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

The winning logo against child abuse 02-07-2013

The winning logo of the ‘Klokhuis against child abuse’ logo competition has been chosen!

On Friday June 28th the winner of the logo competition was announced. Or actually winners, while the logo was designed by two girls named Lisanne van Es and Tugce Kamali (11 years) from group 7a of Primary School ‘De Wierde’ in Almelo, the Netherlands.

The winning logo will be used for a national poster campaign on all primary schools in the Netherlands. Next to that the government will also use the logo in their new campaign.

The logo competion is an initiative from Het Klokhuis and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

Learning begins early: Webinar slides 01-07-2013

On 1 July, BvLF held a webinar featuring presentations by three of the contributors to the newly-published edition of Early Childhood Matters: Joan Lombardi (Providing a path to early success: Securing the foundation for learning), Orazio Attanasio (Enriching the Home Environment of Low Income Families in Colombia: A strategy to Promote Child Development at Scale) and Chiara Servili (Health for learning: The Care for Child Development package). You can download the webinar slides here. We will also upload audio of the presentation, including the Q&A session, as soon as possible. [Update: video available here.]


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

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