the zones of regulation exploring emotions

About Zones of Regulation

    • Zones of Regulation

      What are The Zones of Regulation?

      The Zones of Regulation was designed by a licensed Occupational Therapist, Leah Kuypers. It is used to teach self-regulation by labeling all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four zones.  The Zones curriculum provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of their emotions, improve controlling their emotions and impulses, managing their sensory needs, and improving their ability to problem solve conflicts. The program was developed to teach students to identify their current state of alertness, and how and when to use self-regulation strategies.  There are four zones, or states of alertness: blue, green, yellow, and red.  Throughout the course of the school year students will learn vocabulary, concepts, and tools related to each Zone.


      The Four Zones

      The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness, such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.

      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.  Being in the Green Zone will help students be successful in the classroom. 

      The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions; however, one has some 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 Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions.  A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, explosive behavior, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone. A person is described as “out of control” if in the Red Zone.  


      Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors

      Expected behaviors are the behaviors that give people around you good or comfortable thoughts about you. Classroom rules are the expected behaviors in the classroom and are taught consistently. (Examples of expected behaviors: raising your hand, paying attention, be respectful, etc.)

      Unexpected behaviors are the behaviors that give people uncomfortable thoughts about you.  The unexpected behaviors for the classroom are not always taught to students. It is important to teach students about how unexpected behaviors can affect their learning, as well as the learning of others. (Examples of unexpected behaviors: hitting, blurting out, not completing work, etc.)