Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Traffic Lights – a child’s perspective


Wednesday 04 January 2017

‘I feel a bit sad today,’ said my five-year-old daughter when I collected her. ‘Did anything happen to make you feel sad?’ I asked. She had just started primary school and it was a few weeks into the term. She described a behaviour management strategy in place in her classroom, ‘It’s the traffic lights, when you are ‘good’ you stay on green, but if you are being a bit silly you go to orange - that’s your warning. If you still don’t listen you go to red. Red is really bad.’

Traffic light behaviour image - Traffic Lights – a child’s perspective

‘What happens when you go to red?’ I asked.

‘You have to sit on the step at break time. Today Sam was on red and she had to sit on the step. She’s on red a lot, and on the step all the time. How can Sam make friends if she’s always on the step? She can’t play or make friends, she needs friends to help her.’

Sometimes the greatest learning moments come from children’s own observations. All too often young children are dismissed when they struggle to regulate their behaviour. The emphasis is placed on the child to conform and adapt to the environment. However, as adults the responsibility is on us to tune in and adapt our spaces and interactions to support the diverse behavioural needs of all children. Particularly children that are struggling to adapt and transition into new learning spaces. The emphasis should be on understanding the reason or reasons for the challenging behaviour.

Traffic Lights – a child’s perspective

Sam sat on the step alone and watched all the other children play. While the children released their pent up energy from a morning of indoor concentration, Sam sat. While teachers supervised and engaged with other children, Sam sat. While children continued to build friendships, Sam sat. As she sat a little five-year-old watched her and felt sad. She wanted to help, but didn’t know how.


How can a child make friends if they are excluded from play with their peers? How does excluding a child impact on their self-esteem?


Further Reading:
Louise Porter: Young children’s behaviour: Guidance approaches for early childhood educators
2016, 4th edition, Allen and Unwin, Sydney

1 comments Comments

One Response

  1. Ann Keating O'Neill says:

    A system like this in a Primary school will do endless hard to any child’s self esteem, emotional well being, confidence, it is damaging in every way possible. 🙁

