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Early Childhood Program Eligibility and Scoring


Type of Program

Early childhood programs of all types and sizes are encouraged to apply to become a Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program. We encourage diversity of applicants, and we hope you will apply, regardless of your program structure or composition. Early Childhood Programs will be certified in the following categories based on type of program:

  • Child Care Center
  • Part-Day Program
  • Out-of-School-Time Program
  • Summer Day Camp
  • Head Start (Tribal or Other)
  • Early Head Start (Tribal or Other)
  • Family Child Care Home: Small (1-7 children) or Large (8-12 children)
  • Drop-in Child Care Program


Programs must be at least Smokefree in order to apply. A program must be Tobacco-Free and submit a copy of their tobacco-free policy in order to receive Excellence.

Oklahoma Department of Human Services Licensure

The program must be licensed by OKDHS to be eligible to apply for Certified Healthy OR be exempt from licensure.

EXEMPTIONS: care provided in a child’s own home or by relatives, informal arrangements for the occasional care of children, programs in which children attend on a drop-in basis and parents are on the premises and readily accessible, single activity programs, and programs operating for 15 hours or less per week (OKDHS)


Applicants select activities and policies that are currently offered by their early childhood program in each of seven criteria categories: (1) Nutrition; (2) Physical Activity; (3) Health Promotion; (4) Safe and Healthy Environment; (5) Community and Family Involvement; (6) Professional Development; (7) Staff Health. There are 62 total criteria, including some multiple option criteria (i.e., check all that apply), and a total of seven criteria with a possible N/A response, dependent upon program situation.

Early childhood programs are scored according to type of program, and each criterion selected is worth one point. Certification status is assigned according to the percentage of criteria selected by the applicant in EACH category. As a reminder, a smokefree policy is required for Basic/Merit, and a tobacco-free policy submitted with the application is required for Excellence.

Program ClassificationBasicMeritExcellence
Part-Day Program35%50%65%
Out-of-School-Time Program35%50%65%
Summer Day Camp35%50%65%
Drop-in Childcare Programs35%50%65%
Family Child Care Home40%55%70%
Head Start (Tribal or Other)50%65%80%
Early Head Start (Tribal or Other)50%65%80%
Child Care Center50%65%80%