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Blog: Controlling emotions with the ‘Zones of Regulation’

Every day, we encounter trying circumstances that can at times test our limits. When we are able to identify that we are losing control of our emotions, then adapt so we manage them in a healthier way, we are said to be in the zone of regulation.

The ‘Zones of Regulation’ (Kuypers 2011) is a curriculum designed to help children develop strategies which support self-regulation. Self-regulation can go by many names, 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 the specific situation.

At ISA, we are delighted to be piloting the curriculum with our Grade 1 students as we strongly believe self-regulation skills are incredibly important for education. They can help students adjust their level of alertness and direct their emotions to achieve their desired goals.

The curriculum splits the Zones of Regulation into four colours - blue, green, yellow, and red. These colours are used to help children self-identify how they are feeling and categorise it based on colour. By doing so, our students can better understand their emotions, sensory needs, thinking patterns and how our own emotions can have an impact on other people’s emotions too.

As students’ progress through the curriculum, they will learn to identify their emotions and level of alertness based on which colour zone they are in and learn strategies to support regulation. Our philosophy is that all zones are OK and expected as we all move through the different zones each day.

Our pathway to support the children’s' learning includes:

  • Notice your feelings / what's the situation?
  • Identify which zone you are in
  • Decide on which strategy to use
  • Self- regulate
  • Reflect - How am I doing? Do I need to regulate differently?

We are incredibly excited to see the pilot with our Grade 1 students develop over the year. If you have any questions or would like some more information on the ‘Zones of Regulation’, please contact Kindergarten Teacher Susan McWhirr.

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