Brandwood Primary

Brandwood Community Wood

Life at Brandwood Primary

"This is a good school with outstanding features" Ofsted 2008

Zones of Regulation

Being able to understand, talk about and manage our emotions supports everyone to develop positive mental health and wellbeing strategies. We have therefore adopted a whole school approach to this using the Zones of Regulation, an internationally renowned curriculum that helps children identify and manage their emotions. Being able to do this is called self-regulation and is an essential life skill as they grow and develop.

The Zones

Four colours are used to represent different zones that help children identify how they are feeling in any particular moment, according to their emotions and level of alertness:

Blue Zone - sad, unwell, tired, fed up 

Green Zone - happy, calm, focused, content

Yellow Zone - worried, frustrated, restless, excited

Red Zone - scared, angry, overwhelmed 

Through the curriculum and our daily interactions, the children are taught to understand that all these emotions are acceptable and perfectly normal when faced with particular situations. For example, it is normal to feel nervous (yellow zone) before a test or angry (red zone) after an argument with a friend. They are then taught appropriate and inappropriate behaviour responses to these feelings and how to manage them. The green zone is the optimum zone for achieving positive wellbeing and readiness to learn, so the children are taught self-help tools they can use to return to the green zone.

Calming Toolbox

There are a lot of calming strategies to choose from and one that works one day may not work another. It is therefore important to develop lots of different strategies to create a ‘toolbox’ of strategies the children can choose from when their feelings are heightened in the red, yellow or blue zones. Classes discuss and practise these calming tools regularly so that when children experience big emotions they have a range of tools and appropriate behaviours available to them. Some strategies may include:

  • Talking to an adult or friend
  • Taking a break
  • Asking for a hug
  • Drawing a picture
  • Doing some physical exercise
  • Playing with a fidget toy
  • Counting to 10
  • Deep breathing
  • Stretching
  • Having a drink of water
  • Reading a book
  • Meditating
  • Playing a game

To learn more about the zones of regulation and the way we use this approach in school, follow the links to the PowerPoint and posters we share with the children:

Zones of Regulation PowerPoint for Children

Zone of Regulation Poster

How can you help your child use The Zones of Regulation at home?

  • Identify your own feelings using zones language in front of your child, e.g. "I’m feeling a bit frustrated at the state of this kitchen. I think I am in the yellow zone.”
  • At times, express your thoughts as to which Zone your child might be in, e.g. “You look sleepy. Are you in the blue zone?”
  • Discuss which zone a character in a film or book might be in with your child.
  • Display the posters in your home and use them to refer to with your child.
  • Praise and encourage your child when they share which zone they are in.
  • Remember that engaging your child in discussion around zones when they are in the red zone is unlikely to be effective. So in this instance, give them time and space and then discuss the different zones and tools they can use when they are more regulated and calm.
  • Teach your child which tools they can use, e.g. “It’s time for bed. Let’s read a book together in the comfy chair to get you in the blue zone.”
  • Talk about the tool you will use to be in the appropriate zone. e.g. “I need to take four deep breaths to help get me back to the green zone.”