Early Care & Education Recognition

Online Application

Thank you for your interest in applying for the Florida’s HEROs Early Care and Education Recognition. Any Florida licensed/registered early care and education (ECE) program is eligible to apply for this recognition including centers, family childcare homes, and early head start/head start programs. ECE programs with multiple sites may apply and must provide a signed affidavit and completed program information sheet for each ECE program. To qualify, the recognition application must be completed in its entirety and all supporting documentation must uploaded for the best practice the ECE is applying for.

Before you begin your application:

  • Engage key teachers and staff members who are familiar with day-to-day practices to help complete the application.
  • Gather staff manuals, parent handbooks, and other documents that state your policies and guidelines with information about physical activity, screen time, food, beverages, breastfeeding and professional development.
  • Gather all staff training certificates related to physical activity, screen time, food, beverages, and breastfeeding (within the past 12 months).
  • Gather all parent education and engagement handouts, newsletters and e-blast distributed that focused on physical activity, screen time, food, beverages, and breastfeeding (within the past 12 months).
  • Gather assessments and action plans (within the past 12 months).
  • Take pictures of indoor and outdoor child care environment, indoor and outdoor play equipment and learning materials and posters focused on physical activity, food, beverages, or breastfeeding.

Prerequisites:

  • FL HEROs Pledge (Affidavit) signed by program director
  • Director and staff (as applicable) have completed approved training
  • Director or appointed staff has completed Pre-/Post- Assessment and developed an Action Plan with assistance of an approved technical assistance provider

Bronze Requirements:

  • Director has completed approved 12-hour in-person session training
  • 25% of best practices implemented in each Benchmark Area

Silver Requirements:

  • Director has completed approved 12-hour in-person session training
  • All lead teachers have completed ABC’s of a Healthy Me training session 1
  • 50% of best practices implemented in each Benchmark Area

Gold Requirements:

  • Director has completed approved 12-hour in-person session training
  • All lead teachers have completed ABC’s of a Healthy Me training sessions 1-6
  • 75% or more of best practices implemented in each Benchmark Area

Program Information
















Family HomeLarge Family HomeCenterEarly Head Start / Head StartVPKOther (please specify)




0 through 11 months12 months through 3 years4 years through 5 years




Prerequisites






Florida's HEROs Best Practice Benchmarks

Please upload as one of the following: PDF, JPG, PNG, or compressed file

Healthy Foods


Our program educates families 2x per year on healthy food topics


Our program serves meals family dining style

Pre-school children choose and serve most or all food themselves

Teachers always role model eating healthy foods served at meal and snack times

Our program has a collection of posters, books and other learning materials that promote healthy foods


Our program serves fruits 2 times per day (Half-day: 1 times per day)

Our program serves vegetables 2 times per day or more (Half-day: 1 times per day or more)

Our program serves dark green, orange, red, or deep yellow vegetables 1 times per day or more

Our program serves lean or low-fat meats or meat alternatives every time we serve meat or meat alternatives

Our program serves whole-grain foods 2 times per day or more (Half-day: 1 time per day or more)


Our program serves only fruit that is fresh, frozen or canned in 100% fruit juice

Vegetables are not cooked in or flavored with meat fat, margarine, or butter

Our program serves high-fat meats 1 time per week or never

Our program only serves baked and never fried potato, meats and/or fish (i.e. nuggets, fish sticks, french fries...etc.)

