Recognition & Technical Assistance

ECE Recognition Program

Florida’s HEROs ECE Recognition is a voluntary recognition program. It is open to all early care and education centers in Florida that are licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. This program recognizes ECE centers for integrating the following best practices:

ECE providers play a vital role in the development of our state’s children. The goal of the recognition is for Early Care and Education (ECE) providers to take proactive, voluntary steps to improve their program’s practices and policies related to encouraging healthy behaviors among the children and families they serve. Implementation of best practices in the ECE setting will pave the way for healthy lifestyle choices in youth, continuing into adulthood. Join ECE providers across Florida in the movement to integrate best practices focused on physical activity and nutrition into their programs.

Two children sitting on a step laughing and smiling

Application Requirements

  • The ECE must be a Florida licensed/registered early care and education (ECE) program. This includes those programs that are center-based (to include multi-site programs), family child care homes, and/or early head start/head start programs (to include grantees with multiple site locations).
  • The ECE program director must complete the required trainings outlined in the application.
  • The recognition application must be completed in its entirety and include supporting documentation such as photos or policies.

Recognition Program Incentives

Opportunities for CEUs

Kaplan Monetary Award

Marketing Materials

let's be heros
Technical Assistance

If you are child care program director or provider in Florida, we want to support you on your journey towards providing a healthier environment for the children and families you serve. We work with stakeholders across the state to provide free technical assistance and trainings that will prepare your program to apply for the recognition. Let’s Be HEROs technical assistance is optional and can be accessed by submitting an interest form using the link below. Once your interest form is submitted, you will be connected with one of the technical assistance consultants listed below. Our technical assistance consultants will help you assess which Florida’s HEROs best practices you are meeting and create action steps to improve best practices you do not meet through the Go Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (Go NAPSACC) website. Go NAPSACC is a set of easy-to-use online tools and an online library of helpful videos, activities, and flyers. 

The Let’s Be HEROs Technical Assistance Program encourages child care providers to engage with their local technical assistance consultant through calls or in-person visits and to use Go NAPSACC to create goals related to best practices in seven different focus areas: child nutrition, breast feeding and infant feeding, infant and child physical activity, outdoor play and learning, oral health, screen time, and farm to early care and education (ECE). 

Child care programs participating in the program receive free access to Go NAPSACC and the library of family engagement resources, professional development training videos, and self-assessment quizzes. There is no licensing or program size requirements to participate in the Let’s Be HEROs Technical Assistance Program.

Congratulations to the following child care programs who have completed steps in Go NAPSACC to achieve the Let’s Be HEROs Technical Assistance Program Award! 

Congratulations to the following child care programs who have completed steps in Go NAPSACC
to achieve the Let's Be HEROs Technical Assistance Program Award!

Let's Be HEROs Awardees

2023

Program

ABC Preschool and Daycare

Ark Angels Christian Preschool

Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center, Inc.

Building Blocks to Learning

Dawn’s Home Preschool

Kathy’s Home Daycare

Kid City USA Edgewater

Kid City USA Port Orange

KinderCare Beville Rd.

KinderCare Ormond Beach

Lincoln Marti 450

Le Jardin Community Center 1

Le Jardin Community Center 5A

Nature Coast Preschool & Therapy Center

Noel Family Childcare Educational Place

Plato’s Playgrounds 1

Plato’s Playgrounds 2

Sunshine Christian Academy

Trinity Christian Academy Preschool

 

 

County

Volusia

Citrus

Volusia

Pinellas

Pinellas

Pinellas

Volusia

Volusia

Volusia

Volusia

Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade

Citrus

Volusia

Volusia

Volusia

Manatee

Volusia

If you are interested in learning more about award requirements and how to receive $600 in Kaplan Early Learning Company credits redeemable online, please submit an interest form to be connected with your local technical assistance consultant or read the program information packet below.

