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New MVSD students ahead of the curve, provincially


Mountain View School Divison (MVSD) is doing a little better than the provincial average, according to report on the 2014-15 Early Development Instrument (EDI).
At a regular board meeting, assistant superintendent Dan Ward explained the report is co-ordinated by the Healthy Child Manitoba office and is a questionnaire Kindergarten teachers use every two years to assess how children are doing in five domains.
Those domains include physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and thinking skills, plus communication skills and general knowledge.
The questionnaire is done across the province,and provides community, regional, school division and provincial levels.
“We present it to each school to, kind of, give them a picture of the child’s school readiness in hopes that community stakeholder’s can target areas that could be more supported, so that they’re better ready for school," Ward said.
In the five competency areas over the last couple of years, he said, MVSD’s results have been fairly consistent.
Year after year, Ward noted, there has been a slight increase in school readiness in the areas of physical health and wellbeing and in emotional maturity, as well as language and thinking skills.
In terms of school readiness, he said, children in MVSD are closely aligned to the provincial average and are slightly above the provincial average in social competency, as well as communication skills and general knowledge.
As a division, administration looked at areas that may need more support, Ward said, such as physical health and wellbeing.
“So we use that data at the school level,” he said, noting different schools use different methods, such as Kindergarten readiness kits and the MVSD preschool program.
“Those results are used by our preschool facilitator to provide a little bit more focus area and education in those specific areas.”
For example, Ward said, physical health and wellbeing includes dexterity, such as holding a crayon or pencil.
“So areas like that might receive greater focus at the school level, especially when the schools look at their specific results,” he added.
MVSD is only one of the stakeholders that uses EDI, Ward said, as regional and divisional information is public and is available to daycares and child care centres across the region.
MVSD does not use the questionnaire to assess individual children, he said, as it is only done every two years, to identify trends.
“It’s not something we would share with an individual parent, about how their child has done. There are other tools that a Kindergarten teacher would use to assess an individual child’s readiness and competency,” Ward added.
The data is intended to give a snapshot of the region, the communities and the schools as a whole, he said, to assist with planning and policy making.

M. A. Nyquist