“Traffic Lights”

Young children can be encouraged to express an opinion by the “traffic lights” technique, which has been described in Philosophy with  Young Children – A Classroom Handbook by Philip Cam, Liz Fynes-Clinton, Kathlyn Harrison, Lynne Hinton, Rosie Scholl and Simon Vaseo, Australian Curriculum Studies Association, 2007, Deakin West, ACT, 2600.

I use scissors to cut discs of green red and yellow paper by tracing around a CD. Children as young as three and half can be asked a philosophical question and their answer returned by holding up the green disc for “Yes”, the red for “No” and the yellow for “Don’t Know”, or if one has lively boys “Don’t Care”. (Once boys have held up the yellow disc a couple of times they become so cooperative that the lesson flows easily.)

Twice with different pairs of four-year-old twins each one held up a different disc and justified their opinion splendidly.


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