Gold Sneaker Initiative Provider FAQs

childcare providers with children

The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) were submitted by Tennessee daycares regarding the Gold Sneaker initiative.

Information will be updated as necessary. New questions will be posted monthly should there be any.



Q    My staff and I have taken the Gold Sneaker training before. Do we need to take the Gold Sneaker training again?

A    If you were trained before January 1, 2019, then yes. Gold Sneaker policies were revised in late 2018. Therefore, each daycare director and ALL educators need to take the revised Gold Sneaker training, available since January 1, 2019.


Q    My daycare name used to be on the Gold Sneaker webpage and is no longer listed. What happened?

A   Gold Sneaker policies were revised in November 2018. All daycares wanting to maintain OR obtain Gold Sneaker certification status should receive training under the revised Gold Sneaker policies (available since January 1, 2019) AND submit a complete online application. Once the 2-step certification process is completed, your daycare name will be added back to the Gold Sneaker webpage.


Q  Do I have to complete the application online? I’m not good with computers.

A   Applications are now completed online due to the large number of daycares applying for certification. Should there still be difficulty after attempting to complete the application, technical assistance is available. The Gold Sneaker Initiative Certification User Guide is available online. The User Guide offers step-by-step directions to completing the Gold Sneaker Initiative Certification Application. Gold Sneaker staff is available should there be additional questions or assistance needed.


Q    How long does it take for my application to be approved?

A    On average, it takes about 2 months to review and approve an application if it is submitted accurately with requested documentation.

If any component of the application is missing or incomplete, the daycare will be notified by email a maximum of three times, with details provided to let the daycare know what is needed to complete the application. Certification will not be awarded until the application is complete and approved.


Q    Does my Gold Sneaker Certification expire?

A    Gold Sneaker Certification should not expire unless: 1) Gold Sneaker policies are revised, 2) The daycare should not be in compliance following the annual Human Services licensing assessment.


Q    For the ones (facilities/staff) that are missing (proof of training) items, can we still turn those items in (for the application)?

A    Daycare directors, assistant directors and all educators need to have taken the Gold Sneaker training before the Gold Sneaker Certification Application is complete and certification can be awarded.



Q    Do I have to take the Gold Sneaker training every year?

A    No, it is not required to do so at this time. However, it is fine to retake the training if daycare staff would like to refresh their familiarity with policies. Newly hired directors, assistant directors and educators must take the Gold Sneaker training, either online through TCCOTS or in-person through their local health department within two months of their hire date. Notify the Gold Sneaker Initiative director and email a copy of the new employee’s Gold Sneaker training certificate.



Q    I’ve been told that the Gold Sneaker Program was being revised to accommodate part time programs. Our hours will not allow us 60 minutes of outdoor play. We currently only have to have 40 for DHS and ECERS. Can you let me know if the provisions have been made to apply to all programs?  If so, how can my school become certified?

A    Daycares open fewer than 8 hours per day are eligible for Gold Sneaker certification. Gold Sneaker follows the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Revised (ECERS-R). The amount of physical activity required is based on the length of time the daycare is open per day. For example, if a daycare is open for 5 hours per day, then 40 minutes physical activity (structured, unstructured, indoors and outdoors) is required.

Number of hours in operation 2 hours 3 hours 4 hours 5 hours 6 hours 7 hours
Approximate minutes required for accessibility 15 25 30 40 45 50

Q    Would an agency still be considered a smoke free campus if they did not permit their staff to smoke on the premises, but individuals from other agencies in the building were allowed to smoke outside.  For example, I have a child care center which is located on a college campus.  That agency could develop a policy which would prohibit smoking on the grounds by their own employees/staff, but they would not be able to implement those policies for students or other college faculty who share the same building and surrounding property.  Would they be still in compliance with that requirement for the certification? 

A  The childcare provider would need to post signage reading that it is a tobacco-free child care campus and prohibit tobacco use by their employees and volunteers on campus. Signage may be placed in front of the facility if possible, on the doors or windows. Hopefully, the college will adopt a tobacco- free campus stance. Though it is not required, the provider may share information from the Tennessee Tobacco Quitline with college staff.


Q    Once a child has stopped taking their formula, how long can it sit out and still be safe to be given to the child? If it is breast milk, once it has been given to a child and he/she has stopped taking it, how long can it sit out and still be safe to be given to the child?

A    For formula:

Prepared infant formula can spoil if it is left out at room temperature.

  • Use prepared infant formula within 2 hours of preparation and within 1 hour from when feeding begins.
  • If you do not start to use the prepared infant formula within 2 hours, immediately store the bottle in the fridge and use it within 24 hours.

Throw out any infant formula that is left in the bottle after feeding your baby. The combination of infant formula and your baby’s saliva can cause bacteria to grow.

Expressed breast milk:

If your baby did not finish the bottle, the leftover breast milk can still be used within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding. After 2 hours, leftover breast milk should be discarded.

(Adapted from "ABM Clinical Protocol #8: Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Full-Term Infants," Revised 2017)


Q    I understand we must have 60 minutes of physical activity indoors or outdoors each day.  I understand outdoor playground time would count towards that, along with music and PE.  Are there specifics on outdoor versus indoor time?

A    In a full day program, physical activity for children ages three years and older must be a balance of structured and unstructured play, both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting) utilizing age appropriate activities. It may not always be possible to have an exact 50-50 split between indoor and outdoor time due to extenuating circumstances such as inclement weather. As long as there is an approximate balance between indoor and outdoor on the majority of days, this should be sufficient. Activities should be documented.


Q    Should a provider hire new staff, how long do we have before they must be trained in Gold Sneaker?

A    New directors or educators must be trained in Gold Sneaker within 2 months of employment.


Q    I have received 2 links to PDF surveys for the gold sneaker training (Go NAPSACC).  Are these required to be completed before all staff do the training and if so, how do I submit my answers?

A    The daycare directors need to take two Go NAPSACC Self Assessments: 1) Infant and Child Physical Activity, and 2) Screen Time. The Self-Assessments help child care providers compare their practices to best-practice standards based on the most up-to-date research.

Follow the self-assessment links at the top of the page if you are a center, school-based or head start. Print out both self-assessments and take them. You do not need to register on the site, upload anything or submit them to anyone.



Q   I was certified several weeks ago and have not received my toolkit. When should I expect it? Do you still provide them?

A   Because of the large number of daycares needing to recertify for Gold Sneaker status simultaneously, the supply was temporarily exhausted. Toolkits were restocked, and as certification applications were approved, toolkits were again provided. However, during the COVID-19 crisis only emergency medical supplies are being mailed. Regrettably, toolkits will again be delayed until further notice.



Q    We have opted out of Gold Sneaker in the past, as we were already meeting the standards, and getting certified would have just been time-consuming and extra paperwork.  My question is will we actually be ok to get the 3 stars without getting certified, as we are not a full-day program, and we are following the recommendations?

A    Should you choose not to become Gold Sneaker certified, you will not earn 3 stars in the Child Health and Well-being component which is where the initiative is located. However, it is still possible to earn 3 stars overall, you will just need to earn them from the remaining seven components.

While Gold Sneaker is optional, there are a number of free benefits to certification including 2 hours of credit for the training awarded by Human Services, recognition on the Gold Sneaker webpage, educational resources and materials to assist providers with policy compliance, fun items to utilize with young children, opportunities for parent/family engagement and more. Read about the benefits of Gold Sneaker webpage. See the link below.


For general Gold Sneaker information:

Gold Sneaker Certification here:


To Request In-person Gold Sneaker training:


Infant formula Preparation and Storage:


Expressed Breast Milk:


Go NAPSACC Self Assessments:


Tennessee Additional Notes to ECERS-R™-August 1, 2018 


Tennessee Tobacco Quitline:


To submit additional Gold Sneaker questions: