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EDI BC: 2016 Provincial Report

HELP has been collecting EDI data since 2001 and has collected data for over 245,000 kindergarten children in BC. This has created an important foundation for a population health monitoring system that supports an increased understanding of children’s early developmental outcomes over time and across geographies. In this report, we explore these patterns and trends in early child development outcomes in BC through the use of Early Development Instrument (EDI) data.

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about the EDI

An Introduction to the EDI

The EDI is a questionnaire used province-wide to measure patterns and trends in children’s developmental health. HELP has been collecting EDI data since 2001 and over the course of this period we have collected data for over 245,000 kindergarten children in BC. This has created an important foundation for a population health monitoring system that supports an increased understanding of children’s early developmental outcomes over time and across geographies.

EDI Wave Timeline A timeline graphic showing the groups of years that make up all the waves of EDI implementation. WAVE 1 WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2001-04 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16 40,312 37,756 37,398 46,671 42,406 43,181 NUMBER OF CHILDREN SCHOOL YEAR 247,724 TOTAL NUMBER OF CHILDREN Note: A ‘Wave’ is a 2-3 school year data collection period, based on the annual school calendar (September - June). Due to changes in the EDI questionnaire after Wave 1 data collection, Wave 2 is HELP’s baseline Wave.

The EDI was developed by Drs. Dan Offord and Magdalena Janus at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University (Janus et al, 2007) and has been used in provinces and territories across Canada, and internationally, to better understand the developmental trends of kindergarten children (Guhn et al, 2016; Janus et al, 2016). Increasingly, Canadian EDI data are providing a basis for assessing developmental differences and trends in different parts of the country (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2016).

The EDI was designed as an epidemiological tool to assess population trends and not as an individual diagnostic tool. The questionnaire includes 104 questions arranged in five scales that measure core areas of child development. These areas are strong predictors of health, education and social outcomes in adolescence and adulthood. Kindergarten teachers complete EDI questionnaires for students in their classroom in February of the school year once they have known their children for a while. Teachers participate in a standardized EDI training session prior to completing the questionnaire.

The Five Scales of the EDI

Physical Health & Well-being

Assesses children’s gross and fine motor skills, physical independence and readiness for the school day. E.g. Can the child hold a pencil? Is the child able to manipulate objects? Is the child on time for school?

Social Competence

Assesses children’s overall social competencies, capacity for respect and responsibility, approaches to learning, and readiness to explore new things. E.g. Is the child able to follow class routines? Is the child self-confident? Is the child eager to read a new book?

Emotional Maturity

Assesses children’s prosocial and helping behaviours, as well as hyperactivity and inattention, and aggressive, anxious and fearful behaviours. E.g. Does the child comfort a child who is crying or upset? Does the child help clean up a mess?

Language & Cognitive

Assesses children’s basic and advanced literacy skills, numeracy skills, interest in math and reading, and memory. E.g. Is the child interested in reading and writing? Can the child count and recognize numbers? Is the child able to read simple sentences?

Communication Skills & General Knowledge

Assesses children’s English language skills and general knowledge. E.g. Can the child tell a story? Can the child communicate with adults and children? Can the child take part in imaginative play?

How does the EDI measure Childhood Vulnerability

Data gathered from the EDI are used to report on childhood vulnerability rates. The data illustrate trends in vulnerability over time. Through data analysis and mapping, it also becomes possible to examine regional differences in child vulnerability at multiple geographical levels from a broad provincial snapshot, to community and neighbourhood analyses.

Vulnerable children are those who, without additional support and care, are more likely to experience challenges in their school years and beyond. Vulnerability is assessed for each of the five EDI scales. Children whose scores fall below the vulnerability cut-off on a particular EDI scale are said to be vulnerable in that area of development.

Reporting on EDI Vulnerability

Vulnerability on the Five EDI Scales

The proportion of children vulnerable on each of the five scales of the EDI, measured and reported as vulnerability rates.

Vulnerable on One or More Scales

Vulnerable on One or More Scales is a summary measure that reports the percentage of children who are vulnerable on at least one of the five scales of the EDI. Children represented by this measure may be vulnerable on only one scale or may be experiencing vulnerabilities on two, three, four or all five scales of the EDI.

Subscales

This year’s report explores EDI subscales scores and how these contribute to scale-level vulnerability. See the ‘Subscales’ section for more information.

Please note that if you wish to refer to this content again as you explore the report, you can access it by clicking on the red icon on the bottom right of the browser window. A menu of buttons will open next to it containing a red edi button that will reveal this content. Within this menu you can also find links to our social media pages and a contact form.

Importance

Importance of children's early development

EDI data can best be understood in the context of several broad concepts, allowing us to reflect on complex issues that influence children’s developmental health and guide our interpretation of EDI data.

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Importance of children's early development

EDI data can best be understood in the context of several broad concepts.

Children’s early experiences influences health and behavior across their lifespan.

