Learning Minds

2022 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes – 1001mots

France’s 1001mots early years education help recognized among top 10 finalists for CHF 600,000 ($614,000) Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes 2022.

  • 1001mots, headquartered in Paris, France, recognized for delivering language learning skills to disadvantaged children
  • Three Best Practice Prize recipients will be awarded CHF 200,000 ($208,000) each and announced on 30 September at a ceremony taking place in Zurich
  • All 10 finalists will convene for a co-creation event on 1 October, and are also eligible for follow-on funding of up to CHF 150,000

1001mots has been named a top 10 finalist for the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes 2022, a set of three awards each worth CHF 200,000 ($208,000) that honor outstanding achievement and practice in advancing quality education.

This Paris, France, based non-profit has set its sights on attacking the root cause of the 100,000 students in France leaving the education system with no diploma each year. Believing the root of the problem exists even before they enter school, 1001mots’ goal is to have fewer children entering school at age three with poor language abilities.

The three recipients of this year’s Best Practice Prizes will be announced at a ceremony in Zurich on 30 September 2022. For the first time, the 10 finalists will convene for a co-creation event, taking place on 1 October 2022. They will exchange knowledge and ideas on advancing learning, and will have the opportunity to partner with other shortlisted applicants to develop proposals for new projects. Two concepts will receive follow-on funding of up to CHF 150,000 ($156,000) each.

Awarded every other year, the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes recognize non-profits, businesses, and social ventures that are bringing forth innovative solutions to some of education’s biggest challenges.

Fabio Segura and Simon Sommer, co-CEOs of the Jacobs Foundation, said:

“We want to warmly congratulate 1001mots on becoming a top 10 finalist for the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes 2022. These prizes were created to showcase the groundbreaking work that businesses, social ventures, and non-profits all around the world are doing to ensure children have access to quality education. There is not a moment to lose. By bringing to light the evidence of what works we can use it to implement solutions that can be tailored to learners’ diverse individual needs.

“In the age of COVID, it is also important to share ideas and evidence of what works on the ground to help shift policy, particularly as education systems adapt to a new and unfamiliar terrain. That is why we are launching this new follow-on collaboration funding of up to CHF 150,000. We look forward to bringing together all 10 Best Practice Prize finalists for our co-creation event, and we can’t wait to see what inspiring concepts they come up with together.”

Florent de Bodman, co-founder and CEO of 1001mots, said:

“We are so thrilled to be recognized as a top 10 finalist for this prestigious award, particularly as it is based on such rigorous criteria. We would like to thank the Jacobs Foundation for shining a light on the important work that organizations around the world are doing to advance education, and we look forward to exchanging ideas with all the amazing 2022 Best Practice Prize finalists.

“We hope to use this incredible platform to share our learnings, and help even more young children in France and around the world develop their language skills, enabling them to thrive once they start school.”


1001mots knows students from disadvantaged backgrounds are five times more likely not to reach the minimum required level of reading compared to those from advantaged families, the environment to which a child is exposed before school playing an essential role. Cognitive sciences show that between one and three years old, a toddler’s brain experiences its most favorable time window for language learning. A lack of early exposure to language causes a poor command of oral language likely to turn into a lasting disadvantage for a child entering kindergarten, as scientific studies show that early oral language skills are key to later school achievements.

Research shows crucial language stimulation differences exist between families, some children entering kindergarten at age three able to master only 500 words, compared to those with 1,000 words who have grown up in more stimulating environments. 1001mots focuses on strongly reducing school failure in low-income territories in France, to prevent future youth unemployment – there are an estimated 765,000 children under the age of three in France living in low-income families. 1001mots aims to give to all children prior to kindergarten the first 1,000 words necessary to thrive at school.

To do this, it provides distance support to parents with children, from birth to three years, to shift parent-child interactions in a quantitative and a qualitative fashion. It combines an evidence-based approach of behavior change, rigorous scientific evaluation and product research and development methods to develop an impactful individualized program tailored for vulnerable families. It consists of one-semester cycles of support (renewable at parents’ request) featuring three text messages a week; one book mailed every two months adapted to the child’s age; and one phone call by a speech therapist every two months.

Over the last four years, 1001mots has achieved strong results in its target areas, including supporting 4,000 children in 2022, up from 1,500 in 2020. After the first semester, almost 70% of parents register for a second cycle of support, and 80% say the program has been useful. A first randomized-control trial showed a 20% improvement on reading frequency and a 20% improvement on parent-child verbal exchanges. A second randomized-control trial found a 70% improvement on stimulating interactions and a three-fold increase in reading frequency for families with younger children up to a year old. With its program tailored for vulnerable families, 1001mots aims to have a systemic impact on poverty in France by reaching 100,000 children in 2026.

If 1001mots is named a recipient of one of the Best Practice Prizes, it plans to invest the winning funds in accelerating the scaling-up its program, extending its duration to produce a strong and lasting benefit on the child’s language development, producing 80 new pedagogical modules by 2024, investing in digital tools and simplifying processes.

Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes

Applications for the Best Practice Prizes 2022 opened on 6 January and closed on 10 February 2022. Recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievement in advancing learning and education, and embrace variability in learning. Their projects should draw on scientific evidence, use a clear results framework, and must be sustainable, scalable, and financially viable. Finally, they must build on strong leadership and partner networks.

In memory of its founder, the entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs, who passed away in 2008, the Jacobs Foundation presents two awards every other year for exceptional achievements in research and practice in the field of child and youth development and learning. The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize rewards scientific work that is highly relevant to society, and the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes honor exceptional commitment and innovative solutions of institutions.