Play It Fair! A Human Rights Education Toolkit for Children

Montreal-based international organisation Equitas has developed Play It Fair!, which is an easy to use education toolkit. The toolkit helps to increase an understanding of human rights, respect for diversity and peaceful conflict resolution in 6-12 year old children. Play It Fair! is used in non-formal education programs such as summer camps or after school activities. The toolkit also offers transformative human rights education programs in Canada and around the world, providing individuals with the necessary tools to shape attitudes and positive behaviours, thus contributing to lasting social change.

The toolkit offers more than 60 games designed to help children learn about inclusion, respect, fairness, acceptance and cooperation. As a prevention tool, it promotes positive values and encourages the development of an environment that fosters inclusion, respect and cooperation. And, as an intervention tool, it provides constructive responses to conflict and supports staff to address challenging situations related to bullying, cliques, and exclusion.

Human rights education

The toolkit activities support the integration of human rights values into children’s attitudes and behaviours, helping them understand the impact they have on others. Children are encouraged through group discussions to reflect on the activities, reinforcing their self-esteem and leadership skills and building their capacity to solve their own conflicts. This results in healthy social development and a sense of belonging.

Staff trained in Play it Fair! also benefit as the toolkit improves their ability to promote human rights values and peaceful conflict resolution through the activities. The toolkit has two sections. A References section contains 23 Reference Sheets to help those using the Toolkit to become familiar with human rights principles and values, and to learn how to make the best use of the Toolkit. And, an Activities section contains 63 activities indexed by age, value and issue. An abbreviated version, the Pocket Toolkit, is also available.

Play it Fair! globally

Since 2011, the Play it Fair! program has reached over 500,000 children and has been implemented in over 550 summer camps, class rooms and after-school programs across Canada. Internationally, there has also been great interest in Play it Fair! and the program has been piloted with organisations in Haiti, the Middle East, North Africa and Indonesia.

The toolkit was translated into Arabic by Amnesty International in Jordan and eighteen human rights educators were trained in the use of the toolkit. They in turn are training youth workers across the Middle East. In Indonesia, in collaboration with the Center for Pesantren and Democracy Studies, teachers from eight pesantrens (religious boarding schools) were trained in its use. The toolkit has been translated and revised to include local games and reflect the realities of the region.

Play it Fair! has been recognised as a best practice in A Compendium of Good Practice: Human Rights Education in the School Systems of Europe, Central Asia and North America by the Council of Europe, OSCE ODIHR, UN OHCHR and UNESCO and the Good Ideas in Integration on the Cities in Migration website.

The success of Play It Fair! has also inspired Equitas to develop its Speaking Rights program for youth aged 13-17.

Author: Helen Davidson


Author: Helen Davidson

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