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Brain Story Certification & Theory-to-Practice Sessions For ECEs

Early childhood educators (ECEs) are essential to delivering high-quality early learning and child care. They need to be well-educated, supported, and remunerated to enable them to undertake that work. Supporting ECEs to participate in ongoing professional learning leads to improved practice and better outcomes for children and their families.

With the support of the Government of Alberta and in partnership with the Palix Foundation, the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta (AECEA) is excited to provide ECEs with an opportunity for continued professional learning on the scientific underpinnings of early brain development and the important role ECEs play in brain development in the early years. The professional learning will be free to take and ECEs will be reimbursed for their time spent learning. 

This reimbursement is NOT LINKED to the Release Time Grant offered by Children and Family Services. The hours for this professional learning opportunity DO NOT count towards the Release Time Funding grant from Children and Family Services.

Step 1 - Brain Story Certification

Complete the 20-hour Brain Story Certification. This is a free, online course offered through Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

What You'll Learn

Lifelong health is determined by more than just our genes: experiences at sensitive periods of development change the brain in ways that increase or decrease risk for later physical and mental illness, including addiction. That finding is the premise of the Brain Story, which puts scientific concepts into a narrative that is salient to both expert and non-expert audiences. The Brain Story synthesizes decades of research and reflects a body of knowledge that experts agree is useful for policy-makers and citizens to understand.

The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) has developed an online course to make Brain Story science available to professionals and the public. Brain Story Certification is designed for those seeking a deeper understanding of brain development and its consequences for lifelong health. The course is also designed for professionals seeking certification in a wide range of fields.

Enroll Now

Step 2 - Brain Story Reimbursement

With the Brain Story certificate of completion, ECEs can apply to be reimbursed for the 20 hours of course time. 

NOTE: Hours DO NOT count towards the hours of the Release Time Funding grant from Children and Family Services; reimbursement comes from AECEA, not from Children and Family Services.

Apply Now

Step 3 - Theory-to-Practice Sessions

After completing the Brain Story Certification, ECEs can register to participate in sessions facilitated by our partner organization, the Alberta Resource Centre for Quality Enhancement designed specifically for ECEs to connect the theory and ideas presented in the Brain Story to their daily practice, interactions, and relationships with children and families. Upon completing the sessions, ECEs will be reimbursed for 10 hours of time. ECEs will be able to:

  • appreciate the role they have on children’s brain development and the importance of brain development in the early years,
  • integrate their new learning into daily practice with increased knowledge, skill, and confidence in their ability to articulate and put into practice the key concepts of brain science as it relates to their daily interactions with young children, and
  • recognize alignments between concepts from the Brain Story and concepts of Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework and inclusive child care practices.

These sessions will be delivered in person and online and will take a variety of formats to meet the needs of ECEs across the province. Upon completion of the sessions, ECEs will be reimbursed for 10 hours of learning time. 

NOTE: Hours DO NOT count towards the Release Time Funding grant from Children and Family Services; reimbursement comes from AECEA, not from Children and Family Services.

More Information

 

Brain Story Reimbursement FAQ

For all other inquiries please contact us via email at brainstory@aecea.ca. AECEA staff will do their best to respond as soon as possible.

Is this reimbursement linked to the Release Time Grant offered by Children and Family Services?

No, this reimbursement is NOT LINKED to the Release Time Grant offered by Children and Family Services. The hours DO NOT count towards the hours of the Release Time Funding grant, and reimbursement will come from AECEA, not from Children and Family Services.

Am I eligible to receive funding for the Brain Story certification course time?

If you work for a licensed and approved program and have successfully completed this course between February 25, 2022 and March 31, 2024, you are eligible to receive funding for the 20-hour course time. These hours do not count towards the hours for the Release Time Funding grant, so you are still eligible to receive funding. 

How do I get reimbursed for the 20-hour Brain Story Certification course?

If you have successfully completed the Brain Story Certification course after February 25th, 2022, you can fill out the form here. Once you have completed and submitted this form, AECEA will review your application. When approved, AECEA will send this reimbursement to your program who will then distribute the funds to you. An electronic funds transfer (EFT) form will need to be submitted in the name of the organization.

I took the Brain Story Certification course a while ago and want to refresh my knowledge of this before participating in the Theory-to-Practice sessions; how do I access these modules?

All individuals who have previously completed the Brain Story Certification course can go back to the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative website and login to review the content. If you do not have this log-in information, please contact the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative directly to regain access. 

My application for reimbursement for the Brain Story Certification course was denied – why?

When filling out this form, you must upload your certificate of completion that shows a date of completion anytime between February 25, 2022 and March 31, 2024. If you have completed this certification outside of this timeframe you are not eligible to receive this funding but are welcome to participate in Part 2: Theory-to-Practice sessions
Note, you must hold an early childhood educator certificate (Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3) and be employed at a licensed and approved program to be eligible for funding. 

Is the Brain Story reimbursement taxable income?

Yes, the reimbursement you receive for completing the Brain Story course ($17.50 x 20 hours) is taxable income as it is considered wages. AECEA sends the amount to your program and it should be paid through your payroll. 

Brain Story Theory-to-Practice FAQ

For all other inquiries please contact us via email at brainstory@aecea.ca. AECEA staff will do their best to respond as soon as possible.

