Developmental Health of Senior Kindergarten Students

The Early Development Instrument is used across Ontario to measure the developmental health and wellbeing of senior kindergarten children.

In Niagara, the percentage of children who are considered vulnerable on one or more domains provides the data to inform the Early Development Risk Factor portion of the Community dial for Council's Strategic Priorities.

Early Development Instrument

In the second half of the school year, senior kindergarten teachers complete a questionnaire for each senior kindergarten child in their class. This questionnaire measures developmental health and wellbeing in five general domains:

  1. Physical health and well-being
  2. Social competence
  3. Emotional maturity
  4. Language and cognitive development
  5. Communication and general knowledge

Scores are calculated to determine the "vulnerability" of children in each domain. A child is considered vulnerable if they score below the 10th percentile in a particular domain.

The results reflect children's experiences before entering school and tell us about the supports provided or needed within a particular community, region, municipality or neighbourhood.

Since the Early Development Instrument has been implemented four times over the past 10 years in Niagara, it has allowed us to monitor the developmental health and wellbeing of senior kindergarten children over time.

The charts below summarize the most recent results and compare to other years and to the province. In order to maintain comparability with the provincial averages, children who had identified special needs (diagnosis) were not included in this analysis. Data for children with special needs is available upon request.

Early Development Instrument Results for Niagara

Percent of Students Vulnerable in each Domain by Year

Domain Percent of students who are vulnerable
200520082011 2015 Ontario 2015
Physical health and well-being 13.3%13.8% 16.2% 16.7% 16.1%
Social competence 9%9.6%9.8% 12.4% 10.7%
Emotional maturity 11.1%10.3%12.2% 14.3% 12.3%
Language and cognitive development 8.4%8.6%7.8% 7.9% 6.7%
Communication and general knowledge 10.2%11.1%10.8% 9.3% 10.2%

The areas of greater concern shown by this trend analysis are the Social Competence domain and the Emotional Maturity domain.

In 2015, the percentage of children scoring low in the Social Competence domain increased significantly and is now higher than that of the province. Since 2008, the percentage of children scoring low in the Emotional Maturity domain has increased steadily and significantly, and is also now higher than that of the province.

Percent Vulnerable on Two or More Domains

The percentage of children scoring low on two or more domains has increased steadily since 2008 and is now significantly higher than the provincial average.


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