Time for a GreenKidz magazine

December 2023

“In 2015, the GreenKidz Foundation launched its inaugural educational program on waste, litter, plastic, and recycling. A dedicated and passionate team subsequently engaged thousands of children and hundreds of teachers across Curaçao with interactive, multilingual guest lessons on nature and environmental care. Now, Maya Mathias, the GreenKidz coordinator, is ready to pursue the dream that started it all: a Kids Magazine for the entire Kingdom. Is the time finally right?

Written by Eva Breukink

Maya Mathias’ head is a pressure cooker of ideas that continuously emerge. And they come to fruition, as she has been making it happen for nine years. A lesson ‘Kòrsou Limpi’ (Clean Curaçao) about waste and litter, a tree project in Jandino Asporaat’s Hòfi Mango park, a Coral Heroes lesson with Carmabi, or an engaging lesson about mosquitoes. Now, she believes, it’s time for the next step: a unifying and inclusive Kids Magazine for children within the Kingdom.

1. How did the idea of GreenKidz originate?

Mathias: “In 2005, my husband, son, and I emigrated to Curaçao. We participated in the Curaçao Clean-Up every year as a family. My son was baffled. How could people just discard their waste in the mondi (the natural environment) and tarnish their island? Cars, washing machines, construction debris, and dead pets. He just couldn’t understand it. I wanted to do something about it.”“I immediately thought of a Kids Magazine. As a writer and educator, I am at my best when these two competencies converge. I proposed it to the Curacao Clean-Up organizers, but they preferred an educational program focused on litter and recycling, aimed at raising children’s awareness from a young age about waste, litter, and pollution, and how to prevent it.” That program was created and became a surprising success from Banda Riba to Banda Bou.”

2. How inclusive is the GreenKidz Foundation?

Mathias: “Since 2015, thousands of students in Curaçao have participated in our guest lessons. These lessons remain extremely popular in both regular and special education. We maintain close relationships with all special education schools in Curaçao, as we believe it’s crucial for our guest lessons to be accessible and inspiring to every child. We were inclusive before it became a buzzword. Each year, we donate a thousand GreenKidz activity books or coloring books to all special education students in Curaçao.”

3. Is the time now ripe for a GreenKidz Magazine?

Nearly a decade after GreenKidz’s inception, Maya revisits the idea of a Kids Magazine. Is the time right now? She believes so: “All the pieces are falling into place. We’ve already created so much: programs, teaching materials, concepts for inquiry-based learning. Everything is freely available on our website, but I want to digitize it further for the entire Dutch Caribbean. Modern tools and techniques make this increasingly feasible and affordable.”

4. What will GreenKidz look like in the future?

“I envision GreenKidz evolving into a digital hub for children, educators, and schools. Existing teaching materials will be given a modern digital twist. Children in our region often lack laptops or iPads, but they do have mobile phones. We already stand out with our interactive and investigative teaching programs. Further digitization will enrich this concept. Through our platform and a GreenKidz app, students should be able to independently explore using multilingual e-learns, games, and our Kids Magazine.”

5. Why does GreenKidz believe in Blended Learning?

Mathias: “Blended Learning involves the integration of traditional and digital teaching methodologies. This approach aligns with our Caribbean reality. In our education system, you see a mix of traditional, classroom-based methods and gradually increasing digitization. Therefore, our magazine should be accessible both online and offline. A physical, colorful Kids Magazine received at school is a treasure for many Caribbean children who don’t have their own devices. Such a magazine connects children across the Kingdom, highlighting their shared experiences.”

6. Why does GreenKidz want an online and offline Kids Magazine?

“The magazine will cover a range of topics from environmental issues to obesity, and even tropical storms and hurricanes, all relevant to our region. The digital world offers many possibilities, like online ZOOM meetings where Curaçao students can interact with classes on Saba or Texel. What’s happening there, and what are they doing about it? We’re also considering an editorial team comprising children from each island. An innovative, multilingual Kids Magazine created for and by children within the Kingdom.”

7. Why does GreenKidz deliberately choose a Caribbean look?

“We focus on both content and form. Our materials have a distinct Caribbean look, making them highly recognizable and appealing to local children. They resonate with their language and life experiences, aiding better understanding. We also bring global perspectives. For instance, when discussing litter, we talk about local recycling companies and World Clean Up Day. In discussions about aluminum reuse, we mention the artworks of Yubi Kirindongo and the Chrysler Building’s roof in New York.”

8. How does GreenKidz appeal to children and teenagers?

“Our approach is always positive, focusing on empowerment. We encourage pride in oneself, one’s school, and one’s island. You can make a real difference, even in small ways. We avoid being preachy. Instead, we initiate discussions, encouraging students to form their own opinions and collectively reflect on their behavior. What do they observe around them, and what are their thoughts? This approach resonates with young people. We engage teenagers in mind-mapping exercises to brainstorm ideas for a litter-free island and conduct mosquito scavenger hunts with preschoolers on school grounds. Where are the mosquito breeding grounds?”

9. What is GreenKidz particularly proud of?

GreenKidz has become a mainstay, and Maya is proud of that. “Many initiatives come and go, but we persist. Since 2015, we’ve achieved much. I constantly seek collaborations with nature organizations, school boards, role models, and sponsors. It’s not easy, but I firmly believe in it. The African proverb says it best: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ GreenToddlers, GreenKidz, GreenTeens, and GreenTeachers. All these students and teachers, volunteers, partners, and sponsors ultimately become ambassadors of our foundation.”

10. What will GreenKidz focus on in the coming years?

“Children often express indignation about their parents’ behavior after our guest lessons. We tell them: ‘You are now a GreenKid. Your parents never had our lessons. You can explain why throwing beer bottles out of the car is wrong and how to protect our coral reefs.’ GreenKidz ignites a love for nature and environmental stewardship among children, which is not yet the norm in our region. Our motto is ‘Changing the mindset of generations.’ An inspiring and inclusive Kids Magazine for all children in the Kingdom will undoubtedly contribute to this mission.”

The GreenKidz Foundation was established in 2015 with the goal of ‘Changing the mindset of generations’. In recent years we have reached thousands of students and hundreds of teachers with modern, multilingual environmental education. In the coming years we will focus on young people throughout the Dutch Caribbean with innovative nature and environmental education and (digital) learning programs.

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GreenKidz Foundation | Kaya Abrahamsz 21 | MCB nr.: 27502502 | +5999 528-0445 |