DONNA, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As classes resumed face-to-face instruction this school year, it has also brought unexpected stress and anxiety levels for parents and students.
Now the Donna Independent School District is hoping to bring those levels back down by implementing yoga into their P.E. classes.
Donna ISD Director for Academic Support Dr. Diana Villanueva said having students do daily yoga stretches would hopefully relieve stress from students returning to in-person learning in the midst of the pandemic.
“The reality is there’s a lot of anxiety going on with our students, there’s a lot of mixed emotions.” Dr. Villanueva adds, “a lot of our students haven’t been with us for over a year and a half and now that they’re coming back there’s a lot of needs that need to be addressed besides the academics.”
Dr. Villanueva said yoga is important because she is hoping that students can use it in all parts of their life.
“The breathing techniques that are introduced it’s going to be something that not only will be helpful for students when it comes to learning how to reduce that level of anxiety they are experiencing but also to implement that kind of skill in other areas of their life,” she said.
The district wanted to make sure when students are doing yoga, it is done correctly which is why they had staff take yoga training in August.
“They also received training and yoga terminology, yoga movements and they also received training in PBIS which is a whole framework on positive behavioral intervention and supports,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva said so far the reviews about the yoga classes have been positive
“Everybody has been super positive about this initiative we’re all very excited about it and most of all the students,” said Villanueva.
It’s students like 4th grader Kayla Caballero and 5th grader Jared Palomo at Captain D. Salinas Elementary School who are excited and grateful for the yoga classes being implemented.
Caballero said, “I can breathe calmly throughout the entire session; it can stretch out my muscles and it can help me get out anything I’ve been stressed about on a stressful day in school.” As for Palomo, “it helps me get those things away from my mind and just focus on myself.”
Villanueva said they have an alternative curriculum besides yoga to help students.
We have also started a new curriculum that will address social-emotional learning. We’ve also added new staff members at the district level and at the campus level to provide help with additional support for our students.