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Zones of Regulation

The Zones of Regulation

Being able to identify and regulate big emotions is an important part of managing our own behaviour.

The Zones of Regulation is a framework that helps to make this process more accessible for children.


What are the Zones of Regulation?

The Zones of Regulation is a behaviour management framework designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control. Self-regulation is something that everyone is continually working on whether they are aware of it or not. When we are able to recognise that we are in a situation that is making us lose control of our emotions we are then able to do something about it and manage our feelings to help ourselves get back to a healthier headspace.

We use the Zones of Regulation at Brookland Infant & Nursery school to help the children go through this process more naturally, learning about self-regulation and creating a toolkit of strategies to help them.


What are the Zones?

The Zones are a self-regulation approach to behaviour that categorises all the different ways we feel into different colours, which helps children to identify the way they are feeling.

The framework also provides strategies to help children understand how they can control their emotions and improve their ability to problem solve conflicts. What we want for all of our children at Brooklands is that the Zones help them to move towards independent emotion regulation.

This is a lifelong skill that they will not only be able to transfer to future educational settings but also use in their relationships and situations they encounter outside of school.


What do the Zones of Regulation look like?


What do the Zones of Regulation look like in a little more detail?

Red Zone: Extremely heightened state of alertness/intense emotions (elation, anger, rage, explosive behaviour, devastation, terror). Out of control.

Yellow Zone: Heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions but still has some control (stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness)

Green Zone: Calm state of alertness (happy, focused, content, or ready to learn) - Zone where optimal learning occurs.

Blue Zone: Low states of alertness and down feelings (sad, tired, sick, or bored)


The Important Bit:

It is really important that the children understand that all Zones are acceptable and that we all move from one Zone to another. At school we model to the children when we are in different zones, to normalise it (e.g. this is really frustrating me and I can feel I am in the Yellow zone, I need to use one of my tools to help me calm down).


Why does my child talk about a toolkit or strategy?

At Brookland Infant and Nursery we want the children to learn how to look after themselves when they are in a particular Zone. We want them to create a metaphorical toolkit full of different strategies that help them to cope when they are not in the Green Zone. We know that it is vital that the children think about, and practise, skills whilst they are in the Green Zone so that they are prepared to cope when they are in other Zones.

Our children know that everyone has different tools in their toolkit that help them the most and that it is really helpful to talk to each other about strategies that work so that they can try them out and see if the same strategies will work for them. We make it very clear to the children that not all strategies will work for any one person and that it is about trying and finding the ones that work for you.


What does the toolkit look like?