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Tiger Primary School

Zones of Regulation

The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control created by Occupational Therapist Leah M. Kuypers.

We use Zones of Regulation across the school. We have found that it has helped us to develop a common language across the school through which to discuss emotions and behaviours. 

Teachers share the content of the curriculum flexibly with their classes in line with their age and stage of development and in response to the needs of the cohort. Some individuals and small groups work more intensively with the materials to support their particular needs. Some content is covered in assemblies for the whole school to access. All classrooms have the Zones on display.

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What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation can be described as the ability to adjust your level of alertness (including your senses, emotions and impulses) to fit the situation you are in and express this through socially appropriate behaviours. For example, the level of alertness required to read a book in a library and that needed to compete in a football match are very different, and the socially expected behaviours in each situation would also differ. It encompasses the skills of self-control, resilience, anger management, impulse control and sensory regulation.


‘The Zones of Regulation' explained

  • A framework to simplify how we think about and manage our feelings and states
  • A supportive teaching tool
  • It categorises complex feelings and states into four coloured ‘Zones’
  • It improves the ability to recognise and communicate feelings in a safe, non-judgemental way
  • It helps develop ‘tools’ to move between Zones

It is not:

  • A discipline model or behaviour approach
  • Punitive or shaming of negative behaviours

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The Zones

The Blue Zone: a low energy state where the ‘slow’ feelings reside, e.g. sad, tired, bored, sick

The Green Zone: the optimum state for the classroom and includes feelings such as: happy, calm, focused, proud

The Yellow Zone: a high energy state where the ‘fizzy’ feelings are found, e.g. excited, frustrated, anxious, silly

The Red Zone: an ‘out of control’ state including feelings such as: angry, aggressive, terrified, elated

  • There is no ‘bad’ Zone, all Zones are ‘expected’ at different times and in different circumstances
  • You can be in more than one Zone at a time
  • Some emotions may fall into more than one Zone

Key Language

  • Toolbox: a collection of calming and alerting strategies a child can draw upon (can be a literal toolbox or a collection of known strategies)
  • Tools: calming or alerting strategies that support self-regulation
  • Trigger: something that causes the child to become less regulated and increases the likelihood of going into the Yellow or Red Zones
  • Stop, Opt, Go: a concept to aid children in controlling impulses and problem solving better solutions
  • Expected behaviours: behaviours that give those around you good or comfortable thoughts about you
  • Unexpected behaviours: behaviours that give people uncomfortable thoughts about you
  • Inner Critic: negative, self-defeating thoughts
  • Inner Coach: positive, helpful thoughts


Tiger Primary School is part of Future Schools Trust.

Future Schools Trust Registered Office: Hubbards Lane, Linton, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 4HX. Future Schools Trust: Registered in England, No. 06272751 a company limited by guarantee.