It’s always fun when someone reaches out to share a message with us about how they’re using The Zones in their school, at home, or in private practice.
We recently received an email from Frank Daley, a school social worker at the Bethlehem Central School District in Delmar NY, near Albany. Frank shared an inspiring YouTube clip featuring 2nd graders at Eagle Elementary discussing The Zones and how it’s helped them.
In connecting with Frank to learn more about his school and how they use The Zones, he explained that all the five elementary campuses in the district have a Coordinated Care Team consisting of a Social Worker, School Psychologist, and a School Counselor. Each professional works with various students or groups of students based on their needs. As the School Social Worker, Frank interacts with the entire student body, mostly in Tier 1 and 2 settings. Depending on what his students need, he’ll implement a quick Zones-related strategy to support his Care Team colleagues’ efforts and, in his words, ‘to make the concepts real’ for students. That might include a quick Zones Check-In, leading a meditation exercise, or it could be as simple as reminding students to take a deep breath. The school-based care teams were established about five years ago and are now well-entrenched in the day-to-day life of the school but that wasn’t always the case.
Frank explained that the process of implementing The Zones schoolwide was slow and steady. Interestingly, he noted, that parents were on board more readily at first than his colleagues were. Then, almost as a stroke of luck, Frank decided to prepare a wagon loaded with Zones related tools for students to use outside during recess. When his colleagues saw for themselves how helpful it was for students to regulate and to be using a common vocabulary without being prompted by Frank or another adult, the implementation really began to flourish.
Frank often combines The Zones strategies and concepts with the work of Move Mindfully (www.move-mindfully.com). As you could see in the short video, these days he’s often meeting with students in corridors, in classrooms and occasionally in offices. He remembers several years ago a father called to ask “What’s the Blue Zone?” compared to the present level of understanding. Now Zones language is so embedded in the culture of the school he barely has to explain the concepts to anyone, including support staff. When Frank tried to provide a quick overview to a new recess monitor, she responded that it wouldn’t be necessary because her grandchild is a student in the district, and he taught her about The Zones at home.
If you have a Zones story to share, we would love to hear from you. Send a short email to email@example.com and feel free to include photos or a video clip. We won’t post anything without your written permission.