Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation
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...
By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 14 November 2013
The Dutch are very proud that, according to UNICEF’s research, children here are the happiest in the world. But averages hide extremes. Sadly, in the Netherlands, neglect and abuse are on the rise. The University of Leiden found in 2011 that one in 30 Dutch children suffer abuse.
Privacy is held dear in the Netherlands. Interfering in family life is frowned upon, and violence in children’s lives is almost a taboo discussion. So how could we, as a small foundation, try to prevent violence in children’s lives when an entire society appears unwilling to have the conversation? Read more...
By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 1 October 2013
If you observe young children you can see they are little scientists, exploring the world and trying out different things, breaking things and putting them back together. Or, at least, trying to – it turns out that an iPhone is tricky. Read more...
By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 1 October 2013
While attending ReadyNation’s 2013 National Business Leader Summit in Atlanta, at which senior business people voiced their support for more investment in the young children of the United States, I realised that there are essentially five reasons I hear from business leaders to explain why they have decided to invest in young children. Read more...
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...
By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 8 May 2013
Born in Poland, living in England, Sarah was six years old when she went on holiday to France with her mother and her mother’s new boyfriend. The police stopped their car for a routine traffic violation. The boyfriend fled. Sarah’s mother stayed with Sarah in the car. Drugs were found.
The police took Sarah’s mother away; she is now serving a multiyear sentence in a French prison. Sarah, who didn’t speak any French, was placed with a French foster family. It is hard to imagine what a trauma it must have been for her: one moment enjoying the excitement of a holiday, the next moment watching as her mother was led away by men whose words she couldn’t understand. She didn’t see her mother again for months.
Sarah is one of an estimated 800,000 children of prisoners growing up in Europe today. She committed no crime, yet she is surely serving a sentence. Read more
Speech given by Lisa Jordan – Executive Director Bernard van Leer Foundation – on April 16th 2013 in Brazil at the opening of The First International Seminar of the Parliamentary Front for Early Childhood on Building a Legal Framework for Public Policies on Early Childhood.
Read the entire speech we have posted on our blog.
By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 28 March 2013
Today the journal of Child Development releases a new study on public preschool in the United States. Christina Weiland and Hirokazu Yoshikawa are the latest in a powerful scientific line-up to help make the investment case for young children.
What makes this study different from other studies that demonstrate the impact of preschool on children’s capacity to learn is that Christina and Hiro examined a scaled programme. As they note, “how to maintain impacts at scale is an open question in the field.”
This tricky question has bedevilled programmes across the world. Read more
By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 6 February 2013
Since we completed our programme strategies in 2010/2011 the issue of tracking our impact has been at the top of our minds at the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The program team has developed key impact indicators from over 80 baseline research studies. These key impact indicators will allow us to track our progress over the next few years. In conjunction with Bertelsmann Foundation, the European Foundation Center and others BvLF is designing a new capacity building workshop for the European foundation sector on moving from good to great philanthropic practice. The Good to Great workshop will take place in June in Copenhagen at the European Foundation Center’s General Assembly meeting. The communications team is producing our annual report for 2012, the first since we adopted our new goals in which we can report preliminary results on creating greater opportunities for learning and growing in healthy and safe spaces. Read more
By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 5 October 2012
I sometimes feel you can learn the most about the world by talking to cab drivers. At least they seem to be the ones on my travels that cut to the core of issues. On my last trip a cab driver said to me, 'I should not be driving a cab in New York City.' He is right. He is from the Niger Delta in Nigeria. And he drives a cab because at home in the Delta there is nothing but gas flares, polluted water and war, fuelled by oil deposits. Basically, no future for him or his children. He blames his government, but oil is poison no matter where it is found. I suspect if he went to Louisiana he would find it just like home. Read more