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
‘There is nothing for these kids and families. This is the area of greatest need in this country. Where are you?’ This was one of many responses we got when I visited Israel last month to determine how our new goals – bringing quality early learning to scale; reducing violence in young children’s lives; and addressing the physical environment in which young children live – respond to one of the local contexts in which we work. Read more
The United Nations have published an 18-page pdf entitled Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, presented to the 65th session of the UN General Assembly. Most of the report, paragraphs 6 through 61, is specifically focused on the current state of implementation of the CRC regarding young children. (For further information, see our backgrounder on General Comment 7, on implementing child rights in early childhood).
The latest edition of Early Childhood in Focus, entitled Culture and learning, looks at children's right to "development": the major policy questions surrounding the place of culture in early childhood programmes, and how to promote development and learning while respecting cultural diversities. The ECiF series provides clear reviews of research for policy makers and child advocates.
Speaking at an event in Peru last week to launch the latest results of the Young Lives project (press release, in Spanish), the Chair of the foundation Board of Trustees, Peter Bell (pictured, right), called for Peru to focus as much on human development and the fair distribution of wealth as on economic growth and physical infrastructure. Young Lives is a major longitudinal study of children in Peru and three other countries, funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The project's progress so far in Peru was the subject of a recent foundation working paper.
In the wake of Roma expulsions from France, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) Forum for Roma Inclusion met in Vienna on 9-10 September to renew their ongoing efforts to abate Roma exclusion and step up actions to promote European values. Read more
Today a front-page feature in the Miami New Times and several other US newspapers considers the plight of young children in Ciudad Juarez, the subject of BvLF executive director Lisa Jordan's recent message. As BvLF's Leonardo Yanez says in the article, "In just a few more years, these kids are going to be sucked into the narco world. Early childhood is the point where a rupture can be made."
How can governments make sure non-profit organizations in Europe aren’t being used a front for financing terrorism? This was the subject of the EU Directorate General of Home Affairs’ third meeting on non-profit sector transparency and accountability. Having co-authored a book on accountability in the non-profit sector, I was happy to be asked to share my views. Read more
Setting our agenda on early learning, violence and physical environment is the latest edition of the Bernard van Leer Foundation's journal, Early Childhood Matters. A keynote article by programme director Michael Feigelson sets the scene for a collection of articles exploring different aspects of the foundation's new goals, including an update on the Wolfensohn Centre's studies of scaling up early childhood education programmes, an interview with UN special representative on violence against children Marta Santos Pais, and a look at town planning issues in the Netherlands.