Published on 7 October 2021

    A new centre has been set up to improve the health and developmental outcomes of children in Singapore and beyond through critical research.

    The first of its kind in Asia, the Centre for Holistic Initiatives for Learning and Development (CHILD) will translate research into various interventions to help give children in Singapore a head start in life and maximise their developmental potential. It was established with a $30 million gift from the Lien Foundation, one of the founding partners of the centre. 

    Their intervention programmes, which will focus on children from conception till their primary school years, include a screening trial that aims to improve practices in early childhood education in order to accommodate children with different needs. 

    Another programme, dubbed the Appetite Toolbox, hopes to cultivate healthy eating behaviours early in life by teaching tools for self-regulation to both children and caregivers. 

    The centre builds on a reservoir of valuable clinical data on mothers and children in Singapore, provided by a landmark study, Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO), which observed mothers and children over the past decade, from pregnancy to early childhood. 

    “The centre’s emphasis is in line with Singapore’s national drive to boost the health and well-being of mothers and their children and ensure a good start to life for all children in Singapore,” said Prof Chong Yap Seng, Dean of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) and Chief Clinical Officer, Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), A*STAR. Both institutions are founding partners of CHILD.

    As an inclusive, multi-collaborative effort, CHILD will bring together and tap the knowledge of professionals from a variety of disciplines, including scientists, researchers, teachers, therapists, and policymakers. It also aims to work with partners in the local early childhood and family services space, including government institutions like the Health Promotion Board.

    "In a time of rapid social and technological change, we believe the convergence of disciplines and collaborative talents will inspire and propel new ways of uplifting the early childhood ecosystem," said Mr Lee Poh Wah, CEO of the Lien Foundation. 

    He added, "We see CHILD as an investment in the future…we look forward to co-creating solutions with forward-thinking partners to ultimately achieve better outcomes for our young.”

    Check out this video for CHILD’s inaugural webinar.

    In consultation with Prof Chong Yap Seng, Dean of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) and Chief Clinical Officer, Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), A*STAR.

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