Early Childhood Impact: SAM’s Early Development Instrument Project
This week’s blog was written by Beth Thompson, Director of Collective Impact, Spartanburg Academic Movement
This month, more than 200 kindergarten teachers across Spartanburg County are participating in Spartanburg Academic Movement’s Early Development Instrument (“EDI”) project. This project helps our community understand how we can better support Spartanburg County children by preparing them for success in school. The EDI measures school readiness across five key developmental domains: physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communications skills and general knowledge.
Through the first administration of the EDI in 2017-18, we were able to understand school readiness in a completely new way. We learned that 47% of our kindergarteners enter school on track for success, in other words “ready,” in all five domains, but we were also able to see where our community needed to provide additional support for children and families. Better still, the EDI showed us what we needed to support (specific developmental skills) and where (by geographical area across Spartanburg County).
We look at the domain and sub-domain data to determine opportunities for community building. For example, when we see that fine and gross motor skills in the physical health and well-being domain show the greatest need for support, we know that opportunities for age-appropriate play needs support. That translates into local funders prioritizing grants for playgrounds in specific communities, or certain types of activity stations at the Children’s Museum. All of the results can be found at www.learnwithsam.org/the-early-development-instrument
In Light of Covid-19
During these unprecedented times, SAM’s work with the EDI is especially critical as we seek to understand the impact of Covid-19 on our youngest learners. New for this year, SAM is able to use the power of parent/caregiver knowledge including the Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ) to compliment the EDI. This parent/caregiver completed questionnaire has already been answered by over 250 families of kindergartners and will provide valuable new information to guide our work.
How It All Began
The EDI was developed through the Offord Center at McMaster University in Canada and is licensed for use in the United States through UCLA’s Center for Healthier Children, Families, & Communities. SAM’s engagement of community members in the Kindergarten Success Collaborative Action Network (KSCAN) led to a pilot then county-wide administration of the EDI to assemble the first picture of kindergarten readiness across Spartanburg County during the 2017-2018 school year. The tool is designed to be updated every three years, which happens to fall this year.
Our Thank You
The Spartanburg Academic Movement and its community partners wish to thank every kindergarten teacher for sharing their time, professional knowledge, and experience with their students to ensure that this project is successful. In addition, we thank the parents and caregivers who are, this year, making this project even more powerful, enabling us all to better support the children and families across Spartanburg County.