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How can we learn to recognise and regulate (control) our emotions?

Self- Regulation 

Emotional self-regulation is the ability to understand and manage our own behaviour and reactions. 

Self-regulation helps children to learn, behave well, get along with others and become independent.  


It encompasses:

  • self-control

  • resilience

  • self-management, 

  • anger management

  • impulse control

  • sensory regulation.


A person who can self-regulate is able to: 


• remain calm and organised in a stressful situation. (Executive Functions) 

• cheer themselves up after a disappointment. (Emotional Regulation) 

• know when they are experiencing sensory overload and can make adjustments. (Sensory Processing)  
• Understand when it is appropriate to shout and cheer, and when it is appropriate to be calm and quiet. (Social Cognition)

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How do we teach emotional self-regulation at Wentworth?



In EYFS pupils are shown how to recognise and regulate their own emotions using the Colour Monsters as a starting point.  A range of different texts are used to support this and the children are supported in developing their own toolbox of strategies to help them to regulate their emotions.


YEAR 1 - 6

Building on the important foundations laid in EYFS, we have decided to introduce the Zones of Regulation curriculum into Years 1- 6, to build upon this strong start.  The goal of introducing children to the framework is to help them move towards independent emotional regulation. This is a lifelong skill that they will not only be able to transfer to future educational settings but also use in the relationships and situations they encounter outside of school as they get older.


The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum full of activities to help children to develop essential skills in the area of self-regulation. 

The Zones of Regulation Curriculum teaches children: 


  • Vocabulary of emotional terms 

  • How to recognise their own emotions 

  • How to detect the emotions of others (read others’ facial expressions) 

  • What may trigger certain emotions 

  • How others may interpret their behaviour 

  • Problem solving skills


The Zones  


Blue Zone:     


  • Sad, sick, tired or bored 

  • In a low state of alertness  –  brain and/or body is moving slowly or sluggishly.


Green Zone:    

  • In control, calm, happy and ready to learn 

  • In a regulated state of alertness. 


Yellow Zone:   

  • Worried, frustrated, silly, excited, scared or overwhelmed 

  • More intense emotions and states but able to maintain control

  • In a heightened state of alertness but you still have some control. 


Red Zone: 

  • Elated, angry, wild, terrified. 

  • Very intense emotions

  • In a heightened state of alertness and out of control.

Understanding ZONE Tools:


The Tools 


The children will first be taught a range of regulation strategies (tools):


  • Blue Zone tools help wake up our bodies, feel better and regain focus. 


  • Green Zone tools help us stay calm, focused and feeling good. 


  • Yellow Zone tools help us regain control and calm ourselves. 


  • Red Zone tools: help us stay safe and start to calm down. 


The Toolbox 

The children will then build their own toolbox to help them to regulate each zone.


They will do this by choosing 2 or 3 tools for each Zone that they find the most useful.


This means the children have full ownership of their toolbox helping them to move towards independent regulation.


Sensory strategies

Calming Strategies


Thinking Strategies



More information on the ZONES 


  • Zones of Regulation   App



  • Children's books about emotions         Book Trust       Penguin Books                                

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