Children's early experiences - even before birth - have lasting effects on lifetime mental & physical health (Park and Kobor, 2016). The advances in the science of human development suggest that children’s earliest experiences ‘get under the skin’ and can influence their gene expression (Hertzman and Boyce, 2010). This process, called biological embedding, explains how children’s early experiences influence health and behavior across their lifespan (Wiens and Hertzman, 1996). This reinforces the importance of focusing on the quality of our children’s environments and experiences in their earliest years – there are substantial social and economic justifications for doing so (Braveman et al, 2014; Conti and Heckman, 2014).

The quality of the multiple environments where children live, learn and play is critical for their health and well-being. Nurturing environments promote healthy child development; good nutrition for physical growth, loving attachment with primary caregivers, safe and secure shelter, and protection from harm are some of the essential ingredients. Young children need opportunities to explore their world, play, solve problems, and learn to speak and listen to others. Generally, our society expects parents and caregivers to create these kinds of environments, but it is not their responsibility alone. Parents’ and caregivers’ ability to do so is affected by the access they have to social networks, high quality supportive programs and communities that are responsive to children and their families. Children’s healthy development is also affected by larger social and economic conditions that increase risk or encourage resilience by providing critical support to children and their families. Research shows that to improve outcomes for children in BC, a focus on supporting families by improving their access to resources is necessary (HELP, 2012).

Quality and nurturing environments promote healthy child development.

Shifting our focus to resiliency and positive development broadens our reach.

There are many risk factors that exist in children’s lives that can negatively impact healthy development. Despite the presence of numerous risk factors, many children are still able to develop in healthy ways. Emerging research shows that there are factors both internal to the individual (e.g., self-confidence, intelligence, hope and optimism) and to the external environment (e.g., one significant adult, involvement in extracurricular activities, school and community support) that promote resilience (Zolkoski and Bullock, 2012), and that these factors do not operate in isolation but instead interact with one another to help children and adolescents avoid negative consequences (Center on the Developing Child, 2016). The key to prevention and intervention efforts lies in the identification of the factors that lead to success, rather than a narrow focus on the factors that only prevent risk. Focusing on resilience and positive development broadens our reach to all children and youth , instead of only those children experiencing risk factors (Schonert-Reichl, 2000; Schonert-Reichl and LeRose, 2008).

EDI data show that avoidable inequalities in children’s health and well-being exist in BC and have been sustained over time. Inequalities in children’s well-being arise because of social inequity “…in the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.” (Marmot, 2010). The link between social and economic factors – poverty, social exclusion, discrimination – and healthy development is clear from decades of research (Marmot, 2010; Brookings Institution, 2015). HELP, in particular, has focused on promoting the importance of early development as a major social determinant of lifelong health and well-being (Siddiqi, Irwin and Hertzman, 2007).

The link between children’s development and social and economic factors is clear.

data

How are BC’s children doing?

EDI data are integral to the story of early child development in BC. They contribute important evidence for guiding informed responses and investments in children and families and helping us understand their effectiveness.

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How are BC’s children doing?

EDI DATA ARE INTEGRAL TO THE STORY OF EARLY CHILD DEVELOPMENT IN BC. THEY CONTRIBUTE IMPORTANT EVIDENCE FOR GUIDING INFORMED RESPONSES AND INVESTMENTS IN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES AND FURTHER AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THESE RESPONSES.

The Early Development Instrument

The EDI measures childhood vulnerability rates, reflecting how children’s experiences and environments in the first five years of their lives have affected their development as a whole. Learn More about the EDI.

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An Introduction to the EDI

The EDI is a questionnaire used province-wide to measure patterns and trends in children’s developmental health. HELP has been collecting EDI data since 2001 and over the course of this period we have collected data for over 245,000 kindergarten children in BC. This has created an important foundation for a population health monitoring system that supports an increased understanding of children’s early developmental outcomes over time and across geographies.

EDI Wave Timeline A timeline graphic showing the groups of years that make up all the waves of EDI implementation. WAVE 1 WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2001-04 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16 40,312 37,756 37,398 46,671 42,406 43,181 NUMBER OF CHILDREN SCHOOL YEAR 247,724 TOTAL NUMBER OF CHILDREN Note: A ‘Wave’ is a 2-3 school year data collection period, based on the annual school calendar (September - June). Due to changes in the EDI questionnaire after Wave 1 data collection, Wave 2 is HELP’s baseline Wave.

The EDI was developed by Drs. Dan Offord and Magdalena Janus at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University (Janus et al, 2007) and has been used in provinces and territories across Canada, and internationally, to better understand the developmental trends of kindergarten children (Guhn et al, 2016; Janus et al, 2016). Increasingly, Canadian EDI data are providing a basis for assessing developmental differences and trends in different parts of the country (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2016).

The EDI was designed as an epidemiological tool to assess population trends and not as an individual diagnostic tool. The questionnaire includes 104 questions arranged in five scales that measure core areas of child development. These areas are strong predictors of health, education and social outcomes in adolescence and adulthood. Kindergarten teachers complete EDI questionnaires for students in their classroom in February of the school year once they have known their children for a while. Teachers participate in a standardized EDI training session prior to completing the questionnaire.

The Five Scales of the EDI

Physical Health & Well-being

Assesses children’s gross and fine motor skills, physical independence and readiness for the school day. E.g. Can the child hold a pencil? Is the child able to manipulate objects? Is the child on time for school?

