How Do Early Interventions Support Early Child Development?

– Breastfeeding has a protective effect in reducing vulnerability. According to an analysis by the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, children who were breastfed had reduced odds of being vulnerable in at least one EDI area of development (odds ratio = 0.86).5

1Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. The Foundations of Lifelong Health Are Built in Early Childhood. Cambridge, US: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University; 2010. reports_and_working_papers/foundations-of-lifelong-health/  – accessed May 22, 2017.
2Marmot M, Allen J, Goldblatt P, et al. Fair Society, Healthy Lives: The Marmot Review. London, UK: The Marmot Review; 2010.– accessed May 22, 2017.
3Thomas EM. Readiness to Learn at School Among Five-Year-Old Children in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada; 2006.
4Janus, M. & Offord, D. (2007). Development and psychometric properties of the Early Development Instrument (EDI): A measure of children’s school readiness. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 39(1), 1-22.– accessed May 22, 2017.
5Santos R, Brownell M, Ekuma O, Mayer T, Soodeen R-A. The Early Development Instrument (EDI) in Manitoba: Linking Socioeconomic Adversity and Biological Vulnerability at Birth to Children’s Outcomes at Age 5. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy; 2012.– accessed May 22, 2017.

Source: Text and data adapted using the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Children Vulnerable in Areas of Early Development: A Determinant of Child Health. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2014. – accessed May 22, 2017.

Evidence suggests that policies that strengthen the foundations of health in early childhood may have long-lasting positive effects.1 The following text provides examples of how data on early childhood development is being used to identify the early life determinants or predictors of school readiness to eventually inform decision-making:
– Reading to children and having a regular bedtime positively affect development.2 A study in Canada found that reading to children daily was associated with better language development in children. Low-income families are less likely to engage in these activities. In all income groups, children who were read to daily had better receptive vocabulary scores than those who were not.3

– Developmental health at school entry of Canadian children is monitored in most provinces/territories with the Early Development Instrument.4  Low family income is associated with poorer Early Development Instrument (EDI) outcomes at both the individual and neighbourhood levels. An analysis from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) showed that the odds of children being vulnerable in at least one EDI was 1.7 times greater for children in families on income assistance than for those in families not on income assistance.5