Selected Projects / Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School 2017/18: Communication Design to Support Self-Regulation

In the past years, HDL has partnered with Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School (KGMS) to promote students’ self-regulation, or the ability to monitor and control behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. The objective of this year’s project was to build upon existing resources and materials at KGMS to design communication materials that will support a consistent messaging of self-regulation at KGMS. The final deliverables included a new visual language and set of characters for self-regulation which have been applied to a range of flexible resources including cue cards, posters, worksheets, and digital materials for students and teachers.

Currently, KGMS primarily uses two resources to implement self-regulation in the classroom: Zones of Regulation and Stickids. Zones of Regulation, developed by occupational therapist Leah Kuypers, categorizes emotions and level of alertness into four color categories: blue, green, yellow, and red. Stickids, produced by Community Therapy Associates in Alberta, is a collection of stick figure images representing physical activities that support sensory integration, sensory processing, and sensory motor challenges. However, not all teachers have been given access to these two resources. As a result, they have been creating their own visual materials to teach self-regulation in the classroom, and delivering its message in inconsistent ways. Inconsistent messaging can cause confusion among students on what self-regulation is, and how they may practice it. Furthermore, the stick figures of Stickids do not successfully communicate the physical activities recommended for self-regulating.

This project aimed to redesign Stickids to improve its clarity, and design a set of communication materials for all teachers to use. Key objectives for this project were to create materials that could be delivered in a format that were easy for teachers to access, reproduce, and modify as necessary. This design work targets students in divisions 1 to 8, which is equivalent to grades K-7.

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