Social Competence

Assesses children’s overall social competencies, capacity for respect and responsibility, approaches to learning, and readiness to explore new things. E.g. Is the child able to follow class routines? Is the child self-confident? Is the child eager to read a new book?

Emotional Maturity

Assesses children’s prosocial and helping behaviours, as well as hyperactivity and inattention, and aggressive, anxious and fearful behaviours. E.g. Does the child comfort a child who is crying or upset? Does the child help clean up a mess?

Language & Cognitive

Assesses children’s basic and advanced literacy skills, numeracy skills, interest in math and reading, and memory. E.g. Is the child interested in reading and writing? Can the child count and recognize numbers? Is the child able to read simple sentences?

Communication Skills & General Knowledge

Assesses children’s English language skills and general knowledge. E.g. Can the child tell a story? Can the child communicate with adults and children? Can the child take part in imaginative play?

How does the EDI measure Childhood Vulnerability

Data gathered from the EDI are used to report on childhood vulnerability rates. The data illustrate trends in vulnerability over time. Through data analysis and mapping, it also becomes possible to examine regional differences in child vulnerability at multiple geographical levels from a broad provincial snapshot, to community and neighbourhood analyses.

Vulnerable children are those who, without additional support and care, are more likely to experience challenges in their school years and beyond. Vulnerability is assessed for each of the five EDI scales. Children whose scores fall below the vulnerability cut-off on a particular EDI scale are said to be vulnerable in that area of development.

Reporting on EDI Vulnerability

Vulnerability on the Five EDI Scales

The proportion of children vulnerable on each of the five scales of the EDI, measured and reported as vulnerability rates.

Vulnerable on One or More Scales

Vulnerable on One or More Scales is a summary measure that reports the percentage of children who are vulnerable on at least one of the five scales of the EDI. Children represented by this measure may be vulnerable on only one scale or may be experiencing vulnerabilities on two, three, four or all five scales of the EDI.

Subscales

This year’s report explores EDI subscales scores and how these contribute to scale-level vulnerability. See the ‘Subscales’ section for more information.

Please note that if you wish to refer to this content again as you explore the report, you can access it by clicking on the red icon on the bottom right of the browser window. A menu of buttons will open next to it containing a red edi button that will reveal this content. Within this menu you can also find links to our social media pages and a contact form.

Childhood Vulnerability in B.C.

Explore the most recent EDI vulnerability rates and long term trends for kindergarten children in the province.

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1 IN 3 CHILDREN in BC ARE VULNERABLE

1 in 3 children, or about 14,000 Kindergarten students in this province, are starting school with vulnerabilities in one or more areas that are critical to their healthy development. This level of vulnerability has significant social and economic cost, not simply as children start school but throughout their lives.

OVERALL VULNERABILITY OVER TIME

EDI Vulnerability on One or More Scales Trend Line Chart A line chart showing the trend for Vulnerability on One or More Scales of the EDI from Wave 2 to Wave 6. 29.9% 28.7% 30.9% 32.5% 32.2% 2004-07 WAVE 2 2007-09 WAVE 3 2009-11 WAVE 4 2011-13 WAVE 5 2013-16 WAVE 6

Child vulnerability in the province has meaningfully increased over the last decade. The current provincial vulnerability rate (Wave 6) for children Vulnerable on One or More Scales of the EDI is 32.2%. This is a meaningful change from the Wave 2 rate of 29.9%. and a small shift from Wave 5's rate of 32.5%. What do we mean by a meaningful change?

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM the 5 Scales of the EDI?

Further insights into child development emerge when examining vulnerability rates for each of the five EDI scales, especially longer-term trends, from Wave 2 to Wave 6. These data provide more insight into which areas of development, in particular, are of concern.

What is meaningful change?

A meaningful change is one that HELP considers worthwhile paying attention to. According to HELP’s protocol for identifying ‘Meaningful Change’ across waves, the minimum difference required at a scale level for a change to be meaningful is 2 percentage points for larger populations of children (such as school districts, health authorities and the province as a whole). Therefore, for this provincial report, change over time in vulnerability for any of the scales must be 2% or higher to be considered meaningful.

Physical Health & Well-being

Children with vulnerability on the Physical Health and Well-being scale experience a number of challenges that affect their ability to physically cope during the day. This may include being dressed inappropriately, frequently late, hungry or tired. Children may have fading energy levels. These children may also experience challenges in tasks that require developed fine and gross motor skills.

Trend Line Chart for the Physical Health & Well-being Scale of the EDI A line chart highlighting the trend for the Physical Health & Well-being Scale of the EDI from Wave 2 to Wave 6. 29.9 28.7 30.9 32.5 32.2 14.2 13.2 13.6 13.7 14.2 11.3 10.1 10.3 9.0 9.4 11.9 12.4 13.8 14.9 16.1 13.3 12.7 14.5 15.6 15.7 12.0 11.7 13.4 15.7 14.8 One or More Scales Communication Language Emotional Social Physical 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% PERCENT VULNERABLE WAVE 2 2004-07 WAVE 3 2007-09 WAVE 4 2009-11 WAVE 5 2011-13 WAVE 6 2013-16

Physical Health & Well-being

The vulnerability rate for Physical Health and Well-Being was significantly higher in Wave 6 (14.8%) than in Wave 2 (12.0%). More recently, there was a small decrease in vulnerability related to children’s physical health and well-being from Wave 5 (15.7%) to Wave 6 (14.8%) - this change cannot be considered meaningful.

