Village of Oak Park community members participate in the neighborhood mapping process to determine boundaries and the naming of pocket areas.
By using various lenses to interpret the EDI data, communities can turn facts and figures into collective action to help:
STRENGTHEN the understanding of a community’s role and influence in child development and the importance of investing in young children;
INFORM curriculum and program needs to best prepare children entering kindergarten;
IMPROVE professional development offerings and supports for those caring for young children;
MAP local resources (E.g. early childhood providers, hospitals, libraries, etc.);
IDENTIFY gaps in programs and services available to children and their families;
BUILD networks of school-readiness advocates and create partnerships between organizations;
DETERMINE strategic planning for organizations and community initiatives;
ADVOCATE for changes to policies, systems, and funding at the local, county, and state levels;
PROVIDE a community-level perspective on early childhood that compliments existing individual student assessments; and
ASSESS, over time, how the community’s cumulative efforts are impacting children’s development.
In Year 1 of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) Pilot Project, Erikson Institute worked with the Illinois communities of Greater East St. Louis, the City of Kankakee, the Village of Bradley, and the Village of Bourbonnais, completing implementation in 2017. The communities used results to inform strategic planning and initiatives. This following is a list of examples on how they turned EDI data into collective action.
Greater East St. Louis
The East St. Louis School District 189 and the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, a social service organization, analyzed the EDI data and concluded that the west side of the city—an area that showed high levels of vulnerability on the EDI map—did not have a high-quality early learning program serving the area. Together, the district and organization applied for a Preschool Expansion Grant from the Illinois State Board of Education requesting to open a pre-K center on the west side and increase the number of seats at a nearby early childhood center.
The Early Learning Partnership held a stakeholders meeting themed “Recommitment to Early Childhood” in February 2018 to re-energize efforts, and to elevate the importance of early childhood school readiness, and the holistic health and well-being of children and their families.
Kankakee and Iroquois Counties
The EDI vulnerability data for the social-emotional domain was paramount in Riverside Healthcare’s grant application to the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation for support of a children’s mental health initiative.
Partnership for a Healthy Community incorporated EDI data in their annual Community Health Status Assessment, a report on the state of the local public health system, which reveals issues and informs action plans to address them. The Partnership also used the data in several grant proposals focused on child and adolescent health.
Success by 6 of Kankakee County, an early childhood community collaborative, incorporated discussions of the EDI data at various stakeholder meetings to increase engagement across sectors and developed steps to resolve issues drawn from the data in their strategic action plan.
City of Kankakee
The EDI data helped connect Kankakee School District 111 with professionals working with children in the Riverside Medical Center Mental Health Unit to collaborate on ideas to address social-emotional issues. As a result, a new child psychiatrist was hired and is implementing social-emotional activities in their work with children.
District 111 initiated discussion about creating a Trauma-Informed Community using the EDI data. This included piloting interventions for training teachers and community members on the impact of trauma and strategies to support youth.
Village of Bourbonnais
The Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 provided parents with EDI results specifically on the physical health and well-being domain and identified ways to support their children in this area. Results in the social and emotional skills domain also prompted the district to move toward a Trauma-Informed Schools approach.
District 53 partnered with TheraPlay to provide local teachers with training on Sunshine Circles, a teacher-led technique that incorporates playful, cooperative and nurturing activities that lead to better social, emotional and cognitive development in the classroom.
Village of Bradley
Bradley School District 61 teachers, staff and community members engaged in Project 375, a program co-founded by NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall to help promote awareness of mental health. All teachers attended an eight-hour, social- emotional training.
Per their review of the EDI data, Bradley Chief of Police, Mike Johnston, in collaboration with Mayor Bruce Adams of Bradley, asked to be included in any and all trainings or meetings that addressed trauma and mental health of youth. The intent is to build capacity so that the Village of Bradley is a Trauma-Informed Community.
Erikson Institute reserved space for EDI partners in its Early Childhood Leadership Academy programs, which equip early childhood advocates, decision-makers and influencers with the resources, skills, and deep knowledge about the field to support their efforts.