HUTCHINSON, Kan. – USD 308 staff took part in a two-day training on Bal-A-Vis-X, a brain-body integration program used in classrooms to assist students in nervous system regulation.
On the weekend of January 14, 2023, staff from Faris Elementary and McCandless Elementary participated in interactive training on the Bal-A-Vis-X (BAVX) program, which consists of rhythmic exercises used to help students regain focus and regulate emotions during the school day. Staff received training on how to perform the exercises, and had the opportunity to practice with peers and student volunteers.
Meagan Baldwin is a behavior intervention teacher for Wichita Public Schools and is a sanctioned Bal-A-Vis-X practitioner and trainer. Baldwin travels across the country to help organizations and schools become familiar with the BAVX program, and was the leader of the USD 308 training.
“Bal-A-Vis-X is an acronym for Balance Auditory Vision eXercises. It is a set of about 300 exercises that are based on physical technique and rooted in rhythm. We can teach this to anyone,” said Baldwin.
The exercises are a way for students to practice executive functioning skills, such as task initiation or waiting for their turn. BAVX is a way for young students to practice skills needed for a successful classroom experience.
“All of our exercises can be done individually or in a partner configuration or in a small group configuration. As an example, a class may have just come in from recess, which is a time when stress responses are heightened, so we need a strategy for calming so students are in the best state for learning. So, you might see a teacher with a small group of students passing sandbags to one another, or bouncing racket balls, all in a patterned and intentional way,” Baldwin explained.
During the training, staff at Faris and McCandless had the opportunity to practice these rhythmic exercises so that they could take them back and implement them in their classrooms. The training was hands-on and focused on the idea that anyone could perform these exercises.
“When Meg said these exercises were for everyone, she wasn’t kidding. In just one weekend I watched her work with kids as young as three, all the way through to the adults that were attending the training,” said Melanie Goering, a first-grade teacher at Faris Elementary.
One of the unique aspects of the BAVX training is that it includes students in the skills practice. After the adults at the training learn the exercises, students are invited to attend on the second day to allow teachers to practice the skills they’ve learned.
“I really enjoyed having hands-on learning time with other adults from several different areas. I liked the fact that we can take this back to our classrooms instantly. My favorite part though was actually getting to watch Meg work with my daughter. We recently received a diagnosis of severe anxiety. I could visibly watch her anxiety lower as she got in the rhythm of working with Meg,” said Goering.
Following the training, participants were able to immediately implement their new skills in their schools, which they shared with Baldwin.
“I’m already receiving multiple videos of teachers using BAVX in their classrooms. It’s going to be interesting to see where this goes. I often don’t get that piece of follow-up, so it will be interesting to watch them through this process,” said Baldwin.
To learn more about Bal-A-Vis-X, click here.