View this email in your browser
EDI Newsletter Winter 2014 Edition
It is a pleasure to be in touch with you again.  Early childhood continues to be a field that generates a lot of interest in Canada, and around the world. The EDI Team at the Offord Centre is proud to contribute to the advancement of this field through our collaborations with many of you.  In this Edition of our Newsletter, we continue to highlight areas in Canada and outside of our borders that have successfully used the EDI.  This time we have contributions from Manitoba and Brazil: their stories are fascinating. We also invite you to browse the links to other stories and publications included here.

Early Development Instrument (EDI) in Manitoba
The history of the EDI in Manitoba dates back to 1998, when Dr. Fraser Mustard and Dr. Dan Offord introduced it to government and the community. Intrigued by the potential of the EDI, the Winnipeg School Division piloted the EDI in 1999, selected by the Understanding the Early Years Initiative (UEY).[i] In 2000, Manitoba’s South Eastman region was selected as the second UEY site in Canada.

In March 2000, the Manitoba Government announced the Healthy Child Manitoba (HCM) long-term prevention and early intervention strategy to improve outcomes for all children and youth (prenatal to 18 years). Based on the effectiveness of the above EDI experiences, Manitoba’s Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet[ii]  mandated funding and coordination for a province-wide, voluntary phase-in of the EDI in all of the public school divisions, beginning in the 2002/03 school year. Currently, the EDI is collected in all 37 Manitoba provincial school divisions on a biennial province-wide mandate.

The voluntary participation amongst Manitoba’s First Nations independent schools has been steadily increasing over the years. In 2008/09, Opaskwayak Cree Nation’s Joe A. Ross School became the first independent First Nations school in the province to collect the EDI. By the 2012/13 school year, 29 First Nations independent schools were involved in the EDI collection. Through a longstanding partnership, the Healthy Child Manitoba Office (HCMO) works closely with the Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre (MFNERC) to support First Nation schools in the EDI process. HCMO also partners with Manitoba school divisions, Manitoba’s province-wide network of Parent Child Coalitions and Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning.

EDI results provide important information on early childhood development in Manitoba and help elucidate the population-level effects of Manitoba’s investments in early childhood development. Provincial and community-level EDI data reports are developed for policy-makers, community stakeholders and the general public. The demand for the EDI as a performance indicator has grown considerably as increasing numbers of provincial government departments include the EDI in their progress measurement reports. [iii] The EDI is also being considered in policy and program development, and as an outcome measure in research projects (e.g., with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy) and program evaluations, including programs at HCMO such as Healthy Baby, Families First, a pilot of the Abecedarian Approach (at the Manidoo Gi Miini Gonaan enriched ECD centre in Lord Selkirk Park), Seeds of Empathy and Triple P - Positive Parenting Program.
For more information on the EDI in Manitoba, visit:
[i] The Understanding the Early Years (UEY) initiative helped communities gather quality information on early childhood development. It began in 1999 and ended in March 2011.
[ii] Currently, Manitoba has the only standing Cabinet committee in Canada dedicated to the well-being of children from their earliest years through their transitions to adulthood.
[iii] For example: ALL Aboard poverty reduction and social inclusion strategy Annual Report; Conservation’s Provincial Sustainability for Manitoba Report; the legislated HCM Report on Children and Youth every 5 years.
Evaluation of the Better Early Childhood policy: EDI helping to raise ECD awareness in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
In light of the growing recognition of the importance of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Brazil, the pioneering PIM program - Primeira Infância Melhor (Better Early Childhood) – was launched in 2003 in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. PIM was developed with the local support of the state and municipal governments, as well as international support from UNESCO and UNICEF. PIM’s aim is to “provide guidance to families, based on their own culture and experiences, to allow them to promote their children’s holistic development from pregnancy to six years”1. In 2006, PIM was established as a State policy specifically focused on pregnant women and children less than three years of age living in socially vulnerable areas.
In its ten years of operation, PIM has reached 53% of the cities (N=264) in the Rio Grande do Sul State and another 101 municipalities have been educated and trained to implement PIM. More than 2,600 home visitors are supporting 8,091 pregnant women and 59,334 children and their families through an intersectorial, family and community based approach which integrates education, health and social services at the municipal level. In addition to the weekly home visits which focus on parenting education and issues related to family health and well-being, PIM leads and supports many other programs such as early literacy and recreational activities, allocating resources to vulnerable families (e.g., registering families in social programs), community workshops and neighborhood mobilization to bring ECD issues to light and to reduce violence. Many other Brazilian states have been inspired and/or supported by the PIM model to develop initiatives focusing on ECD, for example, the Very Early Childhood (Programa Primeiríssima Infância), conducted in four cities of the State of São Paulo, the Rural Childhood Program (Programa Infância Rural no Nordeste – PIRN), in the Northeast region, and, more recently, the Ribeirinha Early Childhood Project (Primeira Infância Ribeirinha - PIR), with communities along the river in the Northern region.
Since 2009 the Offord Centre for Child Studies has been collaborating in the first structured evaluation of the impact of PIM using the EDI. This collaboration was initiated by Fraser Mustard’s visit to Porto Alegre in 2008 and his high regard for the work being done by PIM. The first step was the translation and cultural adaptation of the EDI into Portuguese, which was a joint effort including experts from the Centro de Estudos Luis Guedes (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul), the Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation (São Paulo) and the PIM team. In 2010, the EDI-PIM evaluation project was developed to assess school readiness among children from 4 to 6 years old who have and have not participated in PIM before school entry. During 2011, after a pilot study was completed, data were collected from 654 children and their families living in 8 representative cities of the Rio Grande do Sul State.  Study results showed marginally higher EDI scores among PIM children when compared with non-PIM children in their first year at school. One limitation of the study was the inability to match the PIM and the comparison groups on demographic characteristics. Results from children who attended the PIM programs suggested that children benefited from longer participation in the program, especially in the Language and Cognitive domain, and that children from low income families did better both in terms of mean EDI scores on most domains, as well as in overall vulnerability. Forthcoming analyses on the EDI-PIM study are now being prepared for future publication.
The EDI-PIM evaluation research highlighted the need for ECD longitudinal monitoring in Brazil and for a more comprehensive evaluation of the impact of PIM. At the same time, the EDI-PIM research has increased the awareness of the PIM initiative and has created new venues to engage local policy makers, civil society, health, and education professionals in ECD partnerships.
For more information on the PIM go to the website at:
  1. Schneider, A.; Ramires, V.; Paiva, M. G. G.; Almeida, L. The Better Early Childhood Development Program: An Innovative Brazilian Public Policy. Current Issues in Comparative Education, vol. 11: 24-32, 2009.
Uses of the EDI at the Primeiríssima
Infância (Earliest Childhood) Program
In Brazil

