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A new kind of kindergarten design encourages kids to be their silly selves.

Thinking about what young students really need caused a major do-over for what a kindergarten could look like.

What does a school do with 5- and 6-year-old kids?

The old answer was coax them into little chairs — at least until “creative time" — keep 'em relatively organized, and keep a lid on their natural enthusiasm. Basically a constant riot-control situation. And a first taste of standardized education.

But kindergarteners don't need to be forced to learn — really, they can't stop learning.

So educators in Tokyo had a different idea.

Architect Takaharu Tezuka explains in a TEDx Kyoto talk how one school created a kindergarten that doesn't fight against kids' natural impulses. It counts on them.


The roof is a giant ring of a playground. Why? Kids love to run in circles.

The single, continuous classroom has no walls.

Teachers asked kids to use crates to create their own areas, but somehow it didn't quite manage to get done.

The design has child psychology in mind.

Kids can get anxious when they feel walled-in or constrained. That doesn't happen here. And since little dynamos thrive in environments with lots of noise, they've come to the right place — there are no acoustic barriers.

“The principal says, 'If the boy in the corner don't want to stay in the room, we let him go. And he'll come back eventually because the circle comes back.'" — Takaharu Tezuka


This shows the rambling travels of one little boy over the course of just 20 minutes. Over the course of his entire morning, he covered 6,000 meters, or 3.7 miles!

Things are deliberately a little risky.

Parents have a hard time figuring out how much protection is too much protection. But children, Tezuka says, “need to get some injury. That makes them learn how to live in this world." And so, he says, there needs to be a “small dosage of danger."

Should all kindergartens be like this?

Dunno. But there's a lot of discussion these days about standards-based teaching and why our kids don't seem to be learning as much as they need to.

This refreshingly creative and successful take on kindergarten is at least a reminder that there's still a lot to learn about educating children, especially at this miraculous young age.

Here's how the kids spend their day.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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Photo by Rusty Watson on Unsplash

A few simple tweaks to go from "Yuck!" to "Yum!"

Sure, you might find an adventurous 3-year-old who enjoys sushi and salads from time to time. But generally speaking, toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. If a meal strays even an inch beyond the comfort zone of french fries and grilled cheese, it’s a hard no. Followed by tears. Or maybe screaming. Or both.

However, Emma Hubbard, a pediatric occupational therapist, is convinced that even the finickiest kid can be coaxed into expanding their palate with just a few simple yet effective tweaks.

As Hubbard mentions in her video, new food isn’t just unpleasant for toddlers—it’s downright scary. “Toddlers have a genuine fear of trying new food,” she said, which explains why they have such a visceral fight-or-flight reaction and “become overwhelmed and run away, have a tantrum, or shut down.”

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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Education

She quit teaching, works at Costco, and has 'never been happier.' That says something.

Maggie Perkins' viral videos and unique perspective have ignited the conversation around teacher attrition.

Maggie Perkins doesn't miss having a winter break.

Maggie Perkins loves teaching, loves teachers and loves students. In fact, she loves them so much that working on her Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Practice. Her research is focused on teacher attrition, examining why quality, experienced teachers quit the profession—something she understands all too well since she recently became one of them.

The former educator now works at Costco and she says she's never been happier. Her migraines are gone. Her anxiety has improved. She sleeps through the night. As an entry-level employee, she makes less money than she did teaching, but not enough less to make a difference in her financial situation. She goes home from work happy at the end of the day.

Perkins has been sharing the contrast in working conditions between the classroom and Costco on her TikTok channel and it is eye-opening, to say the least.

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The Late Late Show with James Corden/Youtube

The instructors were ruthless.

If you’re not familiar with James Corden’s popular "Toddlerography" segment, you’re in for a treat.

As the name suggests, celebrity guests on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” take a dance class taught by kiddy instructors. Sure, the “students” are usually pretty seasoned performers, like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, and Jason Derulo, but their experience doesn’t make learning the moves any less intense. Anyone who’s tried to keep pace with a toddler knows it’s a helluva workout.

Billy Porter was the latest guest invited to participate in this wholesome fitness trend, and he did not disappoint.

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via Freepik

A new mother struggling with postpartum depression.

We may be just months away from having the first-ever pill to help treat postpartum depression (PPD). The drug, called Zