What is Zones of Regulation?
At St. Bernadette’s, we recognise the importance of promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing to our children and their families. We aim to create an open culture around the discussion of mental health and wellbeing and to empower our children be able to regulate their emotions. By implementing the Zones of Regulation curriculum, we aim to teach our pupils to identify emotions in themselves and others and provide them with a bank of strategies to help regulate their emotions and improve their wellbeing.
The Zones of Regulation is a range of activities to help your child develop skills in the area of self-regulation. Self-regulation can go by many names, such as self-control, self-management and impulse control. It is defined as the best state of alertness of both the body and emotions for the specific situation. For example, when a child plays in a basketball game, it is beneficial to have a higher state of alertness. However, that same state would not be appropriate in the library.
The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum based around the use of four colours to help children self-identify how they’re feeling and categorise it based on colour. The curriculum also helps children better understand their emotions, sensory needs and thinking patterns. The children learn different strategies to cope and manage their emotions based on which colour zone they’re in. Additionally, the Zones of Regulation helps children to recognise their own triggers, learn to read facial expressions, develop problem-solving skills, and become more attuned to how their actions affect other people.
There is progression across the curriculum with children in Early Years learning to identify different emotions to children in Upper Key Stage 2 discussing how their behaviour can impact upon the feelings of those around us.
We aim to help children to:
Understanding the Zones
Blue Zone: low level of arousal; not ready to learn; feels sad, sick, tired, bored, moving slowly.
Green Zone: calm state of alertness; optimal level to learn; feels happy, calm, feeling okay, focused.
Yellow Zone: heightened state of alertness; elevated emotions; has some control; feels frustrated, worried, silly/wiggly, excited, loss of some control.
Red Zone: heightened state of alertness and intense emotions; not an optimal level for learning; out of control; feels mad/angry, terrified, yelling/hitting, elated, out of control.
How Can I Support My Child at Home?
Can my child be in more than one zone at the same time?
Yes. Your child may feel tired (blue zone) because they did not get enough sleep, and anxious (yellow zone) because they are worried about an activity at school. Listing more than one zone reflects a good sense of personal feelings and alertness levels.
Should children be punished for being in the RED Zone?
It’s best for children to experience the natural consequences of being in the RED zone. If a child’s actions/choices hurt someone or destroys property, they need to repair the relationship and take responsibility for the mess they create. Once the child has calmed down, use the experience as a learning opportunity to process what the child would do differently next time.
Can you look like one Zone on the outside and feel like you are in another Zone on the inside?
Yes. Many of us “disguise” our Zone to match social expectations. We use the expression “put on a happy face” or mask the emotion so other people will have good thoughts about us. Parents often say that their children “lose it” and goes into the Red Zone as soon as they get home. This is because children are increasing their awareness of their peers and expectations when in the classroom. They make every effort to keep it together at school to stay in the Green Zone. Home is when they feel safe to let it all out.