About Un Buen Comienzo (UBC)
The program is currently being implemented in public schools in the O’Higgins and Metropolitan regions of Chile.
It has been rigorously and systematically evaluated since its inception, with external evaluations seeking to measure impact, while internally tracking data that are used to make timely and informed decisions.
UBC improves children’s social-emotional and language development through the optimal use of instructional time, the quality of classroom interactions and the reduction of child absenteeism, based on evidence-based strategies.
UBC accounts for all the system’s stakeholders: early childhood educators and assistants (educational teams), technical managers (UTPs), principals and other members of the school leadership team, municipalities and families.
The program uses a Continuous Quality Improvement methodology based on collaboration and data use, with the purpose of allowing for systems learning, as well as accumulating and disseminating the practical knowledge necessary to improve teaching and learning processes.
How does it work?
The program is intensively implemented in each establishment for a period of two years, during which both the prekinder and kindergarten level educational teams, as well as the school leadership and municipal teams, participate in various instances that allow them to learn, share and reflect on their practices and results through collaborative processes.
Un Buen Comienzo promotes collaboration and networking, under a common goal for all schools: the improvement of young children’s learning and development.
After completing two years in the program, the graduated schools can voluntarily become part of the UBC Continuous Learning Network, which, in addition to its collaborative working method, focuses on sustainability as well as networking, in order to maintain the knowledge that has already been learned and to continue innovating for the improvement of early childhood education.
Key elements of the program:
• Instructional Time: The objective is to promote the effective use of the time dedicated to the generation of significant learning in children and seeks to increase active instruction times during which the adult is directly involved in learning tasks with children, through strategies such as reading aloud, discussions, conversations and projects, among others. The objective is to simultaneously reduce passive instruction and the time dedicated to classroom organization and management.
• Effective Interactions: UBC promotes quality interactions in the classroom, specifically within the domains that, according to the CLASS instrument, enhance children’s learning: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization and Pedagogical Support. Through training and classroom support, it seeks to strengthen the capacity of educational teams to observe their own practices and improve the quality of interactions, as well as the capacity of school leaders (UTPs) to observe and accompany their teams that focus on interactions.
• Attendance: Missing classes has a negative impact on children’s learning. The program provides educational and school leadership teams with strategies aimed at promoting class attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism, which in early childhood education amounts to missing 10% or more of school days in the year.
“Fundación Educacional Oportunidad proves that it is possible to have world-class early childhood education within vulnerable contexts in Chile. This type of education substantially improves all areas of child development and the Foundation has made a significant investment to insure continuous improvement”.
Director of CENTRE-UC at Universidad Católica.
Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network
A significant number of initiatives have been developed outside the schools during the last few years, linking internal improvements and innovations with other schools, in order to disseminate effective ideas and practices throughout the educational system.
These instances of collaboration are a channel for innovation for all those involved in the teaching and learning processes, because it urges them to become actively involved in improving their own practices.
The UBC Continuous Learning Improvement Network was established in 2018 with 13 municipalities, 60 schools and 77 classrooms in the Region of O’Higgins, and as of the present date, it has become a space that fosters the exchange and articulation of collaborative work between schools and municipalities of the VI Region, existing with the purpose of promoting the continuous development of teaching and management skills, in order to sustain academic improvements and effectiveness, impacting children’s learning at an early stage.