The Bernard van Leer Foundation is an international grantmaking foundation based in The Hague.

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 promoting more cohesive, considerate and creative societies with equal opportunities and rights for all.




Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation

Finally it’s About the Kids 14-02-2014

By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 14 February 2014

Last night I came home to the evening newspaper (NRC for those who are Dutch) with a big front page headline ‘’Plan for Free Lessons for Toddlers’’. Inside the newspaper the stories read ‘’Secretly, They are Learning Math and Dutch’’ and ‘’Children Get Smarter When They are Together’’. The hair immediately rose on my arms.

I was overjoyed. Three years ago when we were beginning to think about how to introduce the idea of early learning into the Netherlands, a good friend with a strong political nose recruited to the cause told me ‘’this is a soft women’s issue that will never make headline news’’. Ha! Never say never. Read more...

Report 'Building the Beta Brain' now available! 03-02-2014

The report 'Building the Beta Brain', following the seminar held in June 2013, is now available. This report focuses on the question why the Netherlands should invest in early (Beta) learning. You can download the report here.

Making a Difference: 2013 Year at a Glance 10-01-2014

It’s been another great year for the Bernard van Leer Foundation! Looking back at 2013 and all that we've accomplished, we would like to thank the people that made it all possible.

Happy Holidays! 23-12-2013

Please note that the Bernard van Leer Foundation office will be closed during the Holiday season. We are back in the office again on Thursday January 2nd, 2014.

We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Video: second Transatlantic Forum on Inclusive Early Years (New York) 18-12-2013

Watch this video to see the results of the second Transatlantic Forum on Inclusive Early Years (held in July 2013 in New York), supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The focus of this second meeting was: propose improved workforce-preparation systems by better understanding changes in instructional practice, teacher preparation and curricula that have been successful in engaging children from migrant and low-income families. The next Forum will be held in Lisbon, from January 20th – 22nd, 2014.

New Series Released by WDI - Focusing on the Next Generation: Child Impact Series 11-12-2013

Base of the Pyramid (BoP) ventures can play a prominent role in reducing the harmful effects of poverty. With support from theBernard van Leer Foundation, the William Davidson Institute developed six research case studies to assess the role BoP ventures can play in alleviating poverty on children age eight years and younger. These cases include businesses that sell a product to the BoP, businesses that sell a service to the BoP, and businesses that source from the BoP. The ventures analyzed, work across a range of sectors including housing, renewable energy, sanitation, health care, as well as export-based and locally-based agribusinesses. This series includes a summary article, ‘Focusing on the Next Generation: An Exploration of Enterprise Impacts on Child Poverty’, that aggregates findings across the above six ventures.

All six research case studies, a teaching case study and a summary article can be downloaded here.

Early Childhood in Focus on Attachment Relationships and Developing Brains now available in Dutch 05-12-2013

We are pleased to announce the availability of Dutch translations of Attachment Relationships: Quality of care for young children and Developing Brains, two popular editions of our Early Childhood in Focus series. The links are as follows:

Early Childhood Matters on Children of seasonal migrant workers 04-12-2013

ECM 121 coverThe latest edition of Early Childhood Matters on Children of seasonal migrant workers is now available (download pdf / order a free copy / read online). It focuses on an almost invisible population - people who migrate seasonally in search of work, and their children. Often they live in poor quality temporary accommodation close to the work site, where children are exposed to risks of accidents and illness, and below the radar of local authorities meaning they can't access services such as preschool, school and healthcare.

Articles explore the living conditions of seasonal migrant workers' children, and experiences with programmes designed to improve those conditions. Contributions come from the United States, India, Turkey, Mexico, Nicaragua and Africa.

Fellowship, Center for Universal Education 04-12-2013

Echidna Global Scholars Program
Promoting Girls’ Education in Developing Countries

Apply for the Echidna Global Scholars Program for 2014. The deadline to apply is January 5th 2014. The Echidna Global Scholars Program is a visiting fellowship at the Center for Universal Education that aims to catalyze the work of nonprofit leaders, academics and policymakers from developing countries. Echidna Global Scholars spend four and a half months in Washington from August through mid-December pursuing research on global education issues, with a specific focus on improving learning opportunities and outcomes for girls. Please click here for more information or to apply.

BvLF organized symposium "Break the Circle" 25-11-2013

During the ‘Week van Kinderen Veilig’ (Week of Children Safe) in the Netherlands, from 18-22 November, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, Municipality of The Hague and Stichting Geheim Geweld (Secret Violence Foundation) organized the symposium "Break the Circle", on the preventive approach to child abuse and the relationship between psycho-social trauma and its effects on physical health of children and adults.

At the same time there was a program organized for children where they learnt about child abuse and healthy food, and they participated it in a Spinning Marathon for charity, for the Secret Violence Foundation.

Watch below video for a news compilation of this successful day (0:26 to 4:50 minutes):

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