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Little Chalfont

Primary School

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Zones of Regulation

Zones of Regulation is an internationally renowned intervention programme designed to help children to develop their skills of self-regulation. It builds awareness and recognition of emotions in ourselves and others, along with a range of strategies to help us return to a calm and purposeful state.

The Four Zones

A range of emotions are arranged into four colours. This is the starting point for self-awareness, children describing themselves as 'red' or 'blue' etc. Children are taught that we all experience all of these colours at different times and that they all have a purpose - there are no 'bad' emotions. For example, feeling 'blue' is useful for bedtime.




  • develop an awareness of their own emotional state and use the colours to explain how they feel
  • a shared understanding of feelings will improve empathy among children
  • recognition of triggers that change our emotions and how they are different for everyone
  • broadening emotional language as children become more attuned to different feelings
  • strengthened resilience among children as they build a toolkit to help them self-regulate



Zones of Regulation will be taught in combination with our PSHE scheme. Different classes will develop their understanding at their own pace, depending on their experience and emotional maturity.

Staff have also had training about the zones to develop a whole-school shared language around our emotions. The lunchtime team, the office and the support staff all understand the zones and will be able to discuss this with the children.


Why take this approach to wellbeing and emotional regulation?

The zones were recommended to the school by support services including educational psychologists; they are very beneficial for children with social and emotional barriers. Other schools have been using this approach and we spoke to staff at those settings.

Last year, Year 1 and Year 5 trialled the scheme with very positive feedback. 80% of the children have used the zones independently to help them self-regulate. 74% of children have felt calmer at school since learning about the zones.


Can you be in more than one zone at once?

Yes, it is possible to be tired (blue zone) and angry or anxious (red zone) at the same time. Sometimes we may explain that we are green to mask how we really feel.


How do I help my child?

Engage in conversations with your child about the zones as a starting point for recognising emotions. This could be through characters in books or films to begin with.

Talk about triggers and see if you can identify what unsettles or impacts your child.

Ask them about their toolkit of strategies for calming down. Which strategies do they find work best?

Consider your own emotional state throughout the day - our emotions fluctuate greatly.

Model your own ways of regulating - making a cup of tea, going for a walk etc.

Empathise with your child and validate their feelings when they share them with you.