||MERN Forum 2, Concurrent Session 4B
||D. Edmond, The Winnipeg School Division
||Understanding the Early Years
||Understanding the Early Years (UEY)
UEY is a national project that provides research information to local communities so that they may make informed decisions about the best policies and programs to support their young children and families. The UEY Winnipeg site, sponsored by the Winnipeg School Division, is one out of 12 national UEY sites funded by Social Development Canada (formerly Human Resources Development Canada). UEY Winnipeg was a 5 year research project, beginning in 1999 and completing in 2005.
The UEY research information that is collected and provided to local communities comes from 3 main sources: the Early Development Instrument (EDI), the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) Community Study, and the Community Mapping Study (CMS).
The Early Development Instrument (EDI)
The EDI is an annual Kindergarten teacher questionnaire designed to measure the early development levels of a Kindergarten class. The results of the EDI are compiled to demonstrate the strengths and needs of individual neighbourhoods in their ability to ensure their children are ‘ready to learn’ when they enter grade one. The EDI is a tool designed to assist local communities to make informed decisions about the programs and services that will best support the individual strengths and needs of the children and families within their community. The EDI is not used as an individual child assessment tool, and a child’s individual EDI results are never used. The EDI measures children’s ‘readiness to learn’ in the following areas:
· Physical Health and Well-Being
· Emotional Maturity
· Social Competency
· Language Development and Thinking Skills
· Communication Skills and General Knowledge
The provincial government initiated its Manitoba-wide EDI collection in 2002-2003, measuring the ‘readiness to learn’ of over 8500 Kindergarten children throughout the province. Under this provincial EDI collection, the Winnipeg School Division has the option to continue the EDI component of the UEY, passed the 2005 termination date of the UEY project.
The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) Community Study
The NLSCY Community Study collects research from randomly selected parents of young children (age 5) from the national UEY sites. The NLSCY Community Study was administered in 2000 and 2004. Information collected from this study gives each of the national UEY sites—including UEY Winnipeg—a local look at the many parent, family and community factors that play a role in the development of their children.
The Community Mapping Study (CMS)
The CMS presents information on the physical and socio-economic factors within the UEY Winnipeg site and illustrates the many different programs and services available for children and families.
The UEY goal of enhancing community capacity to use research and develop community-based responses was achieved through the collaboration between the Winnipeg School Division and parent-child coalitions. Under the parent-child centred approach program, funded by Healthy Child Manitoba, parent-child coalitions use their annual funding to direct programs and services that address the evidence-based strengths and needs of their individual communities.
Though the UEY Winnipeg project has terminated in 2005, Social Development Canada is presently in the process of initiating 100 new UEY sites—each with a 3 year duration—across Canada over the next four years.