Zones of Regulation
ZONES OF REGULATION
The Zones of Regulation help us understand how we are feeling. The Zones of Regulation are used in Mildmay Junior School to help the pupils identify their own feelings, read other people’s body language to think about how they are feeling, and relate to others. The Zones are a way to help us keep our self-control and handle our emotions.
The Zones give everyone in our school the same language so that we can help each other stay “Green”.
We use ‘The Zones’ to deepen the children’s understanding of how to self-regulate and to teach children these skills:
how to read others’ facial expressions and recognise a broader range of emotions
perspective about how others see and react to their behaviour
insight into events that trigger their less regulated states, and
when and how to use tools and problem solving skills.
THE FOUR ZONES: OUR FEELINGS & STATES DETERMINE OUR ZONE
The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone.
The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions, however one has more control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.
The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.
The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.
The Zones can be compared to traffic signs. When given a green light or in the Green Zone, one is “good to go”. A yellow sign means be aware or take caution, which applies to the Yellow Zone. A red light or stop sign means stop, and when one is the Red Zone this often is the case. The Blue Zone can be compared to the rest area signs where one goes to rest or re-energize.
All of the zones are natural to experience, but the framework focuses on teaching students how to recognize and manage their Zone based on the environment and its demands and the people around them. For example, when playing on the playground or in an active/competitive game, students are often experiencing a heightened internal state such as silliness or excitement and are in the Yellow Zone, but it may not need to be managed. However, if the environment is changed to the library where there are different expectations than the playground, students may still be in the Yellow Zone but have to manage it differently so their behaviour meets the expectations of the library setting.