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

ECM on inclusion and diversity 11-06-2007

The latest issue of the foundation's biannual journal, Early Childhood Matters, is now available. Entitled "Promoting social inclusion and respect for diversity in the early years", it takes an in-depth look at the issues involved in this newly-defined programme area, one of three programme areas which are now guiding the foundation's work.

Foundation photograph wins award 05-06-2007

An image commissioned by the Bernard van Leer Foundation has won the European Foundation Centre’s photo competition. The photo of the young boy from Sikkim, India, was used on the front cover of Early Childhood Matters last November. Read more

Jewish-Arab school founders recognised 31-05-2007

Messrs Amin Khalaf and Lee Gordon, the founders of the Hand in Hand schools for Jewish-Arab education in Israel, are to be honoured on June 14th with the third annual Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East. The Bernard van Leer Foundation is proud to support Hand in Hand through the Early Childhood Education and Respect for Diversity project.

Equal opportunities for all through ECCE 30-05-2007

To mark the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, the DECET network is organising a conference (pdf) in October - funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation - on how early childhood care and education can lay the foundations for equal opportunities for all. DECET is a key partner for the foundation in implementing its Social Inclusion and Respect for Diversity agenda in Europe.

Outcomes of good practice in transition processes 24-05-2007

The second background paper funded by the foundation for UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007, Outcomes of good practice in transition processes for children entering primary school, is now available as a Working Paper. Hilary Fabian and Aline-Wendy Dunlop assess the literature about good practices in transitions to primary school, and draw lessons about ways of forging links between primary schools, children’s home environments and early childhood programmes.

Playground opens in Bedouin village 22-05-2007

The first community playground and educational centre of its kind has opened (pdf) in Hasham Zane, an unrecognised Bedouin village in Israel. Foundation partner NISPED is working to bring more such centres, which combine opportinities for play with childcare training for mothers, to Bedouin communities in the Negev desert.

Spanish ECE encyclopaedia online 22-05-2007

Asociación Mundial de Educadores Infantiles, a partner  of the foundation in Spain, has launched the first part of the online encyclopaedia (in Spanish) it is developing with foundation support. It will evolve into a comprehensive tool of information and training for early childhood educators.

"Mile for mothers" campaign gathers force 10-05-2007

This weekend sees several countries joining an awareness-raising campaign to march a "Mile for mothers", organised by the Union of Mother Centres in Slovakia. Read more (pdf) about how the campaign evolved from a world-record breaking pram-pushing event, with bulletins from Africa, Europe and the Americas.

TREE wins South African award 03-05-2007

South African partner organisation TREE has won the first national Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Development, awarded by ABSA Bank, the Sowetan Newspaper and the South Africa Congress for Early Childhood Development. Read more in TREE's press release (pdf).

Moroccan princess supports childhood call 18-04-2007

Read here (pdf) the text of a speech given by Her Highness Lalla Meryam, sister of the King of Morocco, to the UNESCO director general and goodwill ambassadors in Paris earlier this month. President of Morocco's Observatoire National des Droits de l'Enfant, Her Highness had participated in the Moroccan press launch of UNESCO's Education for All Global Monitoring Report in November 2006, which was co-organised by the foundation, UNESCO, UNICEF and our Moroccan partner ATFALE. In the speech, Her Highness supports the suggestion, arising from this event, that 2007 should be seen as the year of Early Childhood Education.

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