The Self-regulation Station
"Being human is not about feeling happy. It's about feeling everything." - Glennon Doyle, Untamed.
The Drama Studio is a place where children can 'try on' the full range of human emotions, as we are given characters, stories and settings to play with within a safe space. At times, however, the active nature of a particular activity or game can send children into a super excited or silly state, where it may become difficult for them to make a transition back into a reflective, collaborative, or critical mindset.
Self-regulation is a skill we all need, and there are two types of self-regulation.
Behavioural regulation - we can act in our long-term best interest that is consistent with our deepest values. Think about all of the times you have done something that needed to be done even though you didn't feel like doing it, or when you helped somebody else with no benefit to yourself.
Emotional regulation - we can have greater control/influence over our emotions. Think about when you were in a bad mood, feeling extremely angry, or were depressed/sad, and you worked your way out of it and back to a place of calm or acceptance.
In Drama Class we use the Zones of Regulation to support children to more effectively recognise their emotions and manage their behaviours, so that they can get the most out of each activity.
As the second teacher in the room, I inhabit a space off to the side that we can recognise as a 'self-regulation station'. This is a place where anyone can come to sit for a moment to reflect on the zone they are in and the effect of this on how well they can participate in the activity, collaborate with others, and learn. Students are encouraged to recognise their emotions/behaviours themselves, however, at times I may need to call a child over when I have recognised they may need it.
When at the station, the child and I can discuss which zone they might be in and whether or not this is a good match for the environment, task and social expectations of the group. We might do some short activities to help them get into a more appropriate or effective zone, like some brain gym exercises, breathing or body movement.
All of the zones are part of the natural human experience, and none of them are 'right' or 'wrong' - this is reflected in the language used at the self-regulation station. The focus of self-regulation is on recognising and understanding our feelings and behaviours, and working towards managing the zone we are in. This always depends on the environment and people within different contexts, and the associated expectations.