Early Care & Education Recognition

Online Application

Florida’s Healthy Environments for Reducing Obesity (HEROs) ECE Recognition is a voluntary recognition program. It is open to all early care and education programs that are licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Florida’s HEROs best practices come from the second edition of Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Program, which is the most recent set of national standards describing evidence-based best practices in nutrition, physical activity, and screen time for early care and education programs.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to attach supporting documents as applicable (please refer to the Benchmark Areas beginning on page six). Based on the level of recognition your program aims to achieve, training certificates dated within the last 12 months are required for the director and, if applicable, lead teachers.

We applaud you for taking this significant step towards formal recognition for implementing quality standards that support the healthy growth and development of the children you serve!  Your staff plays an important role in this process, so we encourage you to engage teacherand staff members who are familiar with day-to-day practices to help complete the application. This is also a great opportunity to engage parents and families to achieve sustainable healthy living practices for children.

If you need assistance along the way, please contact us at:

FloridasHEROs@gmail.com 

(561) 844-4220 x1600

    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