University of Exeter
Tools for Schools
Regulation station

Regulation station

Key Points

This strategy is about creating and using a visual guide for the student to indicate their emotional state, and to guide you and them on how to increase or decrease their energy appropriately. We think it is useful for several modules in this toolkit. This strategy can be used with the whole class or the toolkit student individually

  • Everyday use with toolkit student
  • Classroom activity
How is this tweaked for flex?

Children you are using flex with may struggle to identify and articulate their emotions, making it difficult to know what activity may help them regulate their feelings to return to being calm. This strategy uses visual tools to help draw out this information and provide ideas for activities to change from one emotional state to another.

  • Read our 1-page primer about emotional regulation, to understand why it is important
  • Look through the ways to change states template and ideas for the regulation station and add ideas that are possible in your classroom setting
  • Use the activity plan and the worksheet to engage students in discussion about different emotions, and link these to the stations on the regulation station (see below for different design options)
  • Make a menu of ideas with the students as to how to change their regulation station, ask home for ideas as to how they calm down or energise 
  • Print out the template that the student or class wants to use and their menu of ideas

  • When you see that the toolkit student is (becoming) emotionally dysregulated, draw their attention to the regulation station and support them to choose what station they are in
  • Ask them what station they want to be at for the next activity, and use the menu to choose something to do to change their mood and energy
  • Make sure you also do this at times when they are not dysregulated, so they don’t see it as just a negative activity!

For example, after breaktime or when changing activity 

  • This can be done with the whole class, giving different activities to those in different stations

For example- if you’re at the orange station, shout out loud, if you at yellow, stand up and spin five times, if you are green, pat your head

  • Once they have finished, ask them how they now feel (what station are they at) and if needed allow a second or third activity
  • Praise them, specifically about what they have done well 

“I really liked how you identified that you were feeling angry, and then you chose to throw pillows in the corner to get back to the calm station. You did a great job recognising your feelings”

  • Use the reflection template to note down how often you have used this over a day and a week, and how the student has responded
  • Have they needed a lot of help to recognise where they are? Do the activities need tweaking or changing to make sure they get to the calm station with one activity (if it is currently taking two or three)?
  • Talk to your SENCo or a colleague each week about how it’s going, and what activities work well for the student
  • As the students get used to the process, they may be able to be more self-directed in using the regulation station, or not. Consider this when you review and think about how you can flex to support them to keep using the system