Nova Scotia’s experience with the EDI began over ten years ago, with the Understanding the Early Years (UEY), the national initiative aimed at strengthening the capacity of communities to use quality local research to help them make decisions to enhance children’s lives. Five communities in Nova Scotia were part of this initiative between 2006 and 2012, which included implementing the EDI data collection within schools in those communities. Along with the UEY initiative sites, several school boards in the province undertook EDI data collection around this time.
In 2012- 2013, the Province committed to consultation and the development of an integrated approach to early childhood development services and programs for Nova Scotia. This resulted in the creation of an Early Years Branch within the new Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The expanded mandate of the Department was implemented in recognition of the need for an integrated system that supports the learning, care and well-being of children through the prenatal period to age six years and their families. The Early Years Branch established a collaboration with the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation for the implementation of Early Years Centres in Nova Scotia, bringing together existing programs and services such as child care, family drop-in, early learning, parenting supports, health services, and early identification and intervention programs within a public school setting. There are currently eight Early Years Centres located in schools across the province, four of which opened in 2014, and a further four centres opened in 2016.
In 2013, the first provincial wide implementation of the EDI was undertaken, which included all Primary students across the eight school boards. Since then, the EDI is implemented on a biannual basis, with the second implementation province-wide taking place in 2015. For those results, the 2013 data was used to create the NS baseline, which allowed the 2015 results to be compared to a NS baseline for the first time. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development partners with the school boards to collect the data. In addition, one school board collects EDI data independently on offset years.
Nova Scotia EDI Reports 2013 Provincial Summary Report 2015 Provincial Summary Report 2013-2015 Comparison Report
Part of the collaboration with the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation for the implementation of the Early Years Centres involves a four-year evaluation of the Early Years Centres which began in 2015. In addition, a special collection of the EDI was carried out in 2016 in eight schools where Early Years Centres are located, to explore and determine how the “dose” of early learning exposure through the programs and services in the Early Years Centres may influence the results of the EDI for that population of children.
The Department continues to work with other departments and with community partners to understand developmental change or trends in populations of children and to improve collaborative initiatives to improve outcomes for children and communities.
Submitted by the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Child Development.
About EDI on the Go This article was originally featured in EDI on the Go, the EDI newsletter. Each issue highlights a community implementation or research project using the EDI. The newsletter also features the latest EDI news and events. Become a subscriber today.