The Zones of Regulation framework was developed by an Occupational Therapist (Leah Kuypers) in 2011. Since then it has been widely adopted across private practice and schools all around the world. The Zones of Regulation teaches students scaffolded skills toward developing self-awareness of their feelings/internal state and utilize a variety of tools and strategies for mindfulness, sensory integration, movement, thinking strategies, wellness, and healthy connection with others.
The Zones of Regulation provides a common language and compassionate framework to support positive mental health and skill development for all, while serving as an inclusion strategy for neurodiverse learners, those who have experienced trauma, and/or have specific needs in terms of social, emotional, and behavioural development.
The Zones of Regulation creates a systematic approach to teach regulation by categorising all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete coloured zones. Students build skills in emotional and sensory regulation, executive functioning, and social cognition. The framework is designed to help move students toward more independent regulation while also honouring and respecting each student and their unique self.
Our students engage in short reflective times throughout the day where they are encouraged to self-identify where they sit within the zones. From here, they may choose to engage in simple individual activities to allow them to be in a headspace where they are ready to learn. Activities are discussed and chosen by the class and may include listening to calming music, colouring in, speaking with the teacher, doing a nature walk etc.