Certified Go NAPSACC Technical Assistance Consultants

CountyNameEmailOrganization
AlachuaBreton K Homewood[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Kourtney Oliver[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Alachua County¬†
Baker ( R )Melody Coggin[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Baker
BayBeth Tucker[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Bay County
Patricia (Tricia) Pearce[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Bay County
Bradford ( R )Tracy Toms[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Union County
BrevardKiarabet Quintanakiarabet.quin[email protected]Florida Department of Health in¬† Brevard County
BrowardPeace Nwagbo[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Nickey Lewin[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Broward County
Caroline Bartha[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Broward County
Calhoun ( R )Tiffany R Sapp[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Calhoun and Liberty
CharlotteKaci Brooks-Lynch[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Charlotte
James Bolger Hemingway Jr[email protected]¬†Florida Department of Health in Charlotte
Kathleen Morales Perez[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
CitrusCarmen M Hernandez[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Citrus County¬†
Kathryn DeFranco[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Citrus County¬†
¬†Ekiuwa Daniels[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Clay County
Collier   
Columbia ( R )Wendy Bragdon[email protected]Florida Department of Health – Central Office, FL
DeSoto ( R )Heather Smith[email protected]Florida Department of Health in DeSoto
Dixie ( R )Breton K Homewood[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Duval   
Escambia   
FlaglerMicky Beuregard[email protected]Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties
Mary Kauffman[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Flagler County
Franklin ( R )Chelsea Marshall-Hirvela[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Gadsden ( R )Esther Rowan[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Gadsden County¬†¬†
Kellon Banks[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Gadsden County¬†¬†
Gilchrist ( R )Breton K Homewood[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Glades ( R )Andrea May[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades County
Gulf ( R )Chelsea Marshall-Hirvela[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Hamilton ( R )Wendy Bragdon[email protected]Florida Department of Health – Central Office, FL
Hardee ( R )   
Hendry ( R )Andrea May[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades County
HernandoAshley Thomas[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Hernando County
Alexis Fedrick[email protected]¬†Florida Department of Health in Hernando County
Highlands ( R )Pam Crain[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Highlands County
HillsboroughJennifer N Waskovich[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County
Joanna Morillo[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County¬†
Joshua Tait[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County
Mandy Chan[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County
Holmes ( R )Olivia Brock[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Washington/Holmes
Indian RiverMary Catherine ‘Molly’ Steinwald[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Indian River County
Jackson ( R )Katrice Davis[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Jackson County
Jefferson ( R )Chelsey McCoy[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Jefferson and Madison Counties
Lafayette ( R )Breton K Homewood[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Beverley Fountain[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Lafayette/Suwannee
Lake   
LeeKathleen Morales Perez[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Amanda Evans[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Health Lee County
LeonChelsea Marshall-Hirvela[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Leigh Miles[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Leon County¬†
Levy ( R )Breton K Homewood[email protected]University of Florida, IFAS Family Nutrition Program
Liberty ( R )Tiffany R Sapp[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Calhoun and Liberty
Madison ( R )Breton K Homewood[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Chelsey McCoy[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Jefferson and Madison Counties
ManateeAnastasia Peele[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Manatee County
Hillary Miller[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Paige Wesley[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Manatee County
MarionMelissa Marino[email protected]Florida Department of Health Marion County
MartinPatsy Lindo-Wood[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Health Martin County
Wanda Frazier[email protected]Florida Department of Health Martin County
Miami-DadeSolina Rulfs[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Monroe ( R )Jennifer Lefelar[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Monroe County
NassauLeslie Roberts[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Nassau County
Kenice Taylor[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Nassau
OkaloosaJasmine Selph[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County¬†
Petra Maddens[email protected]Florida Department of Health
Jennifer Wilhelm[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County¬†
Sydney Harper[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County¬†
Okeechobee ( R )   
OrangePatrick Zayas[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
OsceolaPatrick Zayas[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Zuleyka Trinidad[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Osceola County
Palm BeachMarie Estime[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County¬†
PascoTatiyana Badal[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Pasco
Hillary Miller[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
PinellasHillary Miller[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Samantha Staley[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County
PolkJessica Napoleon[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Polk County
PutnamCarol Kazounis[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Putnam County¬†
Eleanor Hoffman[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Putnam County
Santa RosaChelsea Marshall-Hirvela[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
SarasotaKathleen Morales Perez[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
SeminoleEthel Smith[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Seminole County
St. JohnsKristian Emamdie[email protected]Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County
Anna McDaniel[email protected]Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County
St. LucieJason Barela[email protected]Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County
SumterChloe Castrodad[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Sumter County
Suwanee ( R )Breton K Homewood[email protected]University of Florida, IFAS Family Nutrition Program
Beverley Fountain[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Lafayette/Suwannee
Taylor ( R )Chelsea Marshall-Hirvela[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Martine Young[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Taylor County
Union ( R )Tracy Toms[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Union County
VolusiaPatrick Zayas[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Jill Taufer[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Volusia County
Micky Beuregard[email protected]Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties
Wakulla ( R )Chelsea Marshall-Hirvela[email protected]University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program
Amanda West[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Wakulla County
Liz Neighbors[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Wakulla County
Walton ( R )Brandi Gill[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Walton
Washington ( R )Olivia Brock[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Washington/Holmes
Haylee Sapp[email protected]Florida Department of Health in Washington

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Any licensed early care and education center or family child care home program can apply for recognition.

Child care programs must complete all sections of the application to be eligible for an award. If the application requirement does not relate to their center, centers should indicate this by selecting the age groups they serve in the program information section of the application. Programs will not be scored based on sections that are not applicable to their site. For example, the breastfeeding benchmarks do not apply to programs that do not serve infants younger than age one.

The recognition is valid for two years. After two years, your program can re-apply to receive the full award* amount again. 

However, your program can submit additional documentation within two years to help you reach a higher award. You will receive an additional award amount of the difference between your initial award and your new award level. Please speak to your local technical assistance consultant for more information or email [email protected].

*All awards are based on funding availability.

