each child in their class on five developmental areas: physical health and well-being, emotional maturity, communications skills and general knowledge, social competence, and language and cognitive development.
Nova Scotia’s EDI results for 2014-15 show 25.5 per cent of children were vulnerable in at least one developmental area and 12.6 per cent were vulnerable in at least two developmental areas. The data shows no significant change from 2012-13.
Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey, highlighted the importance of investing in the early years recently when she released a report on the findings of a review on regulated child care.
“The government of Nova Scotia should be commended for its commitment to track children’s development every two years,” said Dr. John LeBlanc of the IWK. “This gives a provincewide measure of Nova Scotia’s most important resource for future prosperity and well-being, our children.
“The EDI is being used increasingly across Canada to help communities and governments shape the best possible futures for children. I look forward to Nova Scotia EDI data being available especially at the local level so that communities know how their children are doing and can work on solutions together with governments and schools.”
The data will be shared with local partners, such as school boards, the provincial health authority, child care centres, family resource centres, and early intervention programs, to understand how well children are doing and to support planning. It will also help government, communities and partners support children in the early years before starting school.
Since the last EDI results were released, the department has created a guide for four-year-olds to help families support children’s early development through play. Let’s Play Together has tips for easy low- to no-cost activities that families can do together to help develop in areas consistent with EDI indicators. The guide can be found at https://www.ednet.ns.ca/documents/lets-play-together-guide-parents-4-year-olds .
Significant changes and improvements were also made to Early Childhood Development Intervention services to improve the outcomes for children with developmental delays. Funding to hire new developmental interventionists was provided to address the waitlist, ensuring all families receive service faster.
Four more Early Years Centres were opened in communities to provide programs to support young children.
For more information and to read the EDI report, go to www.ednet.ns.ca/earlyyears .