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

development(8) Snakes(1) Smiles(1) meals(3) Wrapping paper(1) conference(1) reopening ireland(1) Workplace well-being(1) Return to Work Training(1) Certificate(1) Horizon 2020(1) Children(4) Síolta QAP(1) value(1) ERASMUS+(3) Confidence(1) Twitter(1) Relaxation(1) Digital(1) social media(1) Fabric(1) Music(3) Penguins(1) memories(1) Decisions(1) UNICEF report(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Through the looking glass(1) Change(1) learners(1) World Health Organisation(1) Line-ups(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) First 5 transitions for children award(1) EECERA(1) Snack Time(1) play stories(2) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Celebrations(4) Leprechauns(1) Irish(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Graduate(1) Japan(1) Sustainable(1) Montessori(3) Empathy(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Home Corner(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Budget 2019(2) Child mental health(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) inspiring interactions(1) pablo(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Interactions(3) Digital Devices(1) Aistear(128) Awards 2019(1) Limerick(1) Engagement(1) Motor neuron disease(1) ECEC(3) linc(1) College(1) community(5) Sociodramatic play(1) dogs(1) NCCA(3) Fee Play(1) democratic citizens(1) keezy(1) Early Years(1) apps for children(1) Visual Impairment(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Flowers(1) Syria(1) Builders(1) Trade union(1) Environment(2) Super Shed Stories(2) Light table(1) Capable(1) Mathematicians(1) movement behaviours(1) Facebook(1) Playdough(1) risk(2) dining experiences(1) Degree(1) friendships(1) Laughter(1) emotional environment(2) Appreciation(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Role play(1) curriculum(5) Shoes(1) SPICE Framework(1) ECEC Setting(2) early life(1) Pre-School Services(1) role playing(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Workplace Relations(3) Early Years Educators(3) Budget 2018(1) Easter(1) Training(2) code of ethics(1) Inclusion(3) bonds(1) Mo Scéal(1) Adoption(1) planning(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Social Skills(1) Advocacy(1) Magda Gerber(1) educating(1) Settling in(4) Graduation(1) Children's Voice(1) Book Review(1) Workforce(1) Treasure(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Xbox(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) relationships(18) Exclusion(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Positivity(1) Document Learning(1) Health(2) ELC(1) Malaguzzi(1) Seas Suas(1) Recycle(1) child-centred approach(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Patterns(1) Covid response(2) Meet the Members(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Breathing(2) science week(2) trust(4) Mud kitchens(1) Eritrea(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Mount Everest(1) Italy(1) Early Learning and Care(1) art of the relationship(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Budget 2020(1) gender bias(1) NAEYC(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) june29(1) Engineers Week(2) Thank you(1) Sustainability(3) staying connected(1) Traffic Lights(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) INTO(1) RIE philosphy(1) Vertical grouping(1) Socioemotional development(1) Educators(2) Seanchaí(1) Counting(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Plastic(1) Maths Week(1) dining(1) Building Resilience(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Masterclass(2) Tuscan Approach(2) Kilkenny(1) experience(1) Giraffe(2) Professionalisation(5) routine(2) School Age Childcare(1) Engineering(3) learning(19) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Rituals(1) racism(1) Self Help Skills(1) conversations(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Window(1) Dance(1) continual professional development(1) books(4) SAC(1) Family(1) Games(1) Gardening(1) Decision Making(1) Blocks(1) Competent(1) Human Resources(1) early childhood(1) babies(7) Arithmetic(1) Whole Group(1) Online(1) Maths(6) interacting(2) Laugh(1) Thanks(1) PIP(1) listen(1) ReCreate(2) Children and families(1) education(2) outdoor environment(1) annual conference(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Exploring(1) democracy(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) STEM(3) Love(3) Magic(1) grandchild(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Halloween(2) worries(1) Vietnam(1) Wendy Lee(3) education system(1) awards 2020(1) Supernanny(1) under 3's(3) learning hub(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Margy Whalley(1) Biting(1) Mental Health(4) Queues(1) Employee(1) healthy eating policies(1) Leargas(1) responsive relationships(1) preschool(4) UN(1) children development(1) Painting(1) eating(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Irish guidelines(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Childhood(1) parents(6) Academics(1) environments(1) Body Language(1) Mantra(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Loss(1) developing motor skills(1) Prexit(1) Summer(1) Policy(2) Wesco(1) christmas(9) Inter-generational(2) Children's Rights(3) dublin(2) Playschool(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Brain(1) San Miniato(4) Arts(1) child-centric(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Christmas Creativity(2) Sequins(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Bereavement(2) Treasure Chest(1) New Appointments(1) Investment(2) Participation(2) Awards Night(1) Primary School(2) Trade Unions(1) Quality(4) Time Out(1) Cognitive development(1) creche(1) emotional well-being(1) Mayo(1) Storytelling(7) The Lullaby Book(1) Independence(1) research submissions(1) Weather(1) UNCRC(2) National Awards 