Erikson and the EDI

Success by Six working on a strategic plan informed by Kankakee County Area’s EDI results.


The Maasai people in East Africa greet each other by asking, “Kasserian Ingera.” It means “And, how are the children?” If the children are well, then it is implied that those who care for them are well and the environment that surrounds them is set up for them to thrive.

This question serves as a reminder about the high value placed on the well-being of children because they serve as a barometer of community well-being. At Erikson Institute, we ask the same question of local communities through the Early Development Instrument Project.

In 2016, Erikson launched this project to provide the Early Development Instrument (EDI) to communities throughout Illinois. This project, the first of its kind in Illinois, is an extension of Erikson’s commitment to improving the lives of young children by illuminating opportunities for community-driven policy recommendations that remove barriers, foster equity, and support children, families, and communities. Erikson is the second institution in the United States to hold a license under the copyright of McMaster University for implementing the EDI.

Erikson works with existing community collaborative groups to ensure stakeholders across various sectors, including the public and private school systems, are engaged throughout the project. The EDI results benefit community collaboratives in their efforts to strategically and effectively respond to early childhood issues. Erikson provides community partners with resources and support to implement the EDI as well as to coordinate action based on results. Support includes but is not limited to:

  • Training, coaching, technical assistance, and resources:
    • Fostering data literacy
    • Developing or refining community actions plans based on EDI results
    • Co-facilitating community EDI discussions with community leaders
    • Identifying complementary partners to advance action plan
    • Reviewing grant applications and strategic plans
  • Opportunities for community partners to participate in Erikson’s Early Childhood Leadership Academy
  • Programs to enhance capacity of local leaders to influence early childhood policy
  • Data collection and scoring
  • Cross-learning exchanges with other EDI partner communities through the EDI Communities of Practice Summit and the Erikson Early Development Instrument (EDI) Community Facebook Group

Pilot Year 1 Communities (2016-2017)

Pilot Year 2 Communities (2017-2018)

Pilot Year 3 Community (2018-2019)

Year 4 Communities (2019-2020)

During the 2019-2020 school year, Erikson revisited communities from the first pilot year to collect second wave data to show changes and trends over time.

* During Pilot Year 1, the areas in Kankakee County Area that took part in the EDI were the City of Kankakee, Village of Bourbonnais and Village of Bradley. For 2019-2020, the community decided to rename the areas participating in the EDI to Kankakee County Area, adding Pembroke Township.