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

Kies nu voor Kinderen on Dutch radio 16-09-2013

Improving the quality and access to early learning for all children in the Netherlands provides the community a benefit of € 5 million per year. Extending paid parental leave to three months is included in these figures. This emerges from a social cost-benefit analysis of the program 'Kies nu voor Kinderen’ (‘Now choose for Children') by SEO Economic Research.

For more information on the program, listen to this radio clip from BNR Nieuwsradio (in Dutch).

The winners of the 2013 Patrice L. Engle Dissertation Grant 10-09-2013

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) announces winners of the 2013 Patrice L. Engle Dissertation Grant for Global Early Child Development

The Patrice L. Engle Dissertation Grant provides support for students interested in a career in global early child development who are from or doing research in low- or middle-income countries. The Grant includes US $5,000 to support dissertation research and a 2-year student membership to SRCD. The grant was created in honor and memory of Patrice L. Engle, Ph.D. (1944-2012), a pioneer and leader in global early child development.

The 2013 winners are Eva Diniz Bensaja dei Schirò for research in Brazil and Nardos Tesfay for research in Ethiopia. Congratulations to both!

SRCD is now accepting applications for next year’s awards. Applications are due April 30, 2014. See for information and application procedures.

Bernard van Leer Foundation at conference in Panama 28-08-2013

Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Programme Director Michael Feigelson spoke at a conference in Panama on Thursday August 22nd on the subject: 'From evidence to action: policy options for preventing violence in early childhood'. Read the highlights of his talk here (in Spanish):

Vacancy: Professor by special appointment in Child Development - Universiteit van Amsterdam 27-08-2013

The University of Amsterdam intends to recruit a candidate for the position of: Professor by special appointment in Child Development, in particular the role and developmental significance of fatherhood.

One of the main tasks of the professor by special appointment will be to conduct academic research focusing on the unique contribution to parenting that fathers make in the social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural development of children and adolescents.

The five-year appointment (0.2 FTE) will be with the Father Knowledge Centre (Vader Kennis Centrum). It will be based in the Child Development and Education department (programme group Childhood education and Family Support) of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

This special appointment is made possible with support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The deadline for applications is September 13th 2013. For more information, please click here.

End violence against children: "With Tenderness we Win" 14-08-2013

On Sunday August 11th over ten thousand people gathered in Lima, Peru to show their support to end violence against children and the campaign 'A Hug for Children'.

Watch the video from our partners INFANT of the declaration "With Tenderness we Win":

Make the Invisible Visible: UNICEF urges louder voices and urgent action to fight violence against children 31-07-2013

Violence against children is all too often unseen, unheard and underreported, said UNICEF today, announcing an initiative that urges ordinary citizens, lawmakers and governments to speak out more forcefully to fight violence against children.

“In every country, in every culture, there is violence against children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Whenever and wherever children are harmed, our outrage and anger must be seen and heard. We must make the invisible visible.”

This is the underlying message as UNICEF launches the End Violence Against Children initiative, which urges people around the world to recognize violence against children, join global, national or local movements to end it and bring together new ideas to focus collective action on this goal. 

The initiative is unveiled with a powerful video narrated by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson, who leads the viewer through a series of scenes depicting invisible violence. “Just because you can’t see violence against children doesn’t mean it isn’t there,” Neeson says. “Make the invisible visible. Help us make violence against children disappear. Join us. Speak out.”

Watch the video:

Please go to the website and sign up to join the campaign.

'All Eyes Are on the United States', Lisa Jordan's New Blog for The Huffington Post 29-07-2013

Read Lisa Jordan's new blog for The Huffington Post.

Will we or will we not invest in our youngest citizens?

In February, President Obama announced his landmark Early Learning Initiative that would provide high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds, invest in high-quality infant and toddler early learning and development, and expand effective parent and family supports. Shortly thereafter, a new set of federal regulations were proposed which will go a long way to better address the quality of early learning experiences for all children, particularly around health and safety issues. Read More...

Investing in young children globally 26-07-2013

Why are leading scientists interested in investing in young children globally? In a new four-minute video from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, international experts in education, nutrition, psychology, health, and economics explain what we know about child development, and why it is critical to make integrated investments in young children throughout the world. 


This video is the product of a planning meeting held in March 2013 to explore the need for a new Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally at the Institute of Medicine. At the meeting, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners examined the global research on the period from birth to age eight as a critical time in shaping children’s developmental trajectories. They discussed the state of the research, as well as challenges and opportunities for translating research into programs and policies. Due to clear interest in establishing this forum, efforts are underway to identify members and launch the forum before the end of 2013.

For further information, visit the websites of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families: and

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