Hanover students are learning about emotional self-control and self-regulation. 

Zones of Regulation, created and authored by Leah Kuypers, is a curriculum that teaches children self-awareness and offers tools to help cope with difficult emotions. 

“To successfully self-regulate, we need to integrate sensory processing, executive functioning, and emotional regulation,” says Kellie Heintz, Occupational Therapist in the Hanover School Division. “And this program encompasses that in some user-friendly lessons that we can use with our students in the school setting.” 

She notes these lessons work well for people of all ages.  

“Yes, we’re using this as students, but a lot of teachers are finding it really helpful, a lot of parents are finding it helpful,” says Heintz. “It’s good for all of us to recognize what zone we are in, needing that time to stop and think about what we’re doing and getting back into the green zone, if need be, to have a more productive day.” 

The colours of blue, green, yellow and red are used to group different emotions into categories. This curriculum is being taught to kindergarten students. Heintz says they are learning the content and using their new-found tools in dealing with difficult emotions.

Kindergarten students sitting on the floor and counting their fingers.South Oaks students are being equipped with a variety of coping strategies to deal with difficult emotions. (Photo Submitted)

“They’re being able to label their emotions, they’re using some of the strategies,” she says. “The one day I went in, one of the students (said), ‘I’m in a bad mood, I’m gonna do five-finger breathing.’ And she just pulled at her fingers and then she started breathing completely unprompted. That shows you that they’re understanding the content. They’re using it independently.” 

Heintz notes this curriculum is being taught to students of all ages throughout the Hanover School Division. 

“It’s really ageless,” she says. “It could be used from kindergarten all the way up to adulthood, right?”  

With the success of this program in kindergarten, Heintz says they have applied for an extension of the grant through the Teacher Idea Fund with the same program outline that would be used for Grade 1 students.