CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Erikson Institute has selected two early childhood coalitions to participate in a pilot program to help Illinois communities measure how young children have developed across numerous fronts by the time they reach kindergarten. The project - the first of its kind in Illinois - will utilize a validated research tool that's been reliably used for over a decade in Canada and Australia and more recently across more than 50 communities in the United States. Information gleaned through the project will offer a unique glimpse of how nearly 1,000 children in Kankakee County and East St. Louis are faring across multiple developmental domains, with results reported not on individual children but at the population level to support advocacy efforts for more effective early childhood policies, systems, and funding. In Kankakee County, the Success by 6 Coalition has been selected for the pilot, and in East St. Louis, the Greater East St. Louis Early Learning Partnership & Innovation Zone will participate. Funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the pilot program gathers previously unreported information with a research tool called the Early Development Instrument, which describes how children are doing within the context of communities by looking at physical health, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication skills. No data is ever reported on individual children. "Our hope for this work is that the accessible, actionable information generated by the EDI will better surface the specific needs of children in a particular Illinois community, and then galvanize all the child-serving entities in that community to work together to address those needs," said Cornelia Grumman, Education Program Director at the McCormick Foundation. The McCormick Foundation is a longtime supporter of Erikson's groundbreaking early childhood work and will support expanding the pilot project to include four additional communities in the spring. Erikson will issue a second Request for Participation early next year to determine additional participants.