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Have you heard of the Red and Green Learning System? It's a wonderful program that uses a multi-modality teaching approach to teach children about their behaviors and social skills. 

The following activity will help you introduce and explain this innovative system to the youngsters with whom you work.


Show your child or student a traffic light.  I prefer to draw a happy face in the green circle, a neutral face in the yellow circle and a sad expression in the red circle. 

Ask her what she sees.  Let her tell you anything and everything she notices on the page.  All answers are acceptable.  At some point, I try to elicit from the student that she notices a traffic light.

I then tell the child that our behaviors are like the traffic light.  Red behaviors need to stop, green behaviors need to start or continue to happen, and yellow is for emotions for which we must slow down.  (We teach children about their emotions in Session #5 of our Social Skills Training Course.)

I then elicit from the student her red and green behaviors and write them down and/or draw pictures of them. 

Since self-awareness is the key to self-control, this first step is a powerful one in that it creates a clear and vivid awareness to the child about her behaviors.

Interestingly, for many children with whom we work, sometimes this step alone creates a dramatic change in their behavior especially for those students who are in regular ed schools and are self-motivated to do better socially.  Oftentimes, these children express a strong sense of relief that they finally have clarity on what is expected of them! 

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