Student growth through academics and emotion
By Katie Baskin
Southgate Elementary School Principal
At Southgate, our goal is to establish an atmosphere where children feel safe, feel connected to their school community, and have the maximum opportunity to learn. We want our students to be happy, healthy, and growing academically, socially, and emotionally each day. Parents and educators work together to facilitate this growth and support our students to grow into the amazing young adults we know they have the potential to be.
While the staff at Southgate are working diligently to ensure students are growing academically, we are also focused on helping students regulate their emotions, talk about their feelings, and engage with their peers in respectful and supportive environments. This work focuses on building solid relationships between students and teachers, as well as teaching kids about respect, responsibility, safety, and showing care daily so that students are better able to make positive choices.
The link between emotional regulation and academic achievement is well documented in multiple research studies. Effective emotional management supports a wide range of interpersonal, academic, and mental health benefits for children. This year at Southgate, we are using the Zones of Regulation framework to help students identify how they are feeling in the moment given their emotions and guide them to strategies to support regulation. When students understand how to detect their body’s signals, triggers, and the social contexts around them, they can learn emotion and sensory regulation strategies that enhance their problem-solving abilities.
The Zones approach uses four colors to help students communicate their feelings and how their body is responding to their emotions. Students identify with a color to help others around them understand their state of feeling or alertness.
The Blue Zone is used to describe when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.
The Green Zone is where students learn best; they are calm, happy, focused, or content while being in control of their body.
The Yellow Zone is when a person may be scared, anxious, frustrated, or experiencing stress while still maintaining some control of their body.
Lastly, the Red Zone is used to describe a person that is heightened and angry, explosive, or in a high state of panic.
While students will experience a wide range of emotions during the year, it is imperative to teach them how to handle them and that it is perfectly normal to feel each emotion. At Southgate we all work to have a consistent mode of communication through the Zones of Regulation to better understand how a person may need help or support to be at their best for learning. When students have an adult they trust, strategies in place to support them, and a community who values their individuality, real growth will take place.