Social Competence

Children who are identified as vulnerable on the Social Competence scale are more likely to have problems getting along with other children on a regular basis and have difficulty following rules and class routines.

Trend Line Chart for the Social Competence Scale of the EDI A line chart highlighting the trend for the Social Competence Scale of the EDI from Wave 2 to Wave 6. 29.9 28.7 30.9 32.5 32.2 14.2 13.2 13.6 13.7 14.2 11.3 10.1 10.3 9.0 9.4 11.9 12.4 13.8 14.9 16.1 13.3 12.7 14.5 15.6 15.7 12.0 11.7 13.4 15.7 14.8 One or More Scales Communication Language Emotional Social Physical 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% PERCENT VULNERABLE WAVE 2 2004-07 WAVE 3 2007-09 WAVE 4 2009-11 WAVE 5 2011-13 WAVE 6 2013-16

Social Competence

The vulnerability rate on the Social Competence scale increased significantly from Wave 2 (13.3%) to Wave 6 (15.7%). Wave 5 and 6 vulnerability rates were essentially the same.

Emotional Maturity

Children who are emotionally vulnerable experience a number of challenges related to emotion regulation. They are likely to have problems managing aggressive behavior and might be prone to disobedience, or be inattentive and impulsive. Often these children will not naturally help their peers or adults.

Trend Line Chart for the Emotional Maturity Scale of the EDI A line chart highlighting the trend for the Emotional Maturity Scale of the EDI from Wave 2 to Wave 6. 29.9 28.7 30.9 32.5 32.2 14.2 13.2 13.6 13.7 14.2 11.3 10.1 10.3 9.0 9.4 11.9 12.4 13.8 14.9 16.1 13.3 12.7 14.5 15.6 15.7 12.0 11.7 13.4 15.7 14.8 One or More Scales Communication Language Emotional Social Physical 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% PERCENT VULNERABLE WAVE 2 2004-07 WAVE 3 2007-09 WAVE 4 2009-11 WAVE 5 2011-13 WAVE 6 2013-16

Emotional Maturity

There has been a significant and steady increase in the vulnerability rate for Emotional Maturity, from 11.9% in Wave 2 to 16.1% in Wave 6. The increase in vulnerability on this scale is the largest among all the EDI scales (4.2%). There’s also been a small 1.2% increase between Wave 5 (14.9%) and Wave 6.

Language & Cognitive Development

Children who are vulnerable on this scale experience a number of challenges in reading, writing and with numbers. They may be unable to read or write simple words, they may be uninterested in trying, and are often unable to attach sounds to letters. These children may also have difficulty remembering things, counting to 20, and recognizing and comparing numbers.

Trend Line Chart for the Language & Cognitive Development Scale of the EDI A line chart highlighting the trend for the Language & Cognitive Development Scale of the EDI from Wave 2 to Wave 6. 29.9 28.7 30.9 32.5 32.2 14.2 13.2 13.6 13.7 14.2 11.3 10.1 10.3 9.0 9.4 11.9 12.4 13.8 14.9 16.1 13.3 12.7 14.5 15.6 15.7 12.0 11.7 13.4 15.7 14.8 One or More Scales Communication Language Emotional Social Physical 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% PERCENT VULNERABLE WAVE 2 2004-07 WAVE 3 2007-09 WAVE 4 2009-11 WAVE 5 2011-13 WAVE 6 2013-16

Language & Cognitive Development

Language and Cognitive Development is the only scale with a declining vulnerability rate. From Wave 2 to Wave 6, the vulnerability rate decreased from 11.3% to 9.4%, almost meeting the 2% criterion. It is instructive to explore the story behind this trend – that is, to understand which initiatives in our society may have led to this improving trend – and to attempt to replicate this success story in the other areas of children’s development.

Communication Skills &
General Knowledge

Vulnerable children will have poor communication skills and articulation. They may have limited command of English (the language of instruction), have difficulties making themselves understood to others and/or in understanding what others say.

Trend Line Chart for the Communication Skills & General Knowledge Scale of the EDI A line chart highlighting the trend for the Communication Skills & General Knowledge Scale of the EDI from Wave 2 to Wave 6. 29.9 28.7 30.9 32.5 32.2 14.2 13.2 13.6 13.7 14.2 11.3 10.1 10.3 9.0 9.4 11.9 12.4 13.8 14.9 16.1 13.3 12.7 14.5 15.6 15.7 12.0 11.7 13.4 15.7 14.8 One or More Scales Communication Language Emotional Social Physical 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% PERCENT VULNERABLE WAVE 2 2004-07 WAVE 3 2007-09 WAVE 4 2009-11 WAVE 5 2011-13 WAVE 6 2013-16

Communication Skills &
General Knowledge

The Communication Skills & General Knowledge vulnerability rate in Wave 6 (14.2%) remains unchanged from Wave 2, and the trend over time for Communication Skills & General Knowledge vulnerability has been the only one among the 5 EDI scales that has remained relatively stable.

