Blue Zones Project® in Pottawatomie County has announced that Sequoyah Elementary School has achieved designation as a Blue Zones Project Approved™ School, one of only three in Oklahoma.

This approval comes because of school leadership working through the Blue Zones Project School Pledge – a menu of research-based action items which enables school leaders to create an environment that instills healthy lifestyle choices both today and for years to come. Sequoyah began making improvements for their student’s well-being two years ago when a group of parents came together to lead the charge. The completion of the Blue Zones Project School Pledge reinforced the well-being focused culture.

A few of the ways Sequoyah Elementary is impacting student well-being include:

• A health-and-wellness council that meets regularly at the school.

• Implementation of lifestyle sports into Physical Education classes.

• Using creative fundraisers like book fairs and student art silent auctions instead of unhealthy food fundraisers.

• Instead of using food as a reward they earn “star cash” for non-food items.

• Encouraging healthy lifestyle habits of natural movement for students through an upcoming school running club.

One creative component of Sequoyah Elementary School’s approval is the integration of physical activity into daily lesson plans outside of traditional PE classes. The 1st- 5th grade teachers implemented “brain breaks” in class daily. Giving students the opportunity and outlet needed to stay focused and energized throughout the day. Getting the whole body involved in learning has improved student’s behavior and improved academic retention.

The school places a strong emphasis on healthy students and looks forward to continuing to make healthy choices even easier with the support of teachers, staff and parents.

Brought to Pottawatomie County through an innovative sponsorship by the Avedis Foundation in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative designed to enable community members to live longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic diseases and a higher quality of life.

Based on principles developed by Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author of “The Blue Zones” and “The Blue Zones Solution,” Blue Zones Project is designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to the built environment, policy and social networks.

To learn more about Blue Zones Project, contact the Blue Zones Project team in Pottawatomie County at 405-765-8071, or visit www.bluezonesproject.com.