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Zones of Regulation

At Hillshott Infant School we recognise and value the importance of promoting positive mental health and emotional well-being.  We aim to create an open culture around the discussion of mental health and wellbeing and to empower our children be able to regulate their emotions. By implementing the Zones of Regulation curriculum we aim to teach our pupils to identify emotions in themselves and others and provide them with bank of strategies to help regulate their emotions and improve their wellbeing.


The Zones of Regulation is a range of activities to help your child develop skills in the area of self-regulation. Self-regulation can go by many names, such as self-control, self - awareness and impulse control. It is defined as the best state of alertness of both the body and emotions for the specific situation. For example when your child engages in a team game in P.E it is beneficial to have a higher state of alertness, however that same state would not be appropriate when engaging in class based activities.


The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum based around the use of four colours to help children self-identify how they’re feeling and identify it based on a colour and linked developmentally appropriate language. The curriculum also helps children better understand their emotions, sensory needs and thinking patterns. The children learn different strategies to cope and manage their emotions based on which colour zone they’re in at.


In addition the Zones of Regulation supports the children to recognise others’ emotions, begin to understand the impact of their actions on others’ , learn to read facial expressions and develop a range of strategies to support their emotional well-being. We support the children to understand that we will experience all zones at different points and there are no good or bad zones- however our success in regulating our emotions depends on us recognising our emotion, understanding it and putting a support strategy in place.


There is progression across the curriculum with children in the Early Years Foundation Stage predominately using the colours and a photograph of themselves to indicate how they are feeling. In Key Stage 1 children are encouraged to use the emotional language linked to each of the 4 zones, using their names to indicate how they are feeling.

Zones of regulation poster

A description of each of the zones and how you can support your child at home.


Look at the zones of regulation poster and talk through them with your child. Ask them how they would feel in each zone?

  • Discuss what emotion they feel in each zone e.g. when I am in the yellow zone I may feel worried
  • How they physically feel e.g. in yellow zone I may have butterflies in my stomach (if feeling anxious).
  • Then discuss what might they be doing- what be their actions e.g. in yellow zone would they be walking around finding it tricky to be still, being grumpy with others or fidgeting?
  • Then discuss how to help them move into the Green zone e.g. if I was in the Yellow zone and feeling anxious I might do some yoga stretches/ breathing techniques to help me get back into the green zone.
  • Create a list of strategies that work for your child- Remind them that we are all unique and the strategies that work for one person might not help so they need to think about what they could do that would help them.
  • You could make a coloured list of the strategies that help so your child can begin to use the strategies independently


What is the Blue Zone?

The blue zone is when a person is feeling low or a reduced state of alertness.

In the blue zone you may be feeling unhappy, sad, tired, tearful, quiet or worried.

How might your child behave in the Blue Zone?

  • Quiet
  • Withdrawn
  • Irritable
  • Lack of concentration
  • Tearful
  • Lack of enthusiasm


What coping strategies do we implement in school?

  • Energy breaks or exercise- dancing
  • Thinking about what makes us happy
  • Talking to teachers or friends


How can you support your child at home?

  • Listen to upbeat music or a favourite song, encourage them to dance or move to it
  • Do something creative
  • Get some exercise
  • Cuddle a pet or a favourite soft toy
  • Talk to a family member or a friend
  • Look through old photographs and talk about a favourite memory or an activity that you enjoyed.


What is the Green Zone?

The green zone is when a person is happy or in a calm state of alertness.

  • Calm
  • Focussed
  • Happy
  • Content


What coping strategies do we implement in school to keep your child in the green zone?

  • Daily sensory breaks
  • Practical activities
  • PSHE lessons
  • Circle times
  • Encourage physical exercise and a healthy lifestyle
  • Celebrate specific mental health days throughout the year


How can you support your child at home?

  • Spend time doing activities that they enjoy
  • Have quiet calm time, a warm bath and a story before bed
  • Drink lots of water
  • Reduce screen time


What is the Yellow Zone?

The yellow zone is when a person has a heightened state of alertness.


In the yellow zone you may be feeling excited, nervous, frustrated, anxious or fidgety.

This isn’t always a negative thing, and you typically still have some control when you’re in the yellow zone. Being in the yellow means you may feel frustrated, anxious or nervous. But, it could also mean you’re feeling excited, silly, or hyper – which is okay in the right situations.


How would your child behave in the Yellow Zone?

  • Fidgety, bouncy
  • Find it difficult to concentrate
  • Tearful
  • Excited
  • Very chatty


What coping strategies do we implement in school?

  • Breathing strategies
  • Yoga or mindfulness activities
  • Speak to an adult about what is making them feel worried or excited
  • A sensory break
  • Thinking about what makes them feel calm or happy


How can you support your child at home?

  • Listening to calming music
  • Trying a yoga or mindfulness activity (see the link below)
  • Colouring or drawing
  • Exercise


What is the Red Zone?

The red zone is when a person is experiencing an extremely heightened state of intense emotions. When a person reaches the red zone, they find it hard to control their emotions or reactions.


In the red zone you may be feeling mad, cross, overwhelmed, out of control or be shouting.

It is important to help your child understand that everyone feels cross sometimes but it is about making safe behaviour choices when they are feeling angry.

How would your child behave in the Red Zone?

  • Excessive or loud outbursts
  • Shouting
  • Out of control
  • Irritable


What coping strategies do we implement in school?

  • Breathing strategies
  • Calm time in a quiet space
  • Talk to an adult about our feelings
  • Physical exercise


How can you support your child at home?

  • Talk to an adult
  • Hug a teddy
  • Breathing techniques
  • Listen to calming music
  • Scribble on paper and crumple it up
  • Pop bubble wrap or hit a cushion