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New Early Care and Education Standards in Tennessee

Beginning July 30, 2018, Tennessee childcare centers (home and center-based) will be regulated by new licensure rules that incorporate better standards on nutrition, physical activity and screen time.

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Over the last two years, the American Heart Association worked hard with the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) to ensure meaningful language was included in the rule rewrite.

The new regulations require centers to:

  • follow the USDA Food and Nutrition Standards for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
  • provide children with opportunities for moderate and vigorous exercise at least 60 minutes a day;
  • eliminate screen time for children under 2-years-old, and limit screen time to one hour per day for full day programs;
  • provide daily tummy time (or time in the prone position) for infants less than six months of age and engage with infants on the ground each day to optimize adult-infant interactions.

Additionally, the updated rules add a new component “Child Health and Well-being” requiring centers to participate in the Tennessee Department of Health’s Gold Sneaker Initiative, which includes a standard that centers maintain a smoke-free campus.

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