Is this reimbursement linked to the Release Time Grant offered by Children and Family Services?

No, this reimbursement is NOT LINKED to the Release Time Grant offered by Children and Family Services. The hours DO NOT count towards the hours of the Release Time Funding grant, and reimbursement will come from AECEA, not from Children and Family Services.

Am I eligible to receive funding for the 10-hour learning time for the Theory-to-Practice sessions?

You are eligible to receive funding for the 10-hour learning time if you have previously completed the Brain Story Certification, completed all 5 sessions of the Theory-to-Practice Series (10 hours) and you work for a licensed and approved program. The 10 hours do not count towards the hours for the Release Time Funding Grant offered by Children and Family Services, so you are still eligible to receive funding. 

Do I have to take the Brain Story 20-hour certification course before the Theory-to-Practice portion?

Yes, you must show proof of the Brain Story Certification before registering for the Theory-to-Practice Series. 

Is there an option to take the Theory-to-Practice Series in-person?

Yes. Theory-to-Practice Series are offered both virtually through Zoom and can be scheduled in person. However, at this time, in-person sessions must have a minimum of 12 participants in the same region. Because of this requirement, AECEA will continue to gauge interest for an in-person session based on the region and schedule accordingly only when a certain number is reached. All pre-scheduled Theory-to-Practice Series (online and in-person options) are located here

I am supervisor/director of a licensed early learning facility and want my staff to complete the Theory-to-Practice sessions– what are my next steps?

If a licensed and approved facility wants to plan an in-person or virtual PD-Day session around the Theory-to-Practice training, supervisors/directors will need to contact us at brainstory@aecea.ca. The program coordinator will then reach out to you regarding next steps. It is important to note that trainings need a minimum number of ECE’s present to schedule a series: 12+ for an in-person series and 8+ for virtual. All ECE’s who participate must show proof of the Brain Story Course certificate of completion. 

I have successfully registered for the Theory-to-Practice Series– now what?

After you have registered for your section, either online or in-person, you will receive a package in the mail prior to your session start date. Your facilitator will then send an introduction email one week prior to the start date outlining next steps. If your sessions are online, the email will include a link to your zoom session and information on how to sign-up for the Brain Architecture online game. If your session is in-person, details on the location of the session will be emailed once the site is confirmed. 

What if I miss a session for the Theory-to-Practice portion?

To receive a certificate of completion you must be present for all 5 consecutive sessions in the Theory-to-Practice portion. Facilitators will take attendance during each session. Thus, AECEA encourages ECEs to register in a section that best fits their needs and availability. If you miss a session, please contact our program coordinator at brainstory@aecea.ca, however, you may have to re-register in a different section at a later date.  

Do I have to take the Theory-to-Practice sessions in order?

Yes, to successfully complete this certification you must complete the sessions in order and as they appear on registration. Each session is designed to build on discussions, experiences and learning from the previous session. 

I have not received my package in the mail yet – what should I do?

If you have not received your package within 3 days of your start date, please contact us via email at brainstory@aecea.ca. To reduce the number of emails, only reach-out if you have not received your package within the defined timeframe. 

I have not received an email from my facilitator for next steps after registration – what should I do?

Please note that your facilitator will only send an email approximately one week prior to your session start date. If you have still not received an email within 3 days of your start date, please email us at brainstory@aecea.ca. To reduce the number of emails, only reach-out if you have not received communication within the defined timeframe.

How do I sign up for the brain architecture online game?

If you are registered for a virtual section (this does not apply to those in-person sessions) you will receive an email from your facilitator one-week prior to your start date. In this email your facilitator will provide you with a link and directions on how to set-up an account. This account must be set-up prior to your start date. 

I have completed all 5 sessions of Theory-to-Practice, when will I receive my certificate of completion?

AECEA will review participant attendance and once you have completed all 5 sessions, you should receive a link to access your certificate within 6-8 weeks. If you have not received this link for the certificate within 8-10 weeks of completing your last Theory-to-Practice session, contact AECEA at brainstory@aecea.ca.

Brain Story Theory-to-Practice Reimbursement FAQ

For all other inquiries please contact us via email at brainstory@aecea.ca. AECEA staff will do their best to respond as soon as possible.

I have completed all 5 sessions of Theory-to-Practice, when will I receive my certificate of completion?

AECEA will review participant attendance and once you have completed all 5 sessions, you should receive a link to access your certificate within 6-8 weeks. If you have not received this link for the certificate within 8-10 weeks of completing your last Theory-to-Practice session, contact AECEA at brainstory@aecea.ca.

I have completed all 5 sessions of Theory-to-Practice and have my certificate of completion - how do I apply for reimbursement of these 10-hours?

Once you have completed all 5 sessions and the required feedback form, you will receive a certificate of completion and you will automatically be processed to receive release time funding for your attendance in these sessions - no further action on your end will be needed unless we specifically reach out. AECEA will send this reimbursement to your program or agency who will then distribute the funds to you.  Please allow us 2-4 weeks to process these payments.

My application for reimbursement was denied for the Theory-to-Practice Sessions – why?

When filling out this form for reimbursement, you must upload your certificate of completion and ensure all fields are filled appropriately. Note, you must hold an early childhood educator certificate (Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3) and be employed at a licensed and approved program to be eligible for funding. 

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