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synthesise, compare, and draw conclusions from the breadth of its experience and explorations. In the third circuit, the Foundation engages in dialogue, facilitates the sharing of knowledge, acts as an advocate on behalf of young children and their families – and, at the same time, acquires information that strengthens its own work. The Strategic Plan 2002-2006 is designed to strengthen each of these roles through activities identified within what we call our ‘learning agendas’ – our plans for delineating what we need to learn, and the activities that will allow us to enhance the creation and utilisation of knowledge in . The point is to facilitate understanding of appropriate ways to support  programmes, guide our work with our partner organisations to generate information on issues that affect them, inform our grantmaking decisions, and provide the wider  world and international community with relevant information on the process and impact of  programmes. To achieve this requires the definition of common learning agendas with partners, within the Foundation itself, with peer organisations and with others whom we wish to influence.

These convictions are validated by research and experience, and are part and parcel of how we work with our Mandate. They include: • that learning begins at birth; • that parents are the child’s first and best teachers; • that all cultures have important resources, practices and heritages to pass on to their children; and • that there is no single model of  provision that works in all settings. This doesn’t mean that we have stopped seeking further evidence to support these convictions, nor that we are blind to evidence to the contrary. Nonetheless, on issues where we have a high level of certainty, our grantmaking programme is likely to reflect this through testing in new contexts, replication, dissemination, and advocacy. Simultaneously we will be getting these, our firmest ideas and messages, out to the wider early childhood community (our third circuit).

As we approach this, we are conscious that the Foundation has a long tradition of funding different kinds of projects, from those that are based on solid research and experience to those that are experimental, innovative, and even embryonic in their conception. Because of this diversity, we have found it helpful to create a more conscious terminology that reflects the different degrees of certainty seen in our programme development, and that recognises the consequent need for different actions and strategies from us.

In contrast, other issues – how best to help beleaguered communities support the many children affected by ⁄, for example – see us working at the level of the hypothesis, the educated guess, the hunch. In other words, we are taking risks. These are cases where we, or our partner organisations, have partial evidence or a strong sense that action in a certain direction will produce positive results to help overcome important problems. At this level, our learning agendas will principally focus on learning with our partner organisations (our first circuit) and on learning internally (our second circuit). Here, the emphasis is on creating a stronger formulation of basic issues, questions, and hypotheses; and on learning and applying lessons.

On some issues, we are convinced of the validity and stability of our reasoning and experience.

Working thematically as well as geographically Over the last decade, most of our work has been

Bernard van Leer Foundation

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An n u a l R e p o r t

Annual Report 2001  

The Bernard van Leer Foundation's Annual Report for 2001. With reports on the Effectiveness Initiative, Tracer Studies, the Oscar van Leer A...

Annual Report 2001  

The Bernard van Leer Foundation's Annual Report for 2001. With reports on the Effectiveness Initiative, Tracer Studies, the Oscar van Leer A...