What have our 50 years of experience in Early Childhood taught us about scaling?

Published August 14, 2020 – by Irina Ivan

The Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) has kept its focus on early childhood for more than 50 years. Since 1965, we have been working with and through partners in civil society, government, academia, and business to develop and spread solutions that can be adapted and deployed worldwide and which address multiple problems facing young children. While we have shifted our focus within this field over the course of this period – and we have gradually started to work with more partners in government – the longevity of our sectoral focus has enabled us to learn a lot about what is necessary to go from promising small-scale pilots towards models and policies that can be scaled up to the national level or beyond.

We believe that a good start in life puts each child on the path to realising her or his full potential and sets the foundation for a healthy, creative, and peaceful society. Collaboration across fields such as neuroscience, public health, education, and economics has resulted in the establishment of a firm fact – that when babies and toddlers have stable, responsive caregivers in safe, supportive environments, they can flourish even in the most difficult circumstances. Governments and other actors must therefore not only aim for universal policies and programmes catering to all children but also ensure that the policies and programmes focus on the most disadvantaged. In other words, we must work to level the playing field.

Read the full blog written for the Scaling up Community of Practice Newsletter by BvLF’s Irina Ivan and Cecilia Vaca Jones.