2019(1) Titles(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Study Trip(1) Story(2) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Norway(2) ECCE(7) stories(3) Our Little Seed(1) Inspections(1) Administrative Burden(1) Siolta blog(8) early years research(2) Mixed age groups(3) learning bias(1) outdoors(4) Child Care(1) EM Standing(1) emotions(2) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) curiosity(3) Ariana Pucci(1) UD(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Celebrate(1) ears(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Infection Control(1) Kids Own(1) play pods(2) Affordability(1) Care routines(1) Behaviour(3) structure(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) online training(1) Scents(1) Culture(2) Staff Motivation(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Confident(1) Obesity(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Arlene Forster(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) COVID-19 landscape(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Inspirational(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) GDPR(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Traditions(2) Exit interview(1) Leadership(1) Autism(4) aistear blog(3) Challenges(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) TOY Programme(1) Rich Documentation(1) Pen green(1) Trigonometry(1) Awards(2) Names(1) Research Seminar(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Stress(2) Covid19 crisis(1) Sport(1) Síolta(131) journey(1) children’s learning(1) peer group(1) University(1) coronavirus(1) Learning journals(1) risk assessment(1) ICBN(1) COVID-19(13) Jenga(1) Upcycling(1) social science(1) Favouritism(1) childcare services(1) Diversity(1) Reflective Practice(1) play(35) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Albert Einstein(1) mushrooms(1) The Jelly King(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Magnavacchi(1) preschool settings(1) research(6) collaboration(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Opportunities(1) baby room(1) Map(1) First 5(1) Scéalta Blog(103) Orla Kenny(1) bloom app(1) Loving Relationships(2) Early Years Education(1) life long learning(1) Performance Management(1) Glitter(2) GoToMeeting app(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Reading Time(1) risky play(2) Early Childhood Ireland(6) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Universal Design(2) Inspiring Practice(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Your place(1) Buddy Bench(1) Nutrition(1) imotion(1) Creative(1) Belonging(3) Design(1) Routines(2) HR(1) Communicating(1) Large Doll Play(1) Creativity(5) Winter(1) Awards 2018(3) Technology(3) Learning Stories(9) man up(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Interaction(1) Self-regulation(1) Proceedings Journal(1) supportive environments(2) Time(1) Learning Story(1) educarer(1) toddlers(3) overhear(1) Grief(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) iOS(1) Small World Play(1) phone apps(1) Sessional service(1) refugees(1) MECPI(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Impact(1) Academic Skills(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Thinking(1) Care-giving routines(1) Party(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Youtube Series(1) EECERA 2016(1) feisty(1) Shapes(2) reading(5) DES Inspection(1) outdoor space(3) Exploratory Play(1) maternity health(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) pets(1) Funding(1) Wilenski(1) Santa(2) Death(2) early years learning(1) communication(4) Children's Research Network(1) Sculptures(1) Maternity Leave(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Meal time(1) First 5 strategy(1) Mealtimes(1) story time(2) Little Buddies(1) Teamwork(1) Event Guide(1) Iraq(1) primary education(1) Learning Journal(2) early childhood educator(2) respect(5) Exercise(1) Mindfulness(3) keep in touch(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) youdoodle(1) Running(1) European Project(1) Iceland(1) AsIAm(2) United Nations(1) Cork(1) Book Club(2) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Yoga(1) animals(2) Anthony Semann(1) lockdown(1) National Holiday(1) Wonder(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Nonverbal(1) Afghanistan(1) Maynooth(1) Inter-generational learning(2) scéalta(50) National Awards 2018(2) outdoor play(6) CIT(1) National Pyjama Day(1) play therapy(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Covid pandemic(2) Art(6) Anxiety(2) science(3) Oireachtas(1) Spiders(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Interests(1) RTE Investigates(1) Well-Being(10) Online Research Symposium(1) Infectious diseases(1) CCTV(1) Snacks(1) mental health problems(1) MA(1) Gratitude(1) CPD(1) Kerry(1) reopening(1) AIM(2) Fantasy play(1) Pretend Play(1) Sleep(1) Frustrations(1) show and tell(1) gender stereotype(1) Equality(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Plants(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Craft(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Consent(1) Imagination(3) Buddies(1) documentation(4) Ceremony(1) Valentine's Day(3) Valerie Gaynor(1) Intention(1) Performing(1) family time(1) purpose(1) play pod(1) Mark Twain(1) Qualifications(1) behavioural science(1) Lego(2) DCYA(6) food(1) E.coli(1) Elders(1) Maria Montessori(1) Pobal(1) Family wall(1) Community involvement(1) Communications(1) International Narratives(1) Identity(5) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) listening(1) Sweets(1) Reggio(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Feeding(1) Photographs(1) IGL(1) TRAP(1) Potential(1) Childcare(3) Recycling(2) Trick or treat(1) Maynooth University(2) budget(1) transitions(10) blog(47) Pedagogy(2) Touch(1) Self-Esteem(1) Visitors(1) Drawing(2) Support(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine