School readiness is a multidimensional construct that includes cognitive, behavioural, and emotional aspects of development, and basic knowledge relevant to school-based learning. It is an important concept that is measured by teachers in Kindergartens across Canada using a tool called the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The EDI has been shown to be associated with school success later in childhood and child well-being. New research shows that health and developmental patterns such as body mass index, physical activity, nutrition, and development measured very early in life may be associated with school readiness. Primary care health practitioners measure many of these health and developmental factors during regularly scheduled health supervision visits in young children. During health visits from birth to 3 years of age in their primary care physician’s office setting through TARGet Kids!, an established child health research network in Toronto, the following information will be collected: children’s height and weight, physical activity, sedentary behaviours, nutrition, laboratory tests for nutrition and cardiovascular risk, and development. Children’s teachers will be asked to complete the child’s EDI in Junior Kindergarten. The goal of this study is to determine if these health and developmental patterns early in life are associated with school readiness. Results from this study can support current health and developmental care in primary care for children, and find new areas to improve school readiness, including physical activity, nutritional deficiencies, cardiometabolic health and development. This evidence as a whole will be used towards the promotion of school readiness in young children in Canada.
Funding & Support
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Principal Investigators – Dr. Catherine Birken, Dr. Magdalena Janus
Co-Investigators – Dr. Eric Duku, Dr. Gerald Lebovic, Dr. Jonathon Maguire, Dr. Muhammad Mamdani, Dr. Patricia Parkin, Dr. Janis Randall-Simpson, Dr. Mark Tremblay
Collaborators – Dr. Azar Azad, Dr. Mark Feldman, Dr. Brian McCrindle
Primary Contact: Dr. Catherine Birken, 416-813-4930,