The Emerging Trends in Mental Health

The Emotional Maturity and Social Competence scales are associated. Wave 6 data show that in the province, 7.7% of children were vulnerable on two EDI scales, and of these, 50% were vulnerable on the Emotional Maturity and Social Competence scales combined.

The developmental aspects assessed on the Emotional Maturity scale of the EDI – anxious, aggressive, hyperactive behaviours – represent indicators of children’s mental health. The observed EDI trends reflect the emerging issues in child and youth mental health in BC, and Canada more broadly where there is a demonstrated increase in diagnosed mental health disorders in young children (PHAC, 2015). Up to 70 percent of young adults living with mental health problems report that the symptoms started in childhood (PHAC, 2006).

In the past, social emotional well-being has received less attention and less investment than other areas of children’s early development, such as early language development and literacy and numeracy skills. The development of children’s early social and emotional health is foundational for building positive relationships, successful academic outcomes and career success later in life. Early social and emotional health has been shown to protect against adult mental health disorders, poor sexual health outcomes and adolescent involvement in the justice system (Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2012). Creating the environments and experiences where children can learn and strengthen their social and emotional competencies is therefore an essential task for our society.

The Complex Nature of Vulnerability

The nature of childhood vulnerability in BC is changing and becoming increasingly complex. EDI data shows that a higher proportion of kindergarten children are facing vulnerabilities in multiple areas of their development.

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THE INCREASING COMPLEXITY OF VULNERABILITY

The provincial vulnerability rate for Vulnerable on One or More Scales of the EDI provides a perspective on the overall vulnerability of children in BC. While many of the province’s vulnerable children experience challenges in a single area of development, some demonstrate multiple vulnerabilities, on two, three, four or all five scales of the EDI. Assessing the proportion of children experiencing multiple vulnerabilities, especially over time, provides an in-depth perspective on the scope of vulnerability in the province.

Stacked Bar Chart Showcasing the Increasing Complexity of Vulnerability in the Province A stacked bar chart displaying the proportion of children experiencing multiple vulnerabilities over time between Wave 2 and Wave 6. 13.8 13.1 13.8 14.5 13.6 7 6.9 7.2 8 7.7 4.1 4.1 4.5 4.6 5.1 2.9 2.7 3 3.1 3.3 2.1 2 2.3 2.4 2.6 Wave 2 Wave 3 Wave 4 Wave 5 Wave 6 NUMBER OF VULNERABILITIES 1 2 3 4 5 29.9% Vulnerable on 1 scale Vulnerable on 2 scales Vulnerable on 3 scales Vulnerable on 4 scales Vulnerable on 5 scales Overall vulnerability rate 28.7% 30.9% 32.5% 32.2%

EDI data show that from Wave 2 to Wave 6, based on the proportion of children with at least one vulnerability, there has been a small and consistent increase in the number of children with multiple vulnerabilities, or experiencing vulnerability on multiple scales. The proportion of children experiencing 2 vulnerabilities went from 7% to almost 8%; children with 3 vulnerabilities went from 4.1% to 5.1%; and children with 4 or 5 vulnerabilities went from 5% to close to 6%. Combined, the proportion of children experiencing vulnerability on 2 or more scales increased from 16.1% to 18.7%. Based on our critical difference methodology, this increase of 2.6% represents a meaningful increase over time.


In addition to the increasing rates of vulnerability in the province, the complexity of vulnerability patterns is also increasing. It appears that children and families are experiencing more complex challenges and vulnerable children are experiencing increased struggles across several areas of their lives.

A Closer Look using EDI Subscales

EDI subscale data provides increasingly specific information on children’s developmental health, strengthening our understanding of the influences contributing to childhood vulnerabilities.

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Exploring Subscales

This year HELP is expanding analysis of EDI data to examine 15 EDI subscales and their contributions to vulnerability rates on each of the EDI scales. By providing increasingly specific information on children’s developmental health, EDI subscale data can strengthen our understanding of the influences contributing to children’s developmental vulnerabilities. When used alongside additional forms of data and information, including the expertise of those working directly with children and families, subscale data are valuable. However, like the EDI scales, using EDI subscale data without contextual information may be ineffective or insufficient for developing initiatives or even targeted services. Subscales, just as with EDI scales, are interdependent.

WHAT ARE SUBSCALES?

Each of the EDI scales is made up of three or four subscales (except for Communication skills, which is both a scale and subscale). Subscale data can provide an in-depth look at more specific areas of child development. Find out more...

WHAT ARE SUBSCALES?

Each of the EDI scales is made up of three or four subscales (except for the Communication Skills scale, which is both a scale and subscale). Subscale data can provide an in-depth look at more specific areas of child development. See Figure 5 for a detailed overview of the relationship between EDI scales, subscales and items.

5 Scales of the edi

physical
social
emotional
language
Communication

Subscales & their items

WHAT DO SUBSCALES MEASURE?

