Self-regulation is something everyone continually works on whether or not we are fully aware that we do this. We all encounter trying circumstances that test our limits from time to time. If we are able to recognise when we are becoming less regulated, we are able to do something about it to manage our feelings and get ourselves to a healthy place. This is the goal of The Zones of Regulation. The Zones framework provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of and independent in controlling their emotions and impulses, manage their sensory needs, and improve their ability to problem solve conflicts. All of the zones are natural to experience, but the framework focuses on teaching students how to recognise and manage their Zone based on the environment and its demands and the people around them.
THE FOUR ZONES: OUR FEELINGS & STATES DETERMINE OUR ZONE
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 one has more control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, 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 Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs and is refered to as ‘green for go’.
The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored. The blue zone can be compared to the rest zone.
What does this look like in School?
Each class will recap all 4 Zones throughout the year. At the beginning of the school year we take time to reintroduce these zones to the children and develop our classroom displays. Each classroom has a display and the children and staff refer to these regularly.
Some of the games we play to reinforce these zones include things like:
- Match the emotion to the Zone;
- Individual Zone posters;
- Self control scenario cards to discuss and role play outcomes;
- Emotion scavenger hunt;
- Create top tip cards for calming strategies;
- Behaviour bingo etc.
We encourage all staff to use the zones and the language associated with these, for example 'I am in the green zone now as I can see everybody is listening and ready to learn.' We want the children to feel confident and comfortable in using these zones as a way of expressing themselves and the best way to learn this is through the modelling from adults.