The MDI: Learning by Listening video

 Photo Credit: Unsplash User  Ksenia Makagonova

Photo Credit: Unsplash User Ksenia Makagonova

This video looks at the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) as a strengths-based tool designed to listen to the authentic voices of middle-years children, and to develop community assets to support children’s growth and development.

The MDI, developed by the Human Early Learning Project (HELP), is a voluntary survey that asks children in Grade 4 and Grade 7 about their thoughts, feelings and experiences in school and in the community.  The population-level data collected through the MDI is designed to help researchers, educators, parents and policy-makers to better understand the factors that promote well-being in middle childhood.

The MDI is designed to elicit a full picture of well-being by asking about five key dimensions:  Social-Emotional Development, Physical Health and Well-Being, Connectedness, After-School Time, and School Experiences.

Social & Emotional Development:  Children respond to questions about their current social and emotional functioning in 7 areas:  optimism, self-esteem, happiness, empathy, prosocial behavior, sadness and worries.

Connectedness:  Children are asked about their experiences of support and connection with the adults in their schools and neighbourhoods, with their parents or guardians at home, and with their peers.

School Experiences:  Children are asked about their school experiences in four areas:  academic self-concept, school climate, school belonging, and experiences with bullying.

Physical Health & Well-Being:  Children evaluate their own physical well-being in the areas of overall health including body image, nutrition, and sleeping habits.

After-School Time:  Children are asked about the time they spend engaged in organized activities such as sports, music and art, as well as the time they spend watching TV, doing homework, and playing video games.

The HELP researchers use the information collected through the MDI to produce reports, incorporating visualizations and maps, to help schools and communities see variations in children’s perceptions of well-being across geographies and over time.  They also conduct their own research, using MDI data, to advance a global understanding of well-being in the middle years.

The MDI is a password-protected online survey, conducted at school , that takes approximately 30-90 minutes to complete.  Parents/guardians and children may opt out at any time. Identifiable information is removed from the survey and data is used to paint a picture of well-being at a group level, aligned with BC Core Competencies.

Speakers in the video include:

  • Joan Gignac, Executive Director, Aboriginal Head Start Association
  • Connie Deane, FNFC Early Years Centre Manager,
  • Jessie Nyberg, Shuswap & ASC Elder, Retired Registered Nurse
  • Diana Elliott, Provincial Advisor, AIDP
  • Laranna Androsoff, Aboriginal Early Years Outreach Worker