The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a private grant-making foundation. Our mission is to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances. We see this both as a valuable end in itself and as a long-term means to promote more cohesive, considerate and creative societies with equal opportunities and rights for all. 

Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation

Involving children in environmental development 25-06-2013

Students from Amager Faelled School, Copenhagen, were involved in a building session as part of the LEGO Foundation's participation in the 2013 EFC Conference — featuring perspectives centered on "Sustainable cities: Foundations and our urban future."

Early Childhood Matters: Learning Begins Early 18-06-2013

ECM 120 coverBy the time most kids start preschool, aged around 3, the most important building blocks for learning have already been put in place. That’s why the latest edition of Early Childhood Matters, entitled Learning Begins Early, focuses on learning from birth to 3 years old.

Articles examine how children learn in their first three years and survey what we know about current policies and interventions to promote learning in this age group. There are country contributions focusing on Brazil, Colombia and India among others, and articles addressing the role of fatherhood, potential uses of mobile technology in early learning, a Vygotskian perspective on the issue, and the WHO intervention "Care for Child Development".

‘Building the Beta Brain’ Seminar 10-06-2013

On June 11th the ‘Building the Beta Brain’ Seminar will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands, organized on the occasion of the farewell of Trude Maas, Peter Bell and Nancy Newcomb as board members of the Van Leer Group Foundation. At this Seminar we show the need to invest in the foundations of that society, the need to invest in early STEM or Beta learning.

Rien van Gendt awarded EFC Compass Prize 03-06-2013

The Bernard van Leer Foundation congratulates Board of Trustees member Rien van Gendt on winning the Compass Prize. The Prize, awarded by the EFC Management Committee, is only awarded in exceptional circumstances to the true pioneers and visionaries of European philanthropy and recognises outstanding contributions to the European foundation sector. Mr van Gendt proudly accepted the award, saying, “It is a tremendous privilege to receive the EFC Compass prize and follow in the footsteps of Bill White and Francis Charhon, two high calibre people who I deeply appreciate for their outstanding achievements in our field.”

We are very proud indeed! Click here for the acceptance speech given by Rien van Gendt.

Commentary: New Global Development Goal for the World’s Youngest Children 03-06-2013

In response to the recommendations for the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Larry Aber, Joan Lombardi, and Sarah Klaus argue that the post-2015 development agenda should include an integrated goal on early childhood development. They propose targets and indicators that span the sectors of nutrition, economics, education, health, and social protection.
Read the full commentary and we welcome your comments #WhyYoungKids on the proposed goal and targets as well as your ideas for action steps to ensure that the world’s youngest children are embraced and supported by the global development agenda for the next two decades.

Prison through the eyes of a child 08-05-2013

By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 8 May 2013

Born in Poland, living in England, Sarah was six years old when she went on holiday to France with her mother and her mother’s new boyfriend. The police stopped their car for a routine traffic violation. The boyfriend fled. Sarah’s mother stayed with Sarah in the car. Drugs were found.

The police took Sarah’s mother away; she is now serving a multiyear sentence in a French prison. Sarah, who didn’t speak any French, was placed with a French foster family. It is hard to imagine what a trauma it must have been for her: one moment enjoying the excitement of a holiday, the next moment watching as her mother was led away by men whose words she couldn’t understand. She didn’t see her mother again for months.

Sarah is one of an estimated 800,000 children of prisoners growing up in Europe today. She committed no crime, yet she is surely serving a sentence. Read more

Sad news from Peru: a child counts 08-05-2013

Sad news reaches us from Rio Itaya in Belen, Iquitos, Peru, where last Monday a 3-year-old boy drowned in one of the communities where our partners Niños de la comunidad (Children from the community) and INFANT have been implementing an initiative called "NN al Rescate" (Children to the rescue).

This was the first fatality from drowning since the project started, in October 2011. Until then, around five to ten young children commonly drowned in the communities each year, when the rainy season makes the river flow dangerously fast. Read more.

LEGO and the World Economic Forum in Peru 26-04-2013

"Communities in Peru are taking a leadership role on this issue, both preventing violence and embracing playful learning as a critical piece of young children's development. We hope to shine some light on their efforts so that more global leaders engage in supporting our youngest citizens."

During the World Economic Forum conference in Lima, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, LEGO Foundation help children of Community-Conibo in Cantagallo envision their perfect neighborhood of their dreams using LEGO.


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