Central to the school’s overall values and aims is a curriculum which provides pupils with an education appropriate to the world beyond the classroom. Many aspects of school life will influence pupils’ personal and social development. Citizenship gives contexts in which pupils can develop from a personal view of themselves and their immediate world, to a much wider perspective. Pupils learn to understand themselves physically, emotionally, socially, sexually and to understand their relationships with others and the outside world.
At Mountjoy, it is important that our pupils learn about their emotions so that they can regulate and be in the right state for learning. We use many strategies across the school.
This is sometimes referred to as ’emotional intelligence’ which covers five main areas: self-awareness, emotional control, self-motivation, empathy and relationship skills. It also aids good communication with others. We hope that by teaching better emotional understanding it will lead to better learning, friendship and transition to adulthood, as skills developed at school often provide the foundation for future habits.
One of our strategies is to incorporate Zones of Regulation into our daily lives. The Zones of Regulation framework (Kuypers, 2011) teaches pupils ways to be aware of their feelings/internal state, to have a means to label and communicate to others about them, and some ways to help regulation, prosocial skills, self-care, and overall wellness. This includes tools and strategies for mindfulness, sensory integration, movement, thinking strategies, wellness, and healthy connection with others.
Information – Zones of Regulation
We use the coloured Zones of Regulation to help students to explain and understand how they are feeling.
Regulation is the skill that helps us to calm down or to make ourselves more alert to focus.
Students can learn to do this for themselves – it takes time, and The Zones makes it easier and quicker.
A typical discussion goes like this (child looks bored):
[Adult]: “Hmm, I wonder what zone you’re in” [show the chart, if they still can’t say] “looks a bit like Blue Zone… body and face look floppy” [hopefully you’ve guessed right, and they agree]
“I wonder if you’re sad…. Tired…. Ill…. Bored?” [if child can say, great, if not you can suggest one]
“Maybe you’re a bit bored. Let’s look at your Toolkit, and see if we can get you back to the Green Zone”
The toolbox / kit is a virtual box of all the things that THAT student can use to regulate themselves (e.g. star jumps to wake up, helping an adult to cheer up, time alone in the garden to calm down etc.)
Students are at the early stages, so we use lots of modelling – and no judging (no zone is bad or wrong: red is ok in some places – e.g. in football crowds) –
e.g. if someone else is acting in an over excited way, we can say, they look like they’re going into Red Zone, let’s give them some space so they can start getting back to green zone.
Or on TV / cartoons etc., Bo Peep looks like she’s in blue zone, she’s crying, look, Woody’s trying to help her get back to the green zone.
The Zones: A concept used to help students learn how to self-regulate. The Zones of Regulation creates a system to categorize how the body feels and emotions into four coloured zones with which the students can easily identify.
Blue Zone: a low state of alertness. The Blue Zone is used to describe when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.
Green Zone: the ideal state of alertness. A person may be described as calm, happy, focused, or content when he or she is in the Green Zone. The student is in control in the Green Zone.
Yellow Zone: a heightened state of alertness. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, or fear when in the Yellow Zone. The student maintains some control of himself or herself in the Yellow Zone.
Red Zone: an extremely heightened state of alertness. A person may be experiencing anger, rage, explosive behaviour, panic, extreme grief, terror, or elation when in the Red Zone and is described as being “out of control.”
Toolbox: A collection of calming and alerting strategies a student can choose from depending on the present need.