Thinking about our "Green Zone"

In the Zones of Regulation program (Leah M. Kuypers, copyright think Social Publishing), the Green Zone is described as when a person is "calm, happy, focused or content".  We need to use tools to help us return to the green zone when we need to get there.

A group of us Early Years counsellors have been meeting together with a wonderful learning coach to find ways to make the teaching of the Zones more meaningful for the students.  This means experimenting and exploring the zones in new ways for us as well!  Below are some of the ideas we came up with. Thanks to the teachers here at Elmdale who allowed me to come in and try something new.

In a grade 1 classroom we tried showing our zones in loose parts, giving us a window into how these kids experienced the various zones in their own inner worlds.

In a grades 3/4 classroom we explored the various places, people and things that help us to feel in the green zone.  The students then demonstrated this through making beautiful "maps" of their green zones, inspired by "My Map Book" by Sara Fanelli.

Image result for my map book

Everyone's green zone will look different - and it's important to understand what it looks like for ourselves.  Sometimes we need a reminder of what can help us return to our green zone when we're under stress.  Helping kids to recognize how, when and with whom they feel calm and peaceful can help them know more what they need to calm themselves down and handle adversity when they face it.

As a school counsellor it was both fascinating and great fun to see what the kids described and demonstrated. I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow school counsellors to brainstorm more ideas to make social-emotional learning more meaningful and applicable for our students.