Zones of Regulation
Here at Forest Row C of E Primary School, we have begun using the Zones of Regulation which were designed by Leah Kuypers, a licenced occupational therapist, to help children gain skills in self-regulation. Self- regulation can go by many name: 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 a specific situation e.g. when a child plays on the playground, it is beneficial to have a higher state of alertness which wouldn’t be appropriate for the library.
The lessons and learning activities have been designed to help children recognise when they are in the different zones as well as to learn how to use different strategies to change or stay in the zone they are in. As the children move up the school they are using an increased vocabulary of emotional terms, skills in reading other people’s facial expressions, perspective about how others see and react to their behaviour, insight into events that trigger their behaviour, calming and alerting strategies and problem solving skills.
The Zones of Regulation uses four colours to help children self-identify how they’re feeling and categorize it based on colour.
The Green Zone
The green zone is used to describe when you’re in a calm state of alertness.
Being in the green zone means you are calm, focused, happy, or ready to learn. This is predominantly the state you want your child to be in.
It’s also the state most needed in the classroom in order to learn.
The Yellow Zone
The yellow zone describes when you have a heightened sense of alertness. This isn’t always a bad thing, and you still have some control of your actions when you’re in the yellow zone.
Being in the yellow means you may feel frustrated, anxious or nervous. But, it could also mean you’re feeling excited, silly, or hyper – which is okay in the right situations.
The Red Zone
The red zone describes an extremely heightened state of intense emotions. When a person reaches the red zone, they’re no longer able to control their emotions or reactions.
This is the zone children are in during meltdowns.
Being in the red zone means you’re feeling anger, rage, terror, or complete devastation and feel out of control.
The Blue Zone
The blue zone, on the other hand, is used when a person is feeling low states of alertness or arousal.
When you’re in the blue zone you may be feeling down – sad, sick, tired, or bored. You’re still in control, as you are in the yellow zone, but with low energy emotions.
It is important to note that everyone experiences all of the zones – the Red and Yellow zones are not the ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ zones. All of the zones are expected at one time or another. The Zones of Regulation is intended to be neutral and not communicate judgement.