You are on page 1of 3

FEATURE

Grand Erie District School Board


349 Erie Ave
Contact: Delia Loveless
Phone: 519-802-0000
E-mail: delia.loveless@mohawkcollege.ca

Branlyns Colourful Zones Regulate Student Mental Health


Branlyn Community School is seeing an increase in empathy and self regulation
in students with the implementation of Zones of Regulation in classes. The program aims
to help students who often have trouble learning in conventional classroom environments.
While the program has been shown to have multiple benefits for all types of students, it is
primarily focused on those with learning disabilities.
The Zone of Regulation works by giving students a common language for
understanding emotional states. The program focuses on increasing both communication
and empathy within the classroom by helping students understand their emotions. While
this is usually a focus for those with learning disabilities, the program has been found to
benefit all types of students regulate and understand why they may be acting one way or
another.
The Zones are broken into four colours that symbolize states of being. Blue is for
low alertness, feeling tired and w, red is for intense emotions, yellow is for a heightened
state of alertness, with the ability to be in control and green is for a state of calmness or
focus. Green is the state or mind and zone students aim to be in and are found to be at
their most productive.
A student may identify within the zone of blue if they are feeling sad, depressed,
tired or uneasy. One of the ways they learn to regulate this emotion in order to get back to

the green zone is to take a break, have a snack, talk to a friend or teacher, or simply do
something creative like drawing or writing.
When a student identifies within the red zone, they may be feeling anxious, full of
energy, angry or distraught. A student learns to cope within this zone by going for a walk,
playing with a school approve toy, or working on something else until they are able to get
themselves back into the green zone.
Although the Zones allow students to be more independent and relaxed in the
classroom environment when they do their work, the work does not go away just because
the student is not in mindset to be doing work. Both students and teachers know that the
work must still be done at some point within the day.
Zones of Regulation was first introduced to a Junior Strategies Class at Branlyn in
2013. Supported by the classes teacher, Baschee Piyali, she saw a need for her class to
better understand how her student were feeling and why they were feeling a certain way.
After a one-year trial in 2013, the results were so positive that in the 2015-2016
school year, all Grade 3-5 teachers introduced the program into their own classrooms.
The program is flexible based on the commitment of the teacher said Branlyn
principal, Trudy Bell. It can be implemented in smaller ways, or to be used fully, based
on the preferences and needs of the class.
Strategies teacher Lindsay Sheppard, who was one of the first teachers at Branlyn
to use Zones said, The program teaches children resiliency and the ability to understand
themselves so that they can move through the zones and work on the skills as they
progress through school.
One of the main benefits of the Zone of Regulation program is in its ability to be
changed and adapted based on the needs of each student. As Bell puts it, The Zones are

necessary for some students, but are beneficial for all. What she means is that while
some students may need the Zones to be more heavily intertwined within their days,
having the Zones as a common practice within all classes means the students have the
greater ability to be empathetic towards one another. The Zones teachers important
lessons that every student, whether they have a learning disability or not, can utilize in
their everyday lives both at school, home and in their personal relationships.
When asked what kinds of results the school had seen, Principal Trudy Bell said
Weve seen an increase in engagement and an increase in positive change in our
students.
With such positive results in the classes that have implemented the Zones of
Regulation program, Bell says that she expects to see all classrooms at Branlyn
implementing the program by 2019.

-30-