Individual subscales DO NOT measure vulnerability. Using Wave 2 as a benchmark, the subscale trend lines (calculated using standardized scores) show whether children are doing better or worse over time compared to children across the province for Wave 2. Subscale data provide insight into the specific areas of development, as well as how each subscale contributes to the overall pattern of vulnerability on each scale.

INTERPRETING CHANGE OVER TIME FOR SUBSCALES

An upward subscale trend line suggests there is a negative influence on the overall scale, contributing to an increase in the vulnerability rate.

A downward subscale trend line suggests there is a positive influence on the overall scale, potentially contributing to a decrease in the vulnerability rate.

This adaptation has been applied so that subscale trends are in the same direction as trends in vulnerability for the scales.

Physical Health & Well-being

Provincially, the social and economic influences on families with children are showing up in EDI vulnerability rates. Physical Readiness (whether they come to school dressed appropriately, well-rested and well-fed) is connected to their home environments that, in turn, are influenced by both social and economic factors. Many of these factors are not amenable to simple program solutions but rather to more systemic policy approaches. At the same time, there has been a strong interest in and commitment to physical activity programming in many communities, which may be reflected in the relatively positive picture for the Gross and Fine Motor subscale.

Percent Vulnerable | Wave 2-6
Trend Line Chart for the Physical Health & Well-being Scale a line chart showcasing the trend for the Physical Health & Well-being Scale between Wave 2 and Wave 6. 12.0% 11.7% 13.4% 15.7% 14.8% WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16
Standardized Scores | Wave 2-6
Trend Line Chart for the Physical Health & Well-being Subscales a line chart showcasing the trend for the Physical Health & Well-being Subscales between Wave 2 and Wave 6. -0.30 -0.20 -0.10 0.00 0.10 0.20 Worse Better Provincial average (Wave 2) WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16

Physical Health & Well-Being Subscales

The three subscales of the Physical Health and Well-Being measure quite different aspects of children’s physical health and show quite different trends.

subscaleLegend
Physical Readiness for the school day

The trend for the Physical Readiness subscale from Wave 2 to Wave 6 also shows a negative influence on the vulnerability rate for the scale overall, but interestingly shows a meaningful improvement in the most recent wave.

subscaleLegend
Physical Independence

The Physical Independence subscale reflects most closely the vulnerability pattern for the overall scale and the trend shows a negative influence on the vulnerability rate from Wave 2 to Wave 6.

subscaleLegend
Gross and Fine Motor Skills

The third subscale, Gross and Fine Motor Skills, shows no linear long-term trend, though it is the only subscale where scores did not get worse over time.

Social Competence

When stress exists in children’s lives, this can be expressed in externalizing behaviours that influence a child’s ability to interact with both peers and adults. These behaviours are captured on the Social Competence subscales. Stressors can be present in both the home and community, unsurprising given the clear evidence on an increasing squeeze on families with young children (Kershaw and Anderson, 2015). In addition, there is emerging evidence of ‘stress contagion’ a process by which parent, caregiver and educator stress are transferred to children. These EDI outcomes are likely related to stress contagion (Oberle and Schonert-Reichl, 2015).

There is also increasing evidence that the significant upward trend in technology use is influencing social competence. The topic of technology use is a very broad and complex one. While the interactive use of technology can have positive effects on children’s development, particularly in the area of language and cognitive development, passive and solitary use is often sedentary and lacking in social interaction. There is some evidence that it is disrupting toddlers’ attachment to caregivers and that children are less able now to self-occupy and play (Swingle, 2016)

Percent Vulnerable | Wave 2-6
Trend Line Chart for the Social Competence Scale a line chart showcasing the trend for the Social Competence Scale between Wave 2 and Wave 6. 13.3% 12.7% 14.5% 15.6% 15.7% WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16
Standardized Scores | Wave 2-6
Trend Line Chart for the Social Competence Subscales a line chart showcasing the trend for the Social Competence Subscales between Wave 2 and Wave 6. -0.30 -0.20 -0.10 0.00 0.10 0.20 Provincial average (Wave 2) Worse Better WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16

Social Competence Subscales

subscaleLegend
Respect and Responsibility
subscaleLegend
Overall Social Competence
subscaleLegend
Approaches to Learning

Three of the four subscales in the Social Competence scale (Respect and Responsibility, Overall Social Competence, and Approaches to Learning) mirror the overall trend of worsening vulnerability rates from Wave 2 to Wave 6. Given these changes appear to reflect a long-term trend, understanding which factors have contributed to this trend and which initiatives may be effective in reversing it is critical.

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Readiness to Explore New Things

One of Social Competence subscales, Readiness to Explore New Things, shows a different pattern that is a relatively stable trend from Wave 2 to Wave 6.

Emotional Maturity

The contribution to Emotional Maturity vulnerability from the three subscales suggests that increasingly, children are exhibiting negative, so-called externalizing and internalized behaviours. Previous research has shown that such behaviours are associated with context factors such as poverty, economic pressures, social stressors, and a lack of social connectedness and support. It is therefore important to understand which of these mechanisms may be associated with the worsening trend in children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviours in BC (McLeod and Shanahan, 1996; Cohen and Willis, 1985).

