Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Zones of Regulation In Room 122

We have been using the 'Zones of Regulation' as a way to support our students with their self-regulation. We hope to give our learners a good start on their journey to self-regulation. Ontario Kindergarten curriculum has now created 'Self-regulation and Well-being' as one of the main 4 focuses of the program. 

The curriculum document tells us, "Dr. Stuart Shanker (2013b, p. xiii) identifies the following as six critical elements required for “optimal self-regulation”:
  • when one is feeling calmly focused and alert, the ability to know that one is calm and alert
  • when one is stressed, the ability to recognize what is causing that stress the ability to recognize stressors both within and outside the classroom the desire to deal with those stressors
  • the ability to develop strategies for dealing with those stressors
  • the ability to recover efficiently and effectively from dealing with those stressors"
We began our learning by investigating feelings and emotions. We did many activities and spent a couple weeks exploring and learning.

We began to slowly introduce the Zones of Regulation to our learners. You can get a copy of the book here. [We did not follow the exact program of the book, but rather used it as inspiration for our own version]. We connected our learning about feelings to the colours of the Zones of Regulation.

We then explored each zone in more detail. We used the framework 'looks like, sounds like, feels like" to help our learners use their own experience and to get a full understanding of each zone.

We added this work to the wall in our 'Self-Regulation centre' in our classroom.

We added photos of our learners demonstrating some of the behaviours and facial expressions you might see for each zone and added those to our wall.  

Recognizing what Zone they are in and others are in takes some learning. We have been reading a variety of books and discussing what zone we think the characters are in and why. Some of the books we've read are:

Since the 'Green Zone' is the zone where we are optimally regulated, we want to support our learners in working to get themselves back to the green zone, should they find themselves in another zone. As a group, they came up with the following list:

We have been doing a lot of "noticing and naming" the emotions our learners show throughout the day and then naming the zone they are in. For example, "I see your fists are clenched and you're frowning. I see you're angry and in the Red Zone." We are beginning to work on implementing strategies for our learners to down-regulate (from the Yellow or Red Zone) or up-regulate (from the Blue Zone). 

Our 'Zones Check-In'. This allows learners to take ownership and to
visually see whether they need to up or down regulate.
Right now, we give them a strategy we feel will work best (unless they tell us what they need) and are working towards our learners doing this independently. 

Some strategies we're using:
  • Self-Regulation Centre- we have placed fidget toys and books here for learners to help down-regulate.
  • Yoga- both individually and whole group.
Our Yoga centre in the classroom
Cosmic Kids Yoga (click for link)
  • Take 5 Breathing- independently or collectively.

We (educators and students) are continuing on our learning journey about the Zones of Regulation and ways we can ensure we're regulated (Green Zone) throughout the day. We will continue building independence when up- and down-regulating.

We hope you will continue to support the Zones of Regulation at home. If you have any questions, please let us know.



  2. Amazing!!! This is such important work and learning. I love the strategies you have come up with to self regulate. I'd love to implement this in my class with 3 year olds.

  3. Thank you for sharing your insights with us - much appreciated! :)

  4. Fabulous. Thank so much for sharing I home ed my 5 year old daughter. Definitely want to try it with her. Have shared to Pinterest!

  5. This needs to be in every school, modified for age of course!