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Look what we are learning from the Early Development Instrument (EDI)!

Screen use in early childhood can affect school readiness; and other vital information gathered from the Early Development Instrument (EDI)

We are celebrating our 15th year of TARGet Kids! (TK!) this year and we continue our efforts to collect information on child development with a goal to prevent health problems.

One set of data that TK! has collected since 2014 is the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The EDI is completed by teachers and is used to assess the school readiness of children in kindergarten over 5 developmental areas. School readiness is an important developmental milestone and is related to a child’s school success and well-being. 

To date, we have collected over 1300 surveys from 650 teachers in approximately 350 schools and across 15 school boards. By using the EDI with our health and outcome measurement data collected in TK!, we are able to draw important connections with how health behaviours impact school readiness.

For example, we have learned that children who use screens more often (television, mobile phones, etc.) in early childhood, were less likely to be developmentally ready for school compared to children who use screens less often. Additionally, the more time children spent on screens, the higher the risk of their language skills and their ability to think and reason in kindergarten being poorer developed.

We are in the early stages of EDI collection for the 2022-2023 school year. We are working with teachers and families so that together we can build on the available information that may be used to support health and developmental care for children in primary care.

Here are some of our recent publications sharing the information that we’ve uncovered thanks to the EDI:

  1. Vanderloo LM, Janus M, Omand JA, et al. Children’s screen use and school readiness at 4-6 years: prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health. 2022; 22:382.

  2. Vanderloo LM, Omand J, Keown-Stoneman CDG, et al. Association Between Physical Activity, Screen Time and Sleep, and School Readiness in Canadian Children Aged 4 to 6 Years. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2022;43(2):96-103.

  3. Omand JA, Li X, Keown-Stoneman CDG, et al. Body Weight at Age Four Years and Readiness to Start School: A Prospective Cohort Study [published online ahead of print, 2022 Jul 13]. Child Obes. 2022.

  4. Omand JA, Janus M, Maguire JL, et al. Nutritional Risk in Early Childhood and School Readiness. J Nutr. 2021;151(12):3811-3819.

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