Workshops for Making Change

Using MDI data to inform and empower action plans

A traditional approach to change is to identify a problem and look immediately for a solution. When working with Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) data, this approach can lead to presentations that focus only on low or weak results. But the MDI was designed to uncover the strong, protective, and positive aspects (or dimensions) in children’s lives that can build their resilience and foster their well-being.


At the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), we recommend taking a strengths-based approach, shifting the focus from what is wrong to recognizing the positive factors that already exist in the context of the systems and relationships from which these positive factors emerge. Encouraging a vision for a future in which all children are thriving can ensure the focus remains on moving forward.


The MDI Workshop Journey

The workshop materials below were created with this approach in mind. Through the workshops, you can combine the quantitative data of MDI reports with a process of exploring your own local contexts and fostering collaborative relationships.

The first workshop, Exploring Data, will help you begin the conversation about the strengths, challenges, and opportunities revealed by your local MDI data. The activities are designed to enable workshop participants to move beyond the numbers and think about the ways their schools and communities support healthy development of children in the Middle Years.

The second workshop, Developing Ideas, takes this richer picture and supports moving from knowing to doing. The activities can help you form action teams, focus your efforts, and choose your first steps to positively shift environments, relationships, and skill-building opportunities for children.

There is an Action Planning Workbook to help develop your plans. Your team can use this resource to start turning these great ideas into a more structured plan.

When you and your team are exploring the MDI data and developing ideas for moving to action, it is important to take into account the latest research on children’s development during the middle years as a way to better understand your data. The MDI team has created a number of resources to help you and your team contextualize your discussions on MDI data within in the context of research in child development during the middle years. The Exploring MDI Data and Sharing MDI Data pages also provide information and tips that can be useful as you plan and deliver your workshops.

A compilation of two-page, downloadable, PDF summaries of key MDI concepts, including research highlights and ideas for moving to action with MDI results.

Last Updated: April 30, 2020

A companion guide to the MDI reports that provides a description of all of the questions on the MDI, including a description of each measure, how questions are scored, and how the results are presented in reports.

Created: August 31, 2018

Last Updated: August 7, 2020

A four-page overview of the MDI—what it assesses, why it is important, and the research supporting it.