Since working in an Italian middle school here in Italy, I have been noticing tons of differences when comparing them to the American schools I am used to back at home.
In the public schools here, Italian students stay in the same classroom all day and the teachers come to the rooms of the students, instead of the students switching from class to class. For this reason, the students tend to feel like the ones in control, since the visiting teacher is in their space, and not vice versa. This tends be a catalyst for a lot more problems with discipline than what we might be used to in America; understandably a peculiar concept to Americans.
When I come into school in the morning (for my internship as a teacher), it is impossible not to notice the pent-up energy in these students, but also the lack of focus within the actual classes. This can sometimes make a difficult atmosphere in which to conduct lessons. In addition to being a teacher, I need to be a police officer, a disciplinarian, an entertainer, a cheerleader, and a diplomat. As the students get more comfortable with me week after week, their excitement makes them louder, more rambunctious, and much harder to re-center towards the days planned lessons.
High energy students at any school can certainly benefit from yoga or some physical activity in their school. It could serve as an outlet for this excitement, which is simply a natural outcome of their school environment.
There is a great place for yoga in schools, because it requires an exercise of both the mind and the body. Yoga commands the attention of those in the class, so it could provide students with a focus, in addition to being a practical way to release energy (instead of counter-productive behaviors, which I have observed quite a bit…).
Students at this age really benefit from learning how to practice self-control, which I have certainly learned in the yoga and Pilates classes I have taken. Also, practicing yoga teaches a person how to properly stretch, which ties in well if the students are doing other sports.
When children learn something new, information tends to really stick and resonate. I myself would have loved to be taught yoga at a young age. The introduction of yoga in schools seems like a natural fit!