Percent Vulnerable | Wave 2-6
Trend Line Chart for the Emotional Maturity Scale a line chart showcasing the trend for the Emotional Maturity Scale between Wave 2 and Wave 6. 11.9% 12.4% 13.8% 14.9% 16.1% WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16
Standardized Scores | Wave 2-6
Trend Line Chart for the Emotional Maturity Subscales a line chart showcasing the trend for the Emotional Maturity Subscales between Wave 2 and Wave 6. -0.30 -0.20 -0.10 0.00 0.10 0.20 Provincial average (Wave 2) Worse Better WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16

Emotional Maturity Subscales

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Agressive Behaviour
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Anxious & Fearful Behaviour
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Hyperactive & Inattentive Behaviour

Similar to the Social Competence subscales, three of the four subscales in the Emotional Maturity scale show worsening trends over time. The negative trends in Aggressive Behaviour and in Anxious and Fearful Behaviour are particularly pronounced, and the trend for Hyperactivity and Inattention can also be considered meaningful. Importantly, the behaviours assessed on these subscales directly correspond to the behaviours that represent the most common childhood mental health disorders – conduct disorders, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, and anxiety disorders. Given the personal and societal implications of mental health disorders, this trend may be considered especially worrisome, as it suggests an increasing burden of mental health disorders in the child and youth population.

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Prosocial & Helping Behaviour

The only Emotional Maturity subscale that does not show a contribution to increasing vulnerability on the scale overall is Prosocial and Helping Behavior. From Wave 2 to Wave 6 there has been little change in this subscale. HELP’s research indicates that scores on the Prosocial and Helping Behavior subscale are difficult to interpret in culturally diverse neighborhood and districts. Further, it remains to be seen to what extent the continuously changing cultural diversity in BC is associated with children’s prosocial and helping behavior in settings in which social norms are being newly formed and refined (Guhn, Milbrath and Hertzman, 2016).

Language & Cognitive Development

In general, in BC communities, the area of language and cognitive development is one that has received a great deal of attention through a variety of early literacy and numeracy initiatives and programs. It is an area of development where there are known and proven methods to improve children’s outcomes. The subscale trends for this scale suggest that, when society intentionally invests in a developmental area, the result is huge potential to improve outcomes. At the same time, a singular focus on the area of language and cognitive development could be having a more detrimental effect on children’s development as they experience higher levels of stress.

Percent Vulnerable | Wave 2-6
Trend Line Chart for the Language & Cognitive Development Scale a line chart showcasing the trend for the Language & Cognitive Development Scale between Wave 2 and Wave 6. 11.3% 10.1% 10.3% 9.0% 9.4% WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16
Standardized Scores | Wave 2-6
Trend Line Chart for the Language & Cognitive Development Subscales a line chart showcasing the trend for the Language & Cognitive Development Subscales between Wave 2 and Wave 6. -0.30 -0.20 -0.10 0.00 0.10 0.20 Provincial average (Wave 2) Worse Better WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16

Language and Cognitive Development Subscales

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Basic Numeracy
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Interest in Math/Reading & Memory
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Basic Literacy
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Advanced Literacy

The four subscales of the Language and Cognitive Development scale are all similar to each other and similar to the overall pattern for the scale, illustrating a slow but steady improvement over the 10 years, from Wave 2 to Wave 6.

Communication Skills

The Communication Skills scale is both a scale and a subscale. It is not broken down any further and refers to the communication skills in the language of instruction in the classroom.

Differences Across Neighbourhoods

There is a significant disparity in vulnerability across neighbourhoods in our province.

explore

The wide-range of Neighbourhood Vulnerability

EDI data reveal large disparities in vulnerability rates between health authorities, school districts and neighbourhoods. In BC, this is especially pronounced at the neighbourhood-level. EDI data show that while some neighbourhoods are doing very well and sustain low vulnerability rates over time, others have seen high and sustained rates. In Wave 6, the lowest rate of neighbourhood vulnerability was 9% and the highest rate was 60%. This difference in neighbourhood-level outcomes represents a range of 51%. Explore neighbourhood vulnerability rates across the province using our Interactive Map

This variation in vulnerability is largely associated with differences in socioeconomic resources and context factors (e.g., poverty, income, wealth, education, employment). However, it also appears to be related to inequities in other areas, for example, social capital or access to support systems (Sampson, Morenoff and Earls, 1999; Raudenbush and Earls, 1997). By conducting community-based research and by linking EDI trend data to other sources of information, such as the Canadian Census and income tax data, HELP is continuing to build our understanding of the ways in which social and economic factors contribute to observed differences in children’s developmental health.

How neighbourhood vulnerabilities are changing

From Wave 2 to 6 many of BC’s 298 neighbourhoods experienced meaningful changes in vulnerability. On four of the five EDI scales, a larger proportion of neighbourhoods experienced increases in vulnerability, with a smaller proportion seeing decreases.

