Junior School

Zones of Regulation

01 February 2021

Throughout the Junior School last term we spent time during our PSHCE lessons teaching and learning about Zones of Regulation. The creator and author of ‘The Zones’ Leah Kuypers, is an occupational therapist and autism resource specialist who used her experience of working with children and within schools to research and develop a programme that would enable all children to self-regulate their emotions and impulses in order to be successful academically as well as socially in different environments.

Self-regulation is something everyone continually works on and at times, even as adults, we can be pushed to our limits when we encounter difficult circumstances. With young children they are often learning about themselves, their emotions and managing their relationships and feelings in a variety of different social situations. If we can help children to recognise when they are becoming less regulated and they are able to do something about managing their feelings to get themselves to a healthy place again. The aim of the goals is to provide strategies and skills for children to be able to be more aware and independent in controlling their emotions and impulses and to improve their ability to problem solve conflicts for themselves. 

The Zones is a systematic, cognitive behavioural approach to teach self-regulation by categorising ways that we feel and states of alertness into four concrete colour zones.

The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, devastation or terror when in the Red Zone.

The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions, however, a person has more control when in the Yellow Zone. A person is experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.

The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zoe. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.

The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings such as feeling sad, tired, sick or bored.

The children have spent time discussing the different emotions. They have role-played and looked at the body and facial expressions that often portray different emotions. They have also used the time to talk about different times when they have felt a particular emotion and explored the ways that they have reacted or behaved in situations - they have also had fun role-playing some of these scenarios with their friends and then identifying the situation, feelings emotions and behaviour. 

As the children have been introduced to the ongoing topic, we are now beginning to use these Zones or Mood Monsters as we have referred to them in Years 1-3, when discussing feelings, emotions and incidents that have happened to encourage the children to identify the colours and ways that they can manage and resolve situations.

We will aim to incorporate The Zones into our Virtual Webber classrooms moving forward and continue them on our return to school. Understanding and using the different zones in our discussions will be ongoing throughout the year as we understand that some children are naturally able to regulate their emotions and for others it will be a skill that we need to teach and encourage them to practise in order to become more independent at managing and regulating themselves.

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