Importance of the EDI

More and more research is now finding that what happens in early childhood plays a big role in lifelong health, well-being, and learning.

Brain development happens quickly in the early years of life. By the time a child enters kindergarten more brain connections will have been made than between kindergarten and adulthood. Positive experiences during this time can help the brain develop in healthy ways. Negative experiences are harmful to brain development and can have lasting impacts. As early childhood lays the foundation for the future, it is very important that we do everything we can to support healthy development.

Brain connection density over time - Corel, J. L. (1975). The postnatal development of the human cerebral cortex. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Brain connection density over time – Corel, J. L. (1975). The postnatal development of the human cerebral cortex. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

By using the EDI to collect information on children’s strengths and weaknesses we can understand where children need the most help. Research using the EDI has found that children identified as being vulnerable in kindergarten are more likely to have problems in grade 3, 6, and even high school. We cannot assume children with difficulties early on will simply grow out of their problems. There is a real risk their difficulties early on in school will predict difficulties later in life, both in school and beyond.

Thankfully, many common problems faced by children are preventable, or can at least be improved, with the help of early recognition and management. Providing help early on is likely to be more effective and less costly than providing help later in life. That’s because the brain is developing rapidly at this age, which provides a unique opportunity to make the biggest positive impact. By identifying and addressing areas of need during the early years we can increase the chances of children reaching their greatest potential.

Rates of return to human capital investment in disadvantaged children – Heckman, J. (2006). Skills formation and the economics of investing in disadvantaged children. Science, 312, 1900-1902. doi: 10.1126/science.1128898

By using the EDI to track children’s early development we are providing schools, educators, communities, and politicians with the information they need to make informed decisions about how to move forward with providing help for children. EDI data can help schools set up new programs to help improve areas of children’s development. The EDI can also be used to evaluate certain programs by determining how children are doing after they participate.

By allowing your child to take part in the EDI you are helping provide valuable information that is helping to shape a better future for children in your community and beyond.

For the most up-to-date scientific knowledge on early child development please visit the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.