Background

Children are the future backbone of our country, as well as its hope. Thus, children’s physical and psychological health is closely related to the economical prosperity and development of the society of the country. In the recent two decades, advanced countries in Europe and America have put in a lot of manpower and funds and invited experts and scholars from different fields to work together to build a large database of long-term data of child development, with the purpose of exploring child development processes, childcare environments, and the relationship between them, as references for national policy making. Take the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), USA and the Growing up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) by the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), Canada for example, the research subjects of these databases are sampled from the most representative and large populations of the countries. Also, these databases contain long-term data of the subject children’s childhood development in fields such as health, cognition, linguistics, and society and environments and their experiences at home and in daycare institutions since they were newborns.

These databases can provide important information to researchers, education, medical, and social workers, and policy makers of the countries. They can not only be used to understand the processes and changes of child development in various fields in those countries, environments of children’s homes and daycare institutions, and long-term influences of the environments on child development but also be the basis for the countries to make policies in relation to children’s health, welfare, family, and childcare as well as references for early preventions and interventions for children. These databases are extremely important as their influences are strong and long.

As for Taiwan, although there is no lack of studies regarding child development and childhood education, long-term follow-up studies of child development are still quite rare. And most of these studies are small and individual studies with research subjects being a small sample from an area. It is difficult to thoroughly understand the development processes and changes of children in Taiwan. And there are a lot of limits due to the small sizes of the samples when it comes to inference or applications in policies or education. Moreover, data collected by just one single study can hardly be associated with data from other studies. It is a shame that data cannot be accumulated or circulated. By building a database, these drawbacks can be avoided. Through cross-field cooperation, representative, large, longitudinal, and complete data of child development can be collected and made available online for people from the academic circle, the government, and other related organizations to use. The data can be sustainably preserved in the database, achieving the maximum benefits of applications of these data.

Thus, with the financial support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Center for Educational Research and Evaluation and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies of NTNU formed a research team with domestic scholars from fields such as child development, early childhood education, family education, educational psychology, early intervention, clinical medicine, and research survey and invited senior scholars in related fields in Taiwan to be consultants, working together to build a domestic child development database.