Percentage of neighbourhoods who between Wave 2 and Wave 6 got better, worse and remained the same. A horizontal stacked bar chart displaying the percentage of neighbourhoods who between Wave 2 and Wave 6 got better, worse and remained the same. 2004-07 2007-09 2009-11 2011-13 2013-16 WAVE 2 WAVE 3 WAVE 4 WAVE 5 WAVE 6 30% 44% 54% 17% 23% 34% 62% 43% 40% 54% 60% 53% 8% 14% 7% 30% 17% 12% 0 20 40 60 80 100 P H Y S O C E M O L A N C O M O N E O R M O R E Meaningful Increase No Meaningful Change Meaningful Decrease

For the Emotional Maturity scale, the majority of neighbourhoods experienced change, with 53% of neighbourhoods seeing an increase in vulnerability between Wave 2 and Wave 6. A significant number of neighbourhoods (44%) also saw an increase in Social Competence vulnerability from Wave 2 to Wave 6. For both of these scales, the percentage of neighbourhoods experiencing increasing vulnerability was significantly above the provincial rate for vulnerability on one or more scales, at 34%.


This variation in vulnerability rates demonstrates clear and avoidable inequality in children’s developmental outcomes depending on where they live in the province. These differences highlight the continued need for further investigation into their causes and to build on our knowledge to support collective action toward improving developmental outcomes for children.

Next Steps

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Ensuring healthy development and improving the wellbeing of our children is a collective responsibility. While there is no singular cause and no easy solutions, there are approaches that can make a difference.

EXPLORE

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Ensuring healthy development and improving the wellbeing of our children is a collective responsibility. While there is no singular cause and no easy solutions, there are approaches that can make a difference.
This report summarized provincial level EDI trends and insights.
Find a quick summary of the results here.

A brief Summary

This report summarizes provincial level EDI trends and insights. In particular it emphasizes that:

  1. Child vulnerability in BC remains over 30% and there has been no significant change in the overall rate of vulnerability over the last three years;
  2. Provincial vulnerability rate for Physical Health and Well-being has worsened over time from Wave 2 to Wave 6;
  3. There is still a worsening trend in vulnerability on the Emotional Maturity and Social Competence scales. This trend can also be observed in the large percentage of neighbourhoods experiencing a worsening vulnerability rate on these scales;
  4. Provincially, the vulnerability rate for Language and Cognitive Development has improved since 2007 and it remains the lowest of all the EDI scales;
  5. Vulnerability in the province is becoming increasingly complex. The proportion of children who are vulnerable on two or more scales has increased. This is concerning because evidence suggests that children who experience adversity or vulnerabilities in multiple domains are more likely to experience challenges later in life (e.g., fail academic assessments; report symptoms of anxiety and depression) whereas children with assets and protective factors across domains are more likely to experience high social and emotional well-being (Boivin and Hertzman, 2012).
  6. Neighbourhoods matter. The variation of vulnerability rates across neighbourhoods is large. This demonstrates that the early experiences of children vary greatly from one neighbourhood to the next and these variations have profound implications for child outcomes.

Mobilizing

As reflected in the scales of the EDI, child development itself is multidimensional – including physical, social, emotional and cognitive domains – and these are interdependent. The world into which children are born and are being raised is also complex and a wide range of social and economic factors influence children’s development. HELP uses a Total Environment Assessment Model (TEAM) for Early Childhood Development (Siddiqi, Irwin and Hertzman, 2007) to assist in understanding the interplay of these factors (see Figure below). This model suggests that development in the early years is the result of complex interactions among multiple domains that affect a child’s development at the individual, familial, community, and larger societal levels. While there is a strong tendency to focus on creating programs to address home, community and service environments, these proximal factors are profoundly affected by distal influences such as provincial and federal social and economic policy factors. A multi-layered and multi-sectoral approach is necessary to improve child development across the province.

Total Environmental Assessment Model for Early Child Development (TEAM ECD)

Total Environmental Assessment Model for Early Child Development

Child development is complex. Each child develops in their own way. Although there are important milestones of child development, the sequencing and timing of each child’s development is unique. And so, understanding and making a difference to childhood vulnerability is also complex.

While there is no singular cause of vulnerability and no easy solutions, there are approaches that can make a difference. Communities in some parts of BC have made a substantial difference in their vulnerability rate, bringing it below 10%, by using systematic approaches to serving the needs of children and their families. There have been sustained improvements in the area of language and cognitive development. More comprehensive early years solutions are also emerging through government investment and cross-ministry planning and policy. In the future, to be successful in reducing childhood vulnerability, it will be important to build early years strategies around the following principles:

1

Building universal platforms to support child development in the early years, while also ensuring that particular areas of vulnerability and needs are addressed through additional investment – a universally proportionate approach (HELP, 2015);

2

Developing systemic solutions that simultaneously address the many factors influencing child development. This will require creative solutions that go beyond our past approaches and that bring government, institutions and communities together; and

3

Engagement by government and institutions with families and communities to address cultural, social, economic and institutional barriers to access and to develop policies, programs and services that are culturally appropriate and accessible.

Above all, reducing childhood vulnerability requires leadership across all systems and a commitment to collectively improving the life chances of BC’s children. The support of current and emerging leaders who will be champions for children at all levels and who are prepared to think differently, create innovations and foster a system-wide approach to change is essential.

resources & references

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