Program Name: Un Buen Comienzo
Grade Level of Students Participating
Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten (ages 4 and 5)
Number of Students Participating per Year
Year Organization Began
The organization began in 2006, and the project began in 2007.
Relationship to the public education system (work independently or work with)Un Buen Comienzo works with public schools in three regions of Chile by supporting school leaders and classroom teachers. Un Buen Comienzo also provides data that is useful for public policy such as the number of students with chronic absenteeism in pre-K and K level of public schools.
Relationship to the public education system
Un Buen Comienzo works with public schools in three regions of Chile by supporting school leaders and classroom teachers.Un Buen Comienzo also provides data that is useful for public policy such as the number of students with chronic absenteeism in pre-K and K level of public schools.
Organization’s Vision and Mission
Fundacion Educacional Oportunidad “aims to create and expand educational opportunities for children, particularly those in vulnerable situations.” Its vision is “to be leaders in educational innovation to improve the learning of children and school practices.”2
Brief Description of Program Activities
The Un Buen Comienzo (A Good Start) is a project that seeks to “improve the quality of early childhood education in Chile received by children living in a socially vulnerable situation through an integrated work in different areas.”3
It is a teacher professional development project that seeks to improve the quality of early childhood education by supporting schools to improve teaching practices of classroom teams, increasing the time dedicated to the promotion of language, creating a positive classroom climate, improving attendance and parental involvement in the education of their children.
The areas of focus (“intervention”) for the program are the following:
Language development: The main emphasis of the project "Un Buen Comienzo" is set in the area of language. Concrete strategies are delivered to educational teams, so that they can achieve the development of the key skills in children linked to the area of language (listening, vocabulary and emergent writing) to enhance future literacy skills. In addition, the effective use of instructional time for language is enhanced, in order to maximize children’s learning.
Socio-emotional development: “Un Buen Comienzo” seeks to accomplish an organized and stimulating classroom environment, thereby creating a conducive atmosphere for learning. It also seek to focus efforts on the promotion of self-regulation on children, which is directly involved with the ability to move from one activity to another with ease, paying attention to what they do and follow instructions, among other tasks, having a direct effect on the learning results.
Attendance: "Un Buen Comienzo" has addressed this challenge from several fronts, testing innovative ideas that could lead to improvements in attendance rates in the different realities of each school.
Family Involvement: "Un Buen Comienzo" promotes "Meetings with Families" experiences where through a direct parent/child work in the school context, parents are supported and oriented regarding the best way to support their children's learning. The sessions provide parents with a better understanding of the processes that take place in the child prior to the formal learning of reading and writing, in addition to issues related to socio-emotional development and attendance. At the same time, classroom teams are supported and accompanied so they can reorient parents meetings towards topics that support parents in the education of their children.
Management team’s leadership: “Un Buen Comienzo” expects the Management Team in his role as a curriculum manager, puts emphasis in at least two aspects: work in the classroom, through observation and feedback strategy to classroom teams, and management of moments of reflection among the school teachers, where pedagogical experiences are shared, in order to learn about other teachers’ practices.
Program Content: Intrapersonal Competencies
Self-regulation skills, self-efficacy
Program Content: Interpersonal Competencies
Collaboration, conflict resolution, listening, social participation
Program Content: Cognitive Competencies
Language and literacy skills, Attentional control, inhibitory control, working memory, cognitive flexibility, reasoning, problem solving, planning
Program Content: Attitudes and Values
Program Content: Pedagogy/Active Engagement of Students
Un Buen Comienzo works with a coaching model that is based on CLASS (classroom assessment scoring system), which is an observation tool developed to assess interactions between teachers and students4. Through this tool, Un Buen Comienzo promotes effective interactions between teachers and students and also between students and teachers in three main domains, i.e. pedagogical support, emotional support, and classroom organization, through ongoing feedback and learning loop.
Un Buen Comienzo focuses on fostering a secure, supportive base for students’ learning and exploration in addition to helping students develop language and cognitive skills (e.g. executive functions). Moreover, teachers focus on constructing environments and experiences that not only keeps students focused and actively engaged but also help students develop their language and cognitive abilities.
All professional development provided by Un Buen Comienzo is accompanied by intensive work with the leadership teams of each school.
The project entails collaborative work between participating schools and includes monthly coaching sessions to teachers, teachers’ assistants, leadership teams, and local school holders. The participants are guided by coaches from Fundacion Oportunidad (the organization) who observe, analyze, and reflect together with educational teams and directors to carry out the proposed strategies.
The organization takes a whole-school approach and works with each school over a two-year period. During the two years, participating schools engage in spaces that allow them to share, reflect, and give feedback on their experiences and outcomes in the classroom through a collaborative process. The schools learn from each other, recognize best practices, and adjust or eliminate practices that do not yield expected results from the collaborative process.
Un Buen Comienzo initially began as an experimental study designed and implemented jointly by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Fundacion Oportunidad.
1 Unless noted otherwise, all information provided on the table comes from the Un Buen Comienzo website and phone interview conducted with Marcela Morzolog Malagarriga, Executive Director, on June 10, 2016