to Learn at School
BY MAGDALENA JANUS AND DAN OFFORD
RÉSUMÉ ❿ Au cours de la dernière décennie, l’homme a grande-
ment raffiné sa compréhension du développement cérébral pendant la petite enfance et de son impact sur le développement ultérieur de l’enfant. L’importance des années préscolaires et leurs répercussions sur la capacité d’apprentissage à l’école est aussi généralementreconnue par les collectivités et les gouvernements. L’instrument de mesure du développement des tout-petits (Early Development Instrument, EDI) est un projet visant à cerner et à mesurer la capacité d’apprendre des enfants canadiens à l’entrée à l’école. Il a pour but de fournir des données pouvant montrer aux collectivités comment aider leurs enfants. Les résultats préliminaires indiquent déjàque la capacité d’apprentissage à l’entrée à l’école semble rehaussée au sein des collectivités dotées de ressources de soutien à la famille et à la petite enfance.
ABSTRACT ❿ Within the last decade, there has been an enormous
increase in our knowledge of brain development in the early years and how that inﬂuences future development. The importance of the early years and their impact onchildren’s readiness to learn at school have also been widely recognized by communities and governments. The Early Development Instrument is an effort to operationalize and measure school readiness to learn of Canadian children. It is designed to generate data that will mobilize communities to help all children. Preliminary results indicate that readiness-to-learn levels at school entry seem to bebetter in neighbourhoods where there are community resources providing family and early childhood support. isuma
wo major developments in public perception have given the assessment of the readiness-to-learn of Canadian children conceptual and widespread community support. First, the exponential growth of knowledge in the area of early brain development has increased public awareness of theimportance of the early years.1 It has been shown, not just by anecdotal evidence but through basic neuroscience, that it is the interaction between a child’s genes and his or her early environment that has a profound impact on outcomes. Stimulation, both positive and negative, provided to the child long before he or she can communicate verbally, has long-term consequences on the child’s development ofcognitive and social abilities. Thus, fostering a healthy early childhood development and supporting parents and caregivers, will be beneﬁcial for individual children over their life course and for the families and society as a whole. Second, communities are increasingly interested in keeping score, to learn what is going wrong and, even more important, what is going right for young children, thatis, which programs really do work. Such knowledge has the potential to channel resources into programs that are successful in a particular community, and to provide information for other communities interested in implementing similar services. The growing interest in the readiness to learn of Canadian children is reﬂected in the 1997 federal Speech from the Throne (sft) which contained thecommitment to “measure and report on the readiness to learn of Canadian children so that we can assess our progress in
ILLUSTRATION: LUC MELANSON
readiness to learn at school
TABLE 1 Example of behavioural proﬁles based on the scores for the Social Competence Scale.
95% 31.0Below the 10th percentile, or best 10% (0.0)
Between the 10 th and 50 th percentile (1.0-8.0)
Between the 50 th and 95 th percentile (8.0-31.0)
Above the 95th percentile, or worst 5% (31.0 or more)
A child who has never (had) a problem getting along, working or playing with other children; is respectful to adults, self-conﬁdent, has no difﬁculty following class routines and is capable...