At the February PAC meeting, Brianne Grant of the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC presented on the application and results of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in British Columbia. The EDI is a population level measure that looks at the stages of early human development (ages 0-5). Early experiences play an important role in the development of the brain. By the time a child reaches the age of three, his or her brain will have tripled in size. The quality of experiences a child has in the early years impact their lifelong learning, health and well-being. The EDI measures children’s development across five areas:
1. Physical Health & Well-Being
2. Social Competence
3. Emotional Maturity
4. Language & Cognitive
5. Communication Skills & General Knowledge
Kindergarten teachers complete the EDI on individual children; however, the results are grouped by neighbourhood, school districts, health areas, and at provincial levels to understand patterns in vulnerability at the population level. With the collection of EDI data over the last decade, we know that nearly 30% of B.C.’s children are vulnerable when they enter school.  In Vancouver, the vulnerability rate is approximately 40%.  District wide, the largest proportion of children vulnerable was on the Communications Skills scale (23.7%).  Because Vancouver has a high proportion of children who speak English as a Second Language, it would be anticipated that vulnerability on the Communications Skills scale would be higher. Overall vulnerability in Wave 4  across just four scales, excluding the Communications scale, was 32%.
The EDI shows us that vulnerability is something that is not determined by the economic status of a family or where a family comes from. In fact, most of the vulnerable children in BC belong to the middle class, because this population represents the majority of children in the province.
In order to change the pattern of vulnerability across Vancouver and the province, we must make broad system changes by working together.  Positive social change requires the support of local, provincial, and federal governments as well as communities themselves.
For a Newsletter to parents, see (also attached):
For more on Vancouver’s EDI results in 2009-10, visit:
For information on the EDI for parents, visit: