It’s the start of a new school year here in Texas and like most teachers, I hopped on Pinterest to see what other teachers were putting together. I started a new position and wanted to see if anyone had used Zones of Regulation with adults transitioning to the community.
In case you are not familiar with Zones, it is an emotional regulation curriculum. It teaches what emotions are, what they feel like, categorizes them into Zones (blue, green, yellow, red) and teaches coping strategies for each Zone. The Zones curriculum book as written is best used with elementary, it takes some adapting for use with higher grades, and I’m still researching how to make it relevant for adults. Which is what led me to Pinterest.
As I was browsing Pinterest, it was surprising to see how many teachers were using Zones to teach students that they can only be in the Green Zone. Green Zone is the “good to go” Zone. It means you have a calm voice, you are in control of your body, you’re ready to learn! But no one, not even adults spend their entire day in the Green Zone.
One of the reasons why I like Zones of Regulation is that it states many times throughout the curriculum that every zone is okay. I’ll say it again EVERY ZONE IS OKAY. I ask my students every year if it is okay to be mad and the overwhelming answer is “no”. Why are we teaching kids that it’s not okay to be mad?
You cannot control being mad. What you can control is your body and actions when you are mad. And that’s the core takeaway from Zones of Regulation. You can (and will) feel all the emotions, the way you are feeling is okay. But it is important that you keep yourself and others safe. That you use strategies to control your behavior no matter what Zone you are in.
Teachers, as you roll into the new school year, remember to use Zones to teach kids (or Adults) that all the emotions are okay. The students do not control their emotions, what they can control is their behavior when they are feeling big emotions. So make sure you’re also teaching those preventative (coping) strategies!
For more information on Zones: