Nature Coast Preschool Award | Florida Department of Health in Citrus

Nature Coast Preschool in Homosassa has become the first Early Care and Education (ECE) Center in Citrus County to receive the “Let’s Be Heros” award from Florida’s HEROS Program.

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

  • Provide healthy food
  • Offer healthy beverages
  • Support Breastfeeding
  • Increase physical activity
  • Limit Screen Time

After obtaining the award, centers also receive up to $2,100 in Kaplan credits which allows the center to purchase learning materials and playground equipment through the Kaplan Early Learning Company.

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.

Currently in Citrus County, 16.4% of middle school students are obese, compared with only 13.1% statewide. With more ECEs integrating healthy best practices, we can all assist in making Citrus County one of the healthiest counties in the state.

Any Early Care and Education Center that is licensed/registered in the state of Florida is eligible. This includes 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).

For more information visit Florida’s HEROS program online at

For assistance in applying for the Let’s Be Heros award in Citrus County, contact Kathryn DeFranco, Citrus County’s Go NAPSACC Technical Assistance Consultant, at (352) 513-6083 or via email at [email protected]

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