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The EDI Program

The Alberta Early Development Instrument (EDI) Program was a partnership from 2016-2020, among the Ministries of Children’s Services, Community and Social Services, Health and Education.  The EDI Program gathered information on the development of kindergarten-aged children in Alberta, analyzed the data and prepared provincial and community reports, and supported Community Coalitions to respond at a local level.

The Alberta EDI Program was established to help provide comprehensive data on the development of young children in Alberta inform planning, policy and programming decisions at a provincial and community level.  The data collected through the EDI helped communities, organizations, and government understand what was working well and what services were needed for children and families to support healthy development, learning and care both locally and provincially.  

For more information about the Ministries who were involved in the Alberta EDI program, please visit the Government of Alberta website.

What is the EDI?

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 & well-being
  • Social competence
  • Emotional maturity
  • Language & cognitive development
  • Communication skills and general knowledge.

In Alberta, it was a requirement that parents provide written consent before the teacher could complete the EDI on their child.

How was the EDI used in Alberta?

The EDI is 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 helped us to better understand the factors that influence children’s early development and what could be done at the community level and provincially to support young children and families.

In Alberta, Early Childhood Coalitions lead these discussions by sharing EDI results with their community partners and leading the development of community-specific action plans to respond to the results.  

For more information about how EDI Community Reports were used in communities throughout Alberta, check out our success stories.  


Interpreting EDI Results

Although understanding overall vulnerability for a community is important, it does not tell the whole story.

Comparing children based on certain demographics is an effective way of understanding how contextual factors in a community may be influencing EDI vulnerability rates.

Some factors which have been shown to influence EDI vulnerability include sex, age, language-learner status, and socioeconomic status.

The average EDI scores for each developmental area are divided into the following categories representing the highest scores to the lowest scores in the community and the province.

Read more information in Offord’s EDI Interpretation Toolkit

Coalition Connections

The nearly 100 Coalitions actively responded to their community data in innovative and unique ways.  Learn more about local Coalitions and read through the “what we do” and our success stories


Find local EDI Reports