A major effort is underway to boost early childhood development and improve outcomes among the young

Child is a multi-collaborative effort to translate early childhood research into targeted intervention. It focuses on three main areas: translational research, implementation science, and expertise in early childhood development.

“It was a very special and unique opportunity,” says Prof Sandler, who joined Child in January. “It is a chance to focus on improving children’s outcomes in a population, rather than child by child.”

Based at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Child was started in 2020 with a $30 million endowment from philanthropic organisation Lien Foundation.

Its other founding partners are the Centre for Evidence and Implementation and Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS).

“The mission is to improve the emotional, social and cognitive development of children in Singapore,” says Prof Sandler.

Child’s work leverages on a wealth of insights from the Growing Up In Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (Gusto) study, which has collected extensive data on the health, growth and development of local mothers and their children since 2009.

The cohort study, which has over 1,000 volunteers, is a collaborative effort led by KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the National University Health System, NUS, and SICS.

Last month, Child held its first conference at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront hotel, where it brought together international researchers, practitioners and policymakers to build on early childhood development.