What are the Zones of Regulation?
In Year 3 we use our Zones of Regulation to determine our feelings and emotions. The Zones categorise all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four different colours (Green, Yellow, Blue and Red). They teach our children to self-regulate and manage their feelings, in order to get themselves to a healthy mental place, by providing strategies to teach children to become more aware of and able to control their emotions, impulses and sensory needs.
What are the four Zones?
The Green Zone:
The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. The children may feel happy, focused, content or ready when they identify with the Green Zone. This is the Zone that we aim for the children to be in and remain in throughout our school day, it is the Zone where optimal learning occurs.
The Yellow Zone:
The Yellow Zone is used to describe elevated emotions. The children may feel excited, silly, anxious or stressed when they identify with the Yellow Zone. This is the Zone in which the children are beginning to steer away from the Green Zone however, they still have control over their state of alertness.
The Blue Zone:
The Blue Zone is used to describe down feelings. The children may feel sad, tired, sick or bored when they identify with the Blue Zone. This is the Zone where the children’s state of alertness will be low and they need to begin to think of which strategy is going to get them back to the Green Zone.
The Red Zone:
The Red Zone is used to describe intense emotions. The children may feel frustrated, angry, rage, devastation or terror when they identify with the Red Zone. This is the Zone where the children’s states of alertness is heightened and it is important to find a strategy to steer them back to the Green Zone.
What are the strategies used?
In our classroom we have a Zones of Regulation board, every morning and every afternoon the children ‘check in’ with what Zone they are feeling and will have a chat with a teacher if they are feeling in the Yellow, Blue or Red Zone – the children are aware that they are able to go and change their Zone at any point of the day for the teachers to check up on and that they can also chat to a teacher about being in the Green Zone.
If a child can identify that they are in the Yellow, Blue or Red Zone and the reasons as to why they are in that Zone, they will then be able to find the most suitable strategy to help get them out of that zone – either independently or with help from a teacher.
Strategies that the children can use involve;
– The ‘Tool Box’, containing a variety of calming sensory items for the children to play with.
– A couple of minutes on the table outside the classroom (to take some deep breaths or to have a think about their feelings).
– A run around in our class outdoor area.
– A drink of water.
– A couple of minutes in the ‘Reading Area’.
– A visit to the Rabbits (if the child is allowed to do so).
We find the Zones of Regulation very useful in Year 3 – we know that it is completely normal to feel all four of the different zones from time to time as long as we are able to recognise what has put us into the Zone and how we are going to get back out of it. We encourage the children to use their Zones both inside and outside of school, to identify their feelings and emotions and the best way to deal with them!