The Early Development Instrument (EDI) pilot project is a new initiative of Erikson Institute that further extends our commitment to improving the lives of young children by illuminating the opportunities for more precise intervention and better alignment of resources for children, families, and communities. This initiative builds on Erikson’s mission-driven work to ensure a future in which all children have equitable opportunities to realize their full potential through leadership and policy influence.

Erikson is partnering with a select group of Illinois communities to pilot the EDI as a tool to ignite community-led and data-driven systems change. This place-based project—the first of its kind in Illinois—will deepen our community partnerships in a collective effort to understand the needs of young children and families, formulate policies and advocate for resource alignment to address those needs, and inform strategy to ensure better systems coordination.

What is the EDI?

The EDI is an evidence-based population measure that illustrates the development of young children within the context of their neighborhood. EDI data is collected through a 103 question survey administered by kindergarten teachers during the second half of the year.  The data are presented through neighborhood-level tables and maps to visualize the developmental strengths and weaknesses of young children in a specific or combination of domains (see for an example).

The EDI provides a holistic snapshot of young children in five key developmental domains:

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



How will a community use EDI results?

EDI results can be used to plan for early childhood investments as well as targeted school interventions.  The data can be used to identify needs and strengths to promote more targeted interventions, equitable distribution and alignment of resources, policy recommendations, and to foster better coordination across systems that serve young children and families. Other important contextual indicators or factors that may influence health and well-being—such as poverty, single parent households, and crime data—are layered on top of the EDI data to better inform the analysis.

The EDI distinguishes itself from other kindergarten readiness assessments in two ways:

  1. Results are reported through maps and tables at a neighborhood level rather than by each child—no data is ever used to evaluate individual children, teachers or schools.
  1. Active participation from community and school stakeholders is the centerpiece of the EDI pilot project in both analyzing results and appropriately planning for their use.


What is the EDI Pilot Project?

Through generous funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Erikson is partnering with select Illinois communities to implement the EDI through a three phase pilot.  Erikson supports community partners in the form of coaching, technical assistance, and resources to implement the EDI, analyze the results, and develop action plans to improve the development of young children, including school readiness.

In fall 2016 Erikson launched the EDI pilot project by selecting two community partners for phase one of the pilot: Success by 6 Coalition in Kankakee County and Greater East St. Louis Early Learning Partnership & AOK Network.  In spring 2017 two additional community partners were selected for phase two: Austin Coming Together and Collaboration for Early Childhood in Oak Park. While over 50 communities across the United States have implemented the EDI, this was the first time the tool has been used in Illinois.


How can my community get involved?

Learn more about how your community can participate in the EDI Pilot Project through reading the Request for Participation, reviewing the local champion task list, and watching the recorded webinar information session. Click here for the webinar slides without audio.  The application process for selecting phase two partner communities ended April 17, 2017.  Use the contact information below to inquire about phase three.


For questions concerning the pilot project, please contact:

Jaclyn Vasquez
Associate Director, EDI
[email protected]
(312) 566-4474