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Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network

place Chile

Promoting professional development of early-childhood educators and leaders through collaborative work among public schools

In order to improve the quality of early childhood education, the role of teachers and leadership teams is crucial. Therefore, Fundacion Educacional Oportunidad has implemented an Improvement Network within the framework of the Un Buen Comienzo Program (A Good Start), promoting professional development through collaborative work among public schools in Chile.

HundrED 2023


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2023

Web presence






October 2022
This is the only Professional Network in Chile that has a specific focus on Early Childhood Education. This means that we count with hundreds of people committed to a better future for our children

About the innovation

¿What does it mean to be a part of an Improvement Network?

We are Fundación Educacional Oportunidad, a Chilean NGO with 16 years of experience improving the quality of pedagogical and leadership practices in Early Childhood Education with a focus on language and socioemotional development through our program Un Buen Comienzo, which means "A good start".

What is the Un Buen Comienzo (UBC) Program?

The UBC model is based on three focal points that ensure children’s learning. The first one is to maximize the amount of time in which teachers are directly involved with children, teaching and developing their language skills. The second one is to foster effective interactions in the classroom. Last but not least, we work to ensure that children don’t miss any learning opportunities by promoting school attendance.

In order to do so, the UBC program focuses on providing professional development to teachers, aides and school leaders in everyday strategies that go from the visit from a “super attendance heroine” that motivates children to go to class, to implementing the steps needed to create meaningful learning experiences when reading a book out loud.

The Problem: Sustainability

By measuring the quality of teachers' pedagogical practices and children’s outcomes we know that the UBC program works, but how do we ensure that these practices continue after we leave schools? This is a problem for many intervention programs: the strategies and skills learned by school teams might disappear when the support of the external institution is not as strong.

Addressing this issue is important if we want to achieve significant and durable changes in the educational system. Local stakeholders must become protagonists, being able to develop capacities and become gradually responsible to generate and maintain improvements in their teaching and learning processes.

This challenge motivated us in 2018 to create a Improvement Network with over 60 schools that successfully completed the UBC program with the goal of sustaining the learned capacities, and also, to go beyond by continually sharing experiences, developing new ideas and improving collectively.

How Does the Improvement Network Work?

Our Improvement Network is based on four main lines of action:

  • Coaching sessions with school leaders are meetings in which we train school leaders to observe and provide feedback to teachers regarding the use of UBC strategies. In these meetings we want to empower leaders in pedagogical leadership, a key element to sustainability.
  • District meetings are instances in which school leaders, within a territorial district, meet to reflect and discuss the topics of Instructional Time, Attendance, Effective Interactions and/or Language Development, especially by analyzing the data obtained from the evaluation of each strategy.
  • Visits among Schools are meetings in which educational teams visit other schools to observe and learn how they are implementing their initiatives, discussing how these practices could benefit their work and be adapted to their own contexts
  • Learning Sessions are large-scale collaborative work meetings where all the members of the Network including teachers, aides and leaders from the different schools and districts get together and share results and lessons learned from the application of the strategies, discuss challenges and insights, and support each other in planning new interventions.

In our Learning Sessions you can find members from one school sharing with another what they have learned over the years, helping each other to define short- and long-term goals, supporting each other as they stride towards one common and clear goal: improving early learning experiences so that every child can build a bright future.

By doing this, we know that working as a Network is not more of the same: it is a different and updated paradigm where we recognize that innovation is not possible in isolated classrooms, that learning from each other is the foundation of improvement, and that motivation and excitement about what we do is highly contagious.

Study:  "Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network: a collaborative path to strengthen early childhood education in Chile"

In their study "Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network: a collaborative path to strengthen early childhood education in Chile", authors Mauricio Pino Yancovic and Juan Pablo Valenzuela analyze the Un Buen Comienzo Network in order to deeply understand how it works and the effects it has on the schools and the school leaders, teachers, and educational professionals that benefit from it.

They defined some key learnings from the UBC Network that might help strengthen educational networks in Chile:

1. Collaboration: The definition and implementation of a clear and shared methodology is essential to generate and strengthen collaborative processes.

