“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

Charles Swindoll



The Zones of Regulation is a framework by Leah Kuypers.
It uses four colours to help children to identify their feelings so that they can work towards regulating them.

What is self-regulation?”

 “…it is defined as the capacity to manage one’s thoughts, feelings and actions in adaptive and flexible ways across a range of contexts.”

Jude Nicholas

We use the ZONES of Regulation in every area of the school  as a resource to support the pupils to self regulate their emotions. You may have noticed all the staff  wearing multi-coloured picture lanyards when you drop off and collect your child each day and wondered why. This is one of the ways in which we have encompassed The Zones at Merry Hill Infant School.


Another useful way of representing the ZONES is through Pixar’s Inside Out Characters. oMZi000

The ZONEs teach pupils:

  • Vocabulary of emotional terms
  • How to recognise their own emotions
  • How to detect the emotions of others (read others’ facial expressions)
  • What may trigger certain emotions
  • How others may interpret their behaviour
  • Problem solving skills



Children are encouraged to identify the ZONE they are in on arrival to school by putting their name in the ZONE that matches their feelings. Over the course of the day they have opportunities to discuss why they are in a certain ZONE  and to move their name into another ZONE if their feelings change over the day. The staff lanyards have also proved a useful tool for children to indicate their ZONE by pointing if they do not feel ready to talk about how they are feeling. They understand that we all experience all the  ZONES but the green ZONE is the best ZONE to be in  for learning as it means we are able to focus and concentrate when in the classroom.

Something to try:

We practise breathing exercises in school as a “tool” to get back into the green zone.

This is called “Lazy 8” breathing. Start at the middle and draw a number 8 on its side in the air breathing in as you draw one side and out as you draw the other. Repeat until you feel calm and able to concentrate.

Also try to model your feelings by referring to the ZONE you are in:

I felt sad when I shut my finger in the door. I am in the Blue Zone.

I am happy you cleared your plate away. I am in the Green Zone.

I am in the Yellow Zone because it is my birthday tomorrow.

Give it a go and see if your child can label their Zone too.