Playing to learn


Puppets bring Children’s Rights to life in QwaQwa Schools


  • QwaQwa learners learn about their rights and responsibilities through puppets and play

  • The creative learning activity is part of MRP Foundation Schools Programme

  • The Schools Programme is active in 10 Primary Schools in Phuthaditjhaba in the Free State

Human Rights Day presented the perfect opportunity for young learners from ten MRP Foundation supported schools in QwaQwa to learn about their rights and responsibilities as children, through handmade paper puppets.

As part of the Creative Arts component of the holistic Schools Programme, the Grade 2 and 3  learners were taught how to create their paper puppets from recycled materials. Afterwards, they were encouraged to perform a short scene, using their puppets, to illustrate the four rights and responsibilities they had learnt about during class time. These rights have been simplified from the International Bill of Children’s Rights. They are:
  • The right to protection and the responsibility to protect others from harming each other. For example, to stop bullying.

  • The right to a clean environment as well as their responsibility to respect their environment by not littering.

  • The right to respect and the responsibility to respect others. This means listening to their friends and teachers before voicing their opinion.

  • The right to inclusion. Sometimes children need special care for special needs and they have the responsibility to be caring by including everyone and to be the best person they can be.


Peter Court, master puppeteer and Creative Arts Implementation Partner for MRP Foundation’s Schools Programme, explains how puppets are a powerful tool for children to voice themselves — an important part of actioning their rights. “Puppets allow children to have a voice, whilst speaking through a puppet. Through imaginative play, their character, meaning themselves, have a voice.”

To spread the message of Children's Rights even further than the walls of the ten classrooms, a holiday club was set-up in two QwaQwa Schools, where even more young learners were shown how to make a paper puppet, whilst learning about their rights.

Holiday Clubs also provide a safe environment for children to spend time during the holidays. To foster a further sense of community and responsibility, community members were encouraged to participate in the fun activities and help the learners with their creative projects. On March 20 the learners particpated in a Puppet Parade, giving them the opportunity to show off their artistic creations to their community.

The ten Primary schools located in Phuthaditjhaba are all part of the MRP Foundation’s Schools Programme, a holistic education programme designed for learners to unlock and develop their full potential through quality education and holistic interventions including: Physical Education, Maths, Science, English, Creative Arts and Environmental Awareness programmes. Principals and educators are also empowered through internships and workshops, empowering them with professional skills and with content knowledge.

MRP Foundation Schools programme currently impacts more than 64,000 learners in 98 primary schools in the QwaQwa (Free State), Tongaat and Hammarsdale (KwaZulu-Natal), Mitchell’s Plain (Western Cape) and Soweto (Gauteng).