2. Professional Capital: The formation of community improvement teams, within the methodological and conceptual framework of continuous improvement, allows strengthening the professional capital of lidership and educational teams.

3. Depth: The knowledge produced and discussed on the network is shared and analyzed in schools, incorporating it into their school culture. With this, what happens in the network meetings has an impact on the learning and well-being of students.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews
The project is highly scalable as it harnesses the power of collaboration, conceptual learning, and in-depth knowledge.
By targeting all school stakeholders with training and collaborative support, this innovation is having a significant impact on children's engagement with school learning and attendance to school.
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process


School attendance: one the main challenges of the UBC improvement network
After 18 months of remote classes, the network has strongly promoted the return to face to face classes. With 100% of schools open, student attendance has become one of the main challenges, given that virtually widens the gaps in development and learning, affecting the most vulnerable students in Chile.
Our 2021 Annual Report in English
What challenging year... but we were able to adapt, be creative and learn a lot. We are very proud to present our 2021 annual report in which we share our accomplishments, challenges and reflections.Download the report here!
Our Nertwork also learns online!
After the pandemic, we have adapted some of our courses into virtual courses through the platform Moodle. This way, we can provide content online, help the students with their questions, and give some follow-up on their learning. These are two-week courses that teachers are able to develop at their own pace, and we close each set of courses (e.g., language courses) with an in-person session to reflect on what they have learned and clarify any doubts. 
6 innovations during COVID times
In this document we gather 6 innovations that were developed by schools that belong to the UBC improvement network in their constant effort to adapt, create and deliver the best education possibilities for their students during the pandemic. Check it out here.
E-learning platform for teachers
Our foundation focuses in Early Childhood educators’ and leaders' professional development. We want to share what we know and make it accessible, especially in times when on site training is not possible. This is why we developed a free e-learning platform with teaching strategies and resources for vocabulary development, phonological awareness, emergent writing, sciences, math and much more.So far more than 7,000 users have signed up!Check it out here.
Educational resources for parents
During the pandemic we developed several educational resources for parents. This includes digital books with activities, educational games to develop math, sciences and language among others (both in Spanish and Haitian Creole). Teachers can use these resources to engage with the parents and collaborate in their children education. Check the page out here.
Animated series: Lets Play! With Mario and Ela
Due to the health contingency, we realized that the relationship between schools and families was becoming increasingly complex, mainly due to the lack of connectivity and availability of technological equipment at home. But not so with television. So, we decided to convert and adapt some of our pedagogical resources to an animated series, which offers an opportunity not only to reach children in a new way, but also to give them some autonomy in this learning process. Through short episodes, available on open national tv and on youtube, Mario and Ela play around with language and sounds to help children develop phonological awareness. Check out the episodes here.
"Together we are a good start for our children"
District meeting in action
15 schools gathered for their monthly district meeting, in which they share practical pedagogical strategies and learning results. In this particular one, each school received a complete set of materials and a pendrive with UBC content, including digital story books, an alphabet sign for the classroomroom and for each child and a wonderful magnetized assistance panel!
International Seminar on Educational Networks
Jordi Longás, Doctor of pedagogy from Barcelona and specialized researcher in the creation of collaborative spaces between schools and the community, visited us to give a talk and share experiences with about 100 participants of the Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network. 
Carnegie Spotlight: Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network
We are proud! We were once again recognized by Carnegie Foundation thanks to our experience in the use of Continuous Improvement and Networking in public schools in Chile. We were the only organization outside the US to receive the "Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement" category. In this video you can watch the 2018 presentation of our Executive Director Marcela Marzolo.  
First Learning Session 2019
Leaders, educators and aides from over 60 Public schools met to participate in the first Learning Session of the year. The event brought together about 300 members of the Network who had the opportunity to share their last year's results, present and socialize their improvement plans and share successful experiences.In order to distinguish this committed work teams, Fundacion Educacional Oportunidad gave each school a plaque that will be the seal that identifies them as experts in Continuous Improvement in Early Childhood Education.

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