Our program does not serve candy

Teacher practices encourage healthy eating

Not offering food to calm children or encourage appropriate behavior

Planned and informal nutrition education for children

Professional development on child nutrition for staff

Education for families on child nutrition

Guidelines for foods offered during holidays and celebrations

Healthy Beverages


Our program educates families 2x per year on healthy beverage topics


Drinking water is available indoors for self-serve

Drinking water is available outdoors for self-serve


Our program serves children ages 1-3 no more than 4 oz of 100% juice with no added sugar a day and children ages 4-6 no more than 4-6 oz. of 100% juice with no added sugar a day

Only low-fat (1%) or nonfat (skim, fat-free) pasteurized milk are served to children 2 years and older


Our program does not serve juices to infants younger than 12 months

Our program does not serve flavored milk

Our program serves only 100% fruit juice with no added sugar

Our program does not serve sugar-sweetened beverages (i.e. Kool-Aid, fruit punch, Capri Sun)

Physical Activity


Our program educates families 2x per year on physical activity topics


Our program offers at least one of the following:

  • Space for all activities, including jumping, running, and rolling
  • Separate play areas for each age group
  • Areas that allow play for individuals, pairs, small groups, and large groups
  • Full access and accommodations for all children


Our program offers at least one of the following:

  • Jumping toys
  • Push-pull toys
  • Twirling toys
  • Throwing, catching, and striking toys
  • Balance toys
  • Crawling or tumbling equipment


Our program takes preschoolers outside 2-3 times per day

Our program offers 2 or more structured or caregiver/teacher/adult-led activities or games that promote movement over the course of the day everyday

Our program offers preschoolers 60-90 minutes of outdoor play everyday

Our program offers preschoolers 90-120 minutes for moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday


Our program takes toddlers outside 2-3 times per day

Our program offers 2 or more structured or caregiver/teacher/adult-led activities or games that promote movement over the course of the day everyday

Our program offers toddlers 60-90 minutes of outdoor play everyday

Our program offers toddlers 60-90 minutes for moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday


Our program takes infants outside 2-3 times per day

Our program offers 2 or more structured or caregiver/teacher/adult-led activities or games that promote movement over the course of the day everday

Our program offers non-crawling infants supervised tummy time when they are awake

Our program ensures infants spend no more than 15 minutes at a time in seats, swings, or ExerSaucers (outside of naps and meals)


Amount of time provided each day for indoor and outdoor physical activity

Limiting long periods of seated time for children

Shoes and clothes that allow children and teachers to actively participate in physical activity

Using practices that encourage physical activity

Not taking away physical activity time or removing children from long periods of physically active playtime in order to manage challenging behaviors

Planned and informal physical activity education

Professional development on children’s physical activity for staff

Education for families on children’s physical activity

Amount of outdoor playtime provided each day

Ensuring adequate total playtime on inclement weather days

Shoes and clothes that allow children and teachers to play outdoors in all seasons

Safe sun exposure for children, teachers, and staff

Not taking away outdoor playtime in order to manage challenging behaviors

Professional development on outdoor play and learning

Education for families on outdoor play and learning

Screen Time


Our program educates families 2x per year on screen time topics


Televisions are stored outside of classrooms and are not regularly available to children


When our program shows television or videos to children, this programming is always educational and commercial-free

Our program offers no more than 30 min./week of screen time per day for children 2 years and older


No screen time allowed for children under 2 years of age

For children 2 years of age and older, no more than 30 min. /week of screen time is allowed

Only educational and commercial-free programming is allowed

Appropriate supervision and use of screen time in classrooms

When our program offers screen time, teachers always talk with students about what they are seeing

Not using screen time as a reward or to manage challenging behavior

Professional development on screen time for staff

Education for families on screen time

Breastfeeding


Talking with families about the benefits of breastfeeding

Telling families about the ways our child care program supports breastfeeding

Telling families about community organizations that provide breastfeeding support

Giving families educational materials on breastfeeding

Showing positive attitudes about breastfeeding


Our program offers all of the following:

  • Private space other than a restroom for breastfeeding
  • An electrical outlet
  • Comfortable seating
  • Sink with running water in the room or nearby


Providing space for mothers to breastfeed or express breast milk

Providing refrigerator and/or freezer space to store expressed breast milk

Professional development on breastfeeding for staff

Educational materials for families on breastfeeding

Breastfeeding support for employees