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

Roma students excel in UK schools 21-12-2011

Equality, in cooperation with the Roma Education Fund, carried out research in the United Kingdom to find out what impact mainstream schooling had on Roma children who had previously been streamed into special or de facto segregated schools.

The findings of this pilot research, From Segregation to Inclusion, show that Roma pupils in the United Kingdom quickly catch up with their non-Roma peers to gain an attainment level comparable with average, a huge achievement in light of the obstacles these children have faced in their home countries in Central Europe.

Brazil is now the 4th country in the Americas banning psychological and physical punishment against children. 15-12-2011

The second camera of the Brazilian Federation has approved a law against the use of physical and psychological punishment against children.  The Minister of Human Rights, Ms. Maria de Rosário Nunes recognize the achievement of the civil society and the parliamentarians who were involved.

Our Partners in Brazil, The Parliamentary Front for Early Childhood (guided by Vital Didonet –OMEP), the RNPI and other allies were directly involved in advocating for this law.  We co-funded a National Plan for Early Childhood (Under Promundo and OMEP, before, and now with AVANTE) that RNPI launched early this year and that was an important contribution to this achievement.

Brazil is now the 4th country in the Americas banning psychological and physical punishment against children.  Will Peru be next?

New research on child abuse in the Netherlands 13-12-2011

Today the Verwey Jonker Institute  published a special edition of the "Kids Count" report on child abuse in the Netherlands, Kinderen In Tel over Kindermishandeling (link in Dutch), based on data from Child Abuse Advice and Reporting Centres from 2003 to 2009. The report shows there are significant disparities in reported cases of abuse between municipalities, largely because each municipality has its own policy on how professionals such as the police or hospital workers should handle suspected cases of abuse. The report also indicates that most municipalities do not yet provide specialised care for victims of child abuse.

The report was made with support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation and Stichting Kinderpostzegels.

Toddlers and Tablets, should your 2 year old get an Ipad for Christmas? 30-11-2011

Lisa Jordan, Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation

By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 30 November 2011

In 1969 Joan Gantz Cooney asked the question, ‘How can emerging media help children learn?’ The answer was Sesame Street and Joan is commonly referred to as “Sesame Street’s Mother.” History is repeating itself. Today, we are wondering the same thing. This time not about television but apps, ipads, smart phones and other devises which are far more interactive and attractive, even addictive, to young children.

The Bernard van Leer Foundation recently invited Michael H. Levine to help us address this question. Dr. Levine at the Joan Ganz Cooney centre at Sesame Workshop is busy trying to help parents to navigate the new media space. Parents require navigation, children do not. Smart phones and ipads are an unintentional match made in heaven, really.

Children's Ombudsman advances BvLF-backed proposals to Dutch Parliament 23-11-2011

The Children's Ombudsman in The Netherlands today officially submitted a letter to the Dutch parliament pointing to statistics which show that child abuse in the Netherlands is a serious and persistent problem, and making proposals for which the Bernard van Leer Foundation and other civil society actors have been pressing. These include the formation of multidisciplinary teams of researchers and greater attention to the accumulation of risk factors which generally cause child abuse, such as poverty, unemployment and parents' mental health.

Early learning: Lessons from scaling up 04-11-2011

The latest edition of Early Childhood Matters, Early learning: Lessons from scaling up, is available for download (printed copies can be pre-ordered and will be despatched when available.) It looks at the question of how to scale up early learning provision without sacrificing quality.

Articles consider lessons that can be learned from national-level experiences in South Africa, Kenya, the US, the UK, Macedonia, Cuba, Chile and Peru, as well as examining lessons at an organisational level with input from Reggio Emilia in the US, India's SEWA, the Caribbean's FDCC, ISSA in Central/Eastern Europe, and the OECD.

Further articles discuss what "quality" means in the context of early education services, outline the World Bank's new SABER-ECD tool to collect evidence on what works, and ask how interactive technology can help to scale up early learning.

Obama administration reaffirms support for early education 03-11-2011

The US secretaries of health and education wrote to the New York Times on October 30th to reaffirm the Obama administration's commitment to early childhood education, in response to criticism in an op-ed by Nicholas D Kristof on 20th October.

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