The Primeiríssima Infância (Earliest Childhood) Program is an initiative of the Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation (FMCSV) which aims at promoting optimal development during the period between pregnancy and the child’s first three years of life. The Program’s main strategies are: a) structuring a local governance model and raising awareness among public leaders; b) developing capacities of professionals; c) mobilizing the community; and d) monitoring and evaluation.
The Program began in 2009 in partnership with six municipalities in the state of São Paulo, Brazil: Botucatu, Itupeva, Penápolis, São José do Rio Pardo, São Carlos, and Votuporanga. In 2011, Cidade Ademar, a micro region located in the city of São Paulo’s southern zone, also joined the Program. Currently, through a partnership with the Secretary of Health of the State of São Paulo, the Program reaches 9 municipalities and is expected to involve 37 municipalities by the end of 2014.
The Program has a robust monitoring and evaluation system based on following key early childhood development indicators, measuring results and impacts, and informing decisions and actions for improvement. Additionally, the evaluation system is a fundamental instrument for documenting the experience and disseminating the generated knowledge. The evaluation system looks at 6 dimensions: 1) services rendered; 2) preparation of professionals; 3) family awareness; 4) community mobilization; 5) public policies; and 6) childhood development.

The use of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) is one of the strategies to measure the Program’s impact on children’s development. The instrument was translated and validated in 2010 by the FMCSV in partnership with the Primeira Infância Melhor Program.  In mid-2011, the EDI was completed for all 4 to 5 year old children enrolled in public schools at the seven sites where the Program was being implemented in São Paulo state. A total of 5,784 children were included in the study. The results and neighbourhood-level maps were shared with public managers and technicians of the partner municipalities in mid-2012. Issues related to the number of hours spent in school, previous participation in daycare, and socioeconomic vulnerability, along with EDI results were carefully analyzed and discussed. Education, health and social development professionals participated in the discussions of the study’s findings that have been highly utilized in planning future activities by each Program site.
In 2015, a new application of the EDI involving children of the same age range in some of the original seven Program sites will be carried out. The comparison of the EDI results from the first sample (comprised of children who didn’t benefit from the Program) and the results from the second sample (comprised of children who should have been reached by the Program), might shed some light on the Program’s possible impact on children’s development based on the five developmental domains measured by the EDI.
For more information on the EDI in São Paulo, Brazil, please visit:
  News in Ontario
Full-day Kindergarten in Ontario

Read about the research study on full-day kindergarten program in Ontario here:
See the bottom of the page for a link to the full report created by the EDI team at the Offord Centre.


