THE ZONES OF REGULATION
Recently the school implemented Zones of Regulation across the school. The Zones of Regulation is a programme that aims to help children notice the emotion they are feeling and then regulate themselves if they are feeling uncomfortable.
The programme starts by helping children to identify which zone an emotion or feeling is in.
This is where you would be if you are feeling tired, sad, bored or sick. In general you are feeling slow and are mostly feeling uncomfortable.
This is where you feel happy, pleased, proud, content, calm and ready to learn. This is the ideal zone for children to be in when in class, feeling comfortable.
This is when there is some loss of control; you may feel worried, scared or frustrated, behave in a silly way or be excited. In this zone you can be either comfortable or uncomfortable.
This is where there is a loss of control and can also be either comfortable of uncomfortable. You could be feeling rage, fury, elation or total fear.
The children explore these zones and learn to be able to identify which zone they are in. This is supported by all staff who refer to the zones when talking about how they are feeling or when talking to children about their feelings. There are also displays in every learning area around the school. Sometimes children can’t or don’t want to name the emotion but they can identify which zone they are in.
Children also learn that their feelings and emotions can lead to expected and unexpected behaviours and that those behaviours can have an impact on the children and adults around them. If you are in the red zone and yelling at your friend it is unlikely that your friend will be in the green zone.
We also may scale the problem with the children. Does the size of the reaction match the problem? Is this really a yellow zones problem or is it more like a green zone problem?
Once children understand the concept of the zones they explore ways to help regulate themselves with the support of sensory devices and calming techniques. We want to help all children recognize when they are beginning to feel uncomfortable in the blue, yellow and red zones and have a calm area and toolbox of ideas to help them regulate themselves in every learning area. All staff model using different techniques to help regulate our feelings and support and encourage children to use our calm areas and tools. We also have safe spaces around the school where children can go if they need some space to regulate their emotions, reflect on their actions or just be still, this includes the prayer station outside the headteacher's office.
You can support you child/children at home by asking them which zone they are in and using I wonder;
“I wonder if you are in the yellow zone at the moment, you seem a bit worried.’ Naming the emotion will help them with their emotional literacy and show them that you can see they are feeling uncomfortable.
Exploring sensory ideas to help your child feel calmer will also really help. Some children find colouring, play dough, using stress balls, time at the park or reading really beneficial.
You could also try using relaxing music, deep breathing exercises or mindfulness.
The key message is to help your child understand that it is ok to feel angry, be worried or scared but they do need to find ways to help themselves manage those uncomfortable feelings and self-sooth. This will also help them with their self-esteem and resilience.
We have found that all the children are responding really well to the zones and are more able to label their emotions. They are learning what techniques work for them as individuals and beginning to use them independently when they are feeling upset, angry or excited.
I hope you find this information useful, please do contact me at school if you would like any more information about the zones and ways to use them.