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Zones of Regulation programme

What is Zones of Regulation?

Zones of Regulation is a self regulation programme we use at West Kirby School and College to help students understand their different internal emotions, sensory needs and thinking patterns. 

The Zones framework is used to teach self-regulation by categorising all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete coloured zones.  

It provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of and independent in controlling their emotions and impulses, manage their sensory needs, and improve their ability to problem solve conflicts.  

Zones of Regulation aims to

  • Teach students the vocabulary for emotions
  • Help them identify when they may move between different zones throughout the day
  • Teach skills in reading facial expressions
  • Identify triggers they may experience in school or at home
  • Teach problem solving skills
  • Help students identify tools and strategies to help them self regulate


Zones of Regulation at West Kirby School and College

This programme has been developed and implemented at West Kirby School and College by our Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy departments; aimed at supporting our pupils wellbeing and to help them understand and independently manage their own emotional regulation. 

How do we deliver it?

Each class is allocated a 6 week block to attend the OT Suite once a week to learn about Zones, different types of strategies, and to practice some of these strategies in the OT suite. This then needs to be embedded into everyday school life, with Zones brought into relevant topics in class as well as students being provided with resources to use the relevant strategies.


Understanding more about Zones of Regulation

It categorises emotions into different zones, these are -

The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions.  A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone. When in the Red Zone a person may be ‘out of control’ and have difficulty making good decisions.

The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions, however one has more control when they are in the Yellow Zone.  A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.  

The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone.  This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.  

The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored – the body is ‘running slowly’.  

The Zones can be compared to traffic signs.  When given a green light or in the Green Zone, one is “good to go”.  A yellow sign means be aware or take caution, which applies to the Yellow Zone.  A red light or stop sign means stop, and when one is the Red Zone this often is the case.  The Blue Zone can be compared to the rest area signs where one goes to rest or re-energize. 

All of the zones are natural to experience, but the framework focuses on teaching students how to recognise and manage their Zone based on the environment and its demands and the people around them.


West Kirby School and College, Meols Drive, West Kirby, Wirral, CH48 5DH

0151 632 3201