Research also shows that EDI outcomes in kindergarten are predictive of academic testing in Grade 3, as summarized in this report linking EDI data to the EQAO results:
More research is under way, and we hope to include it in the next edition of the Newsletter! 
This just in…

Special Section/Special Issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly on international research utilizing the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a measure of early childhood. Please check the call for papers:

Call for papers
The Department of Education in Zurich has just launched a series of short movies on learning opportunities in everyday life for children between 0 and 4 years of age (available in all major national and migrant languages of Switzerland). Please check them out! 
Link to Department of Education in Zurich
  Latest  Publications
Brinkman, S.A., Gialamas, A., Rahman, A., Mittinty, M., Gregory, T., Zubrick, S.R., Carr, V., Silburn, S., Goldfeld, S., Janus, M., Hertzman, C., Lynch, J.W. (2012).  Jurisdictional, socio-economic, demographic and gender inequality in child health and development across Australia.  BMJ Open. 2012;2:e001075. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001075

Brinkman, S.A, Gregory, T., Harris, J., Hart, B., Blackmore, S., & Janus, M. (2013) Associations between the Early Development Instrument at age 5 and reading and numeracy skills at ages 8, 10 and 12: a prospective linked data study. Child Indicators Research: 6 (4): 695-708. DOI  10.1007/s12187-013-9189-3.

Curtin, M., Madden J., Staines, A., Perry, I.J. (2013). Determinants of vulnerability in early childhood development in Ireland: A cross-sectional study. British Medical Journal Open, 3, 1-9, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002387

Doyle O, McEntee L, McNamara K. Skills, capabilities and inequalities at school entry in a disadvantaged community. European Journal of Psychology of Education - EJPE (Springer Science & Business Media BV). 2012;27(1):133-54. Available from:

Goldfeld, S., Kvalsvig, A., Incledon, E., O’Connor, M., & Mensah F. (2014). Predictors of mental health competence in a population cohort of Australian children. J Epidemiol Community Health. doi:10.1136/jech-2013-203007

Goldfeld S., O’Connor M., Mithen J., Sayers, M., Brinkman S. (2014). "Early developmental outcomes of emerging and English-proficient bilingual children at school entry in an Australian population cohort".  International Journal of Behavioral Development. 38: 42-51.  doi: 10.1177/0165025413505945

Goldfeld, S., O’Connor, M., Sayers, M., Moore, T., Oberklaid, F. (2012). Prevalence and correlates of special health care needs in a population cohort of Australian children at school entry. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 33, 319-327.

Gregory, T. & Brinkman, S. (2013). Methodological approach to exploring change in the Australia Early Development Instrument (AEDI): The estimation of a critical difference. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Western Australia. ISBN 978-0-9876002-0-2.
Hagquist C, Hellström L. The psychometric properties of the early development instrument: a rasch analysis based on swedish pilot data. Soc Indicators Res. 2013. Available from:

Ip, P., Li, S.L., Rao, N., Ng, S.S.N., Lau, W.W.S., Chow, C.B. (2013). Validation study of the Chinese Early Development Instrument.  BioMed Central Pediatrics, 13, 1-8.

O’Connor, M., O’Connor, E.J., Kvalsvig, A. & Goldfeld S. (2014). The relationship between early childhood education and care and English proficiency at school entry for bilingual children in Australia. NZ research in early childhood education journal.  Special issue: early childhood policy, 17, 161-181.

Santos R, Brownell M, Ekuma O, Mayer T, Soodeen R-A.  The Early Development Instrument (EDI) in Manitoba: Linking socioeconomic adversity and biological vulnerability at birth to children's outcomes at age 5 Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy; 2012 May. Available from:

Vitaro F, Boivin M, Brendgen M, Girard A, Dionne G. Social experiences in kindergarten and academic achievement in grade 1: A monozygotic twin difference study. Journal of Educational Psychology. 2012;104(2):366-80. Available from:

Woolfson LM, Geddes R, McNicol S, Booth JN, Frank J. A cross-sectional pilot study of the Scottish Early Development Instrument: a tool for addressing inequality. BMC Public Health. 2013;13(1):1187-. Available from: