Singapore Longitudinal EArly Development Study (SG LEADS)


Project Details

Funded by The Ministry of Education Social Science Research Thematic Grant (MOE2016 – SSRTG – 044)

Amount: S$8,479,995

Project duration: June 2017 to May 2021

This project examines human development in Singapore by using innovative methods to understand factors that can promote Singaporean children’s early childhood development, and provide input that can help address these factors. The main research questions are on the state of Singaporean children; how family, childcare and early education institutions, community, and state interact to shape the development of Singapore’s children; and, how these investments affect intergenerational mobility and social stratification in Singapore.



Study Design


Core Panel Survey

Led By: Professor Wei-Jun Jean Yeung

Co-PIs: A/P Ryan Hong, Dr. Ding Xiaopan, Professor Lim Sun Sun

The core national survey will be a 2-wave panel study of 5,000 children aged 0 to 6 and will assess children’s motor, social-emotional, language and cognitive skills, health, and factors that potentially shape the multiple domains of child development. The respondents will be selected from a nationally representative probability sample of Singapore resident households that have at least one child under the age of 7, with an oversample of the disadvantaged population. The first wave of the national survey will start in 2018 while the 2nd wave will be in 2020.



The study will focus on the cultural background, early childcare and preschool, time use, technology use, financial and non-monetary investment in children, mother, father and extended family’s roles, family stress, program participation, and community context.




(1) Early Childhood Language Skills Development

Led By: Associate Professor Leher Singh

Focus: A laboratory experiment of early childhood linguistic development with a special interest in the effects of different multilingual environments for later social, cognitive and language development of children.This study will be using a subset of the sample from the Core National Panel Survey.

(2) Improving Children’s Social Skills

Led By: Assistant Professor Rongjun Yu

Focus: An intervention project that trains children’s minds to build social-emotional skills such as cooperation, empathy, self-control, and identify neural correlates of social cognition and decisionmaking for children.This study will be using a subset of the sample from the Core National Panel Survey.

(3) Ethnographic Study on Children Growing Up in Cross-Cultural Families

Led By: Professor Brenda Yeoh and Associate Professor Huang Swee Lian, Shirlena

Focus: An ethnographic study focusing on the consequences of cross-cultural low-income family environments for family functioning and child development in terms of sociopsychological well-being, early childhood experience and health. This study will be using a subset of the sample from the Core National Panel Survey.

(4) Improving Preschool Attendance

Led By: Associate Professor Jessica Pan and Associate Professor Walter Theseira

Focus: A randomized control trial (RCT) that evaluates the effectiveness of various incentives at improving preschool attendance rates for disadvantaged children, by motivating parents to commit their children to regular attendance.

(5) Asset Building Early in Life and Matched Savings

Led By: Associate Professor Chia Ngee Choon and Associate Professor Corinne Ghoh

Focus: An assessment of saving attitudes and behaviours of families, and evaluation of the impact of asset-building from matched savings programs on children’s development.


Principal Investigator

Wei-Jun Jean YEUNGNational University of Singapore


Core Panel Survey

Wei-Jun Jean YEUNGPrincipal Investigator
National University of Singapore

DING XiaopanCo-Principal Investigator
National University of Singapore

Ryan HONGCo-Principal Investigator
National University of Singapore

LIM Sun SunCo-Principal Investigator
Singapore University of Technology and Design

PASARABA Lori Jane (Gi)Research Associate/ Research Manager

CHEN LuxiPostdoctoral Fellow

SU Li WeyResearch Assistant

Joyous TANResearch Assistant


Language Skills Subproject

Leher SINGHPrincipal Investigator
National University of Singapore

OOI Seok HuiPostdoctoral Fellow

Annabel TAN Rui YingResearch Assistant


Social Skills Subproject

YU RongjunPrincipal Investigator
National University of Singapore

Elizabeth KIMPostdoctoral Fellow

HUANG ChangrunResearch Assistant


Cross-cultural Families Subproject

Brenda YEOHCo-Principal Investigator
National University of Singapore

Shirlena HUANGCo-Principal Investigator
National University of Singapore

Olivia GOH Mei HuiResearch Associate


Pre-school Attendance Subproject

Jessica PANCo-Principal Investigator
National University of Singapore

Walter THESEIRACo-Principal Investigator
Singapore University of Social Sciences

Attiya Bt ASHRAF ALIResearch Assistant


Asset Building Subproject

CHIA Ngee ChoonCo-Principal Investigator
National University of Singapore

Corinne GHOHCollaborator
National University of Singapore


SG LEADS Research Scholars

LIM Kia YeeDepartment of Economics

Shuya LUDepartment of Sociology

Nawal Binti MOHAMED HASHIMDepartment of Psychology


International Advisory Board

The Singapore Longitudinal Early Development Study (SG LEADS) is advised by a distinguished panel of international scholars who have extensive experiences in longitudinal studies and early childhood development research.

Janeen BAXTERThe University of Queensland

Jeanne BROOKS-GUNNColumbia University

Pamela DAVIS-KEANUniversity of Michigan

Greg DUNCANUniversity of California, Irvine

Sandra L. HOFFERTHUniversity of Maryland

James M. LEPKOWSKIUniversity of Michigan

Narayan SASTRYUniversity of Michigan

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17 October 2018 | Reducing Inequality with Early Childhood Development | The Straits Times

Experiences early in life have profound and enduring influences on an individual's developing brain, social behaviour and health. A family's economic resources shape the nature of many of these experiences - yet, the extent to which they affect children's development remains debated among scholars. CFPR Director Jean Yeung talks about the study titled Singapore Longitudinal EArly Development Study (SG LEADS) housed at CFPR, NUS which aims to shed more light on this matter.


7 October 2018 | Understanding Singapore Children’s Early Development | Lianhe Zaobao

For our Children's Day weekend this October, CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung shares with us the need to gain better understanding of the multifaceted issues affecting children's early development, especially in the face of low fertility and an aging population. She also shares about the Singapore Longitudinal EArly Development Study (SG LEADS); her current research project focused on young children.


Contact Us


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Ventus (University Campus Infrastructure)
Level 3, Unit #03-01
8 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119246

Professor Jean Yeung (Principal Investigator)
Telephone: +65 65163471

Gi Pasaraba (Research Manager)
Telephone: +65 66014959

For interview scheduling, please contact appointed survey research firm Nexus Link Pte Ltd:
Telephone: +65 88698781

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