Zones of Regulation

Zone of Regulation at Ponteland Primary School

At Ponteland Primary School, we recognise the importance of promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing to our pupils and their families. We aim to create an open culture around the discussion of mental health and wellbeing and to empower our children to be able to regulate their emotions. By implementing the Zones of Regulation approach, we aim to teach our pupils to identify emotions in themselves and others and provide them with a bank of strategies to help regulate their emotions and improve their wellbeing.

Self-regulation can go by many names such as ‘self-control’, ‘impulse management’ and ‘self-management’.  Self-regulation is best described as the best state of alertness for a situation.  For example, when your child takes part in a sports game, they would need to have a higher state of alertness than when, for example, they were working in a library.

From time to time, all of us (including adults) find it hard to manage strong feelings such as worry, anger, restlessness, fear or tiredness, and this stops us from getting on with our day effectively. Children who feel these emotions often find it hard to learn and concentrate in school.  The Zones of Regulation aims to teach children strategies to help them cope with these feelings so they can get back to feeling calm and ready to learn. These coping strategies are called ‘self-regulation’.

The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum based around the use of four colours to help children self-identify how they’re feeling and categorise it based on colour. The curriculum also helps children better understand their emotions, sensory needs and thinking patterns. The children learn different strategies to cope and manage their emotions based on which colour zone they’re in. Additionally, the Zones of Regulation helps children to recognise their own triggers, learn to read facial expressions, develop problem-solving skills, and become more attuned to how their actions affect other people.

There is progression across the curriculum with children in Early Years learning to identify different emotions to children in Upper Key Stage 2 discussing how our behaviour can impact upon the feelings of those around us. 

What are the different Zones?

How will my child learn about Zones of Regulation?

We introduce the Zones through discrete teaching lessons and through our PSHE curriculum.  We also use the Zones language as part of daily school life so all staff will be referring to them, not just their class teacher.

Children are taught that everyone experiences all of the Zones. The Red and Yellow zones are not ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ Zones.

Some children might prefer not to use the ‘Zones language’ but label the emotions directly – this is fine and encouraged!


 The Zones in more detail


What is the Blue Zone?

 The blue zone is used when a person is feeling low states of alertness or arousal.

When you’re in the blue zone you may be feeling down – sad, sick, tired, or bored. You’re still in control, as you are in the yellow zone, but with low energy emotions.

How would your child present in the Blue Zone?

  • absence of feelings
  • irritability
  • lack of pleasure
  • lack of motivation
  • tearful
  • withdrawn
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • How might your child be feeling in the Blue Zone?

What coping strategies do we implement in school?

  • Exercise
  • Alerting sensory breaks
  • Reflecting on what makes us happy
  • Talking to our teachers and friends

Stories to read at home



What strategies can you use at home?

  • Listen to upbeat music
  • Complete some cardio based exercise
  • Get up, get showered and get dressed
  • Jump on a trampoline
  • Talk to a friend
  • Do something creative
  • Cuddle or play with pets.
  • Go for a walk
  • Plan a fun activity
  • Look through old photographs or snap some new ones.
  • Re-watch a funny or inspiring YouTube video.

 What is the Green Zone?

The green zone is used to describe when you’re in a calm state of alertness.

Being in the green zone means you are calm, focused, happy, or ready to learn. This is predominantly the state you want your child to be in. It’s also the state most needed in the classroom in order to learn.

How might your child present in the Green Zone?

  • Calm
  • Focused
  • Happy
  • Content

What strategies do we implement in school to keep children in the Green Zone?

  • Implement daily sensory breaks
  • Sensory areas on the playground/in class
  • PSHE lessons
  • Mindfulness activities
  • Circle time
  • Use a positive behaviour policy
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle
  • Teach children how to keep fit

Stories to read at home



What strategies can you use at home?

  • Organise your clothes for school the night before to prevent stress
  • Spend time with your friends and family
  • Take time out to do something you love to do
  • Eat healthy and nutritious food
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get 8 hours+ sleep

What is the Yellow Zone?

The yellow zone describes when you have a heightened sense of alertness.

This isn’t always a bad thing, and you typically still have some control when you’re in the yellow zone. Being in the yellow means you may feel frustrated, anxious or nervous. But, it could also mean you’re feeling excited, silly, or hyper – which is okay in the right situations.

How might your child present in the Yellow Zone?

  • Avoiding situations
  • Avoiding social settings
  • Biting nails
  • Sleeping issues
  • Tearful
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Hyper-vigilant

What coping strategies do we implement in school?

  • Breathing strategies
  • Mindfulness
  • A ‘brain break’

Stories to read at home



What strategies can you use at home?

  • Breathing techniques
  • Take time out
  • Relaxing exercises e.g. yoga/ stretches
  • Meditation
  • Keep a journal
  • Make a worry monster
  • Listening to calming music

What is the Red Zone ?

The red zone describes an extremely heightened state of intense emotions. When a person reaches the red zone, they’re no longer about to control their emotions or reactions.

This is the zone children are in during meltdowns. Being in the red zone means you’re feeling anger, rage, terror, or complete devastation and feel out of control.

How might your child present in the Red Zone?

  • Excessive outbursts
  • Fighting
  • Shouting
  • Irritability
  • Acting dangerously
  • Lack of control
  • Resentful

What coping strategies do we implement in school?

  • Take time out
  • Use a stress ball/identified tool
  • Use the calm corner
  • Time to talk through our thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Breathing strategies


Stories to read at home


What strategies can you use at home?

  • Talk to an adult
  • Hug a teddy
  • Pop bubble wrap
  • Wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze
  • Write down what’s bothering you and rip it up
  • Squeeze a stress ball
  • Talk about it
  • Scribble on paper and crumple it up
  • Use breathing techniques
  • Do stretches
  • Listen to calming music
  • Take time out
  • Use sensory glitter jars

Zones of Regulation Tools