The requirements for the FL HEROs recognition program are updated regularly to stay up-to-date with current industry best practices and guidance from the FL HEROs Stakeholder Committee. Therefore, recognition criteria may be revised prior to recertification.  To recertify, please submit the most up-to-date FL HEROs Application with supporting documentation from the past 12 months and associated staff training certificates.

There are a number of benefits to becoming recognized.

  • Implementing best practices helps create a healthier environment for the children your facility serves.
  • All centers that apply for the recognition program have access to free trainings that provide continuing education units for staff.
  • Recognized ECE programs are eligible for Kaplan Early Learning Company monetary incentives.
  • Recognized centers receive marketing materials to display at their center.
  • Recognized ECE programs are featured on the ECEs4HealthyKids.org statewide website.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. All  applications are reviewed 3-4 weeks after initial submission. 

COVID-19 Modifications

The in-person UF/IFAS Healthy Kids Healthy Future Workshop is currently being offered virtually, Go NAPSACC offers on-demand trainings for each best practice, and the ABCs of a Healthy Me Training is a self-paced online training.

We understand that things have changed or been adapted due to COVID, so we are committed to making this process as convenient as possible for ECEs during this time. Since the recognition is good for 2-years, it will be best to use pre-COVID practices. However, if it is not an additional burden, it would be beneficial if ECE providers can highlight which best practices have been adapted or put on hold due to COVID-19 by making an addendum to their policy or sharing how this update was shared with a parent.

  • For example, during a recent virtual conference, other states shared how ECE providers have shifted to individual self-serve options to promote motor skills development and maintain some of the familystyle¬†dining¬†elements.

A live, virtual workshop or class for parents on a particular topic,  with flyers, event announcements, or handouts that display the topic and credentials/title of the presenter. Flyers, newsletters, emails, or handouts to parents with information or resources about any of the five best practices from credible topic experts at government agencies, educational institutes, or health foundations. 

  • This benchmark has not been modified due to COVID-19. The FL HEROs Benchmarks were developed based on the Preventing Childhood Obesity in ECE Program¬† 3rd Edition Guidelines, which is a component of the Caring for Our Children National Guidelines. These national guidelines state that child care centers should limit educational screen time to 30 minutes per week of commercial-free programming, teachers should supervise this screen time, and teachers should always talk with students about what they are seeing during screen time. If this is typically the case we ask that a policy addendum be attached that reflects the typical policy and how it had been changed due to COVID-19.
  • We also understand from our calls with ECE programs that some preschoolers may be getting closer to 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day of screen time due to testing and literacy requirements and that some are offering Pre-K virtually. We will discuss this with our stakeholder committee to see if modifications or exceptions are needed.¬†

Training Requirements

ECE providers can participate in the six-session ABCs of a Healthy Me Training or connect with a certified Go NAPSACC Consultant to access a library of FREE on-demand trainings, which both qualify for the pre-requisite training requirements.

Yes, as long as centers are licensed once they apply for the recognition.

The “director position” at each site is the person that oversees the operation of the child care program and providers staff trainings. Please contact [email protected] if your program structure would require someone else to take the training in place of the director.¬† A lead teacher is considered the main teacher the plans lessons for a class and directs classroom activities of each classroom. If your program’s structure does not have a lead teacher the training requirement applies to all classroom staff.

The in-person UF/IFAS Healthy Kids Healthy Future Workshop is currently being offered virtually, Go NAPSACC offers on-demand, virtual trainings for each best practice area, and the ABCs of a Healthy Me Training is a self-paced, online training.

ABCs of a Healthy Me training reports are reviewed on a monthly basis. If you completed the last quiz of each session you will be emailed a certificate of completion for the sessions you completed. Once you have completed all SIX sessions, your information will be sent to Palm Beach State College’s Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education and you will be awarded¬†one free¬†corporate & continuing education unit certificate. You will be mailed a physical CEU certificate to the mailing address you reported on the last question of each training video. If you have any questions, concerns, or need to update your mailing address please contact [email protected].

  • Note:¬†In 2020¬†we had a glitch and a few of our training reports were being sent to our training developer and were not captured in our records. Therefore anyone who completed the training in 2020 but did not receive an email, please contact us.¬†

Multi-Site Applications

If you are applying as a center that has multiple locations, only one application that lists all locations is required. All site locations must meet the criteria you are applying for, and supporting documentation must be submitted for each site.

Documentation that is used across all sites such as policies, curriculum, monthly menus, parent handbooks, and parent handouts can be included once. Site-specific photos or parent engagement workshop flyers and sign-in sheets must be included for each site.

Yes each site will be eligible for a recognition certificate, Kaplan credits and will be listed on the FL HEROs website

Best Practice & Supporting DOcs

Early care and education centers must complete all sections of the application. If the application requirement does not relate to their center, centers should indicate this on the application.

ECEs programs can use resources and information about any of the five best practices from credible topic experts at government agencies, educational institutes, or health foundations. 

Requirements are prorated for programs that are part-time (less than 8 Hours) programs. Both the full-time and part-time program should meet best practice requirements.