The Government of Alberta funds services, supports and programs for young children and their families primarily through the Ministries of Children’s Services, Community and Social Services, Education, and Health.
The Alberta Early Development Instrument Collection, Analysis, and Community Mobilization
Program (Alberta EDI Program) is a partnership among Community and Social Services, Education and Health.1
The Alberta EDI Program will ensure that comprehensive data on the development of young children in Alberta is available to inform planning, policy and programming decisions at a provincial and community level.
The Program gathers information on the development of kindergarten-aged children in Alberta, analyzes the data and prepares provincial and community reports, and supports the work of Community Coalitions to use the results support actions at the local level.
The data collected through the EDI helps communities, organizations, and government understand what is working well and
what services are needed for children and families to support healthy development, learning and care both locally and provincially.
EDI data collection is planned for once every three years, with the 2016 data collection being the first collection of data under the provincial program.
 The Alberta EDI Program represents a transition to a Government of Alberta Program from the earlier ECD Mapping Project (ECMap) funded by Education and led by Community-University Partnerships at the University of Alberta. The Project concluded in 2014.
Community and Social Services funds programs that provide support for communities, families and vulnerable Albertans. The Ministry has responsibility for many initiatives that may directly and indirectly impact young children including Family Supports for Children with Disabilities, Child Support Services, Child Health Benefit,family violence prevention, and supports provided in partnership with communities through local Family and Community Support Services.
Family Supports for Children with Disabilities:
Child Support Services: http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/financial-support/2072.html
Alberta Child Health Benefit: http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/financial-support/2076.html
Early childhood development is recognized as an important social determinant of health.
Health is one of the first service providers to expectant families and infants,
and provides service to all children (for example immunization is offered to all children as a universal service to children)through Alberta Health Services and other community partners. Health works collaboratively with its partners to address maternal-infant health through prevention and earlier intervention from preconception through the first year of life.
Education is responsible for Early Childhood Services (ECS) programming. ECS includes Kindergarten (the education program for children in the year prior to Grade 1) as well as educational programming for children from 2½ years old who have additional learning or developmental needs.
Children’s Services supports young children and their families in a variety of ways including the following:
Child Care: Children’s Services is responsible for licensing and accreditation of child care and out-of-school care providers.
The Ministry provides financial assistance to eligible lower-income families using:
- Licensed day care centres
- Licensed group family child care
- Approved family day homes
- Licensed out-of-school care centres
- Licensed pre-schools and
- Approved early childhood development programs
Children’s Services also supports services in communities to help families nurture their children’s development and build their skills and knowledge in positive parenting, including:
- A network of 56 Parent Link Centres (PLCs) in Alberta that provide support for parents of young children and their families, focusing on early childhood development and parenting programs, family support, development screening resources, and information and referral to other programs and community agencies.
The Early Development Instrument (EDI) was designed in Canada at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University in the early 2000s.
The EDI is a 103-item questionnaire completed by kindergarten teachers in the second half of the school year. It measures children’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations in five general areas or domains:
- physical health and well-being
- social competence
- emotional maturity
- language and cognitive development and
- communication skills and general knowledge.
In Alberta, it is a requirement that parents provide written consent before the teacher can complete the EDI on their child.
The EDI is also considered a population-level research tool, which means that the results for children are aggregated or rolled-up (without identifying individual children) to provide a summary of the results at the community level and at the provincial level.
This information helps us to better understand the factors that influence children’s early development and what can be done at the community level and provincially to support young children and families.
Early Childhood Coalitions can lead this discussion by sharing the community EDI results with their community partners and leading the development of action plans to respond to the results.
More information on the EDI can be found at: