Bonita Springs Elementary becomes ‘blue zone’ school, implements habits for healthier, longer lives

Published: February 20, 2020 4:31 PM EST
Updated: February 20, 2020 5:19 PM EST

Healthy habits can be hard to keep up with at work from sitting at a desk all day, to snagging sodas from vending machines.

At elementary schools where sloppy joes and pizza reign king under the hum of fluorescent lights, it’s not happening there either.

That’s exactly why Bonita Springs Elementary is getting a “blue zone” makeover.

With the snip of a ribbon, the secrets of living longer aren’t so secret anymore. That’s thanks to Bonita Springs Elementary School teacher, Amanda Schumbacker.

“I researched it a little bit to see how there were different pockets of the world that were so much healthier, had so much more longevity, and just simple things that they did,” she said.

Schumbacker helped transform her school into a blue zone worksite and blue zone school.

That means they’re incorporating simple, research-backed lifestyle changes to help everyone, from teachers to students, live a longer and healthier life.

“I’m able to create deeper content, richer content, more meaningful, memorable information that connects with students,” said Physical Education teacher, Zack Schroeder.

Now, as part of the plan, the school is offering fresh fruit and vegetables every day in place of sodas and snacks.

“Students cannot have any of the Gatorades, or the junk food or sodas. So what they’re getting at school is healthy, great food for them,” Schumbacker said, “and the students go back home and say, ‘Hey mom, let’s have some radishes or carrots,’ or whatever might be on the menu.”

Schroeder says the program is especially crucial for students because now is the time to help them develop healthy habits that will hopefully last them a very long lifetime.

“The sooner we can get it to them, the sooner we can embed it into their foundation—I think the better things will look in the long run for them,” Schroeder said.

Other strategies the school is using include yoga breaks to help students and teachers de-stress and re-focus, walking trails around the campus and more opportunities to get up and move throughout the day.

For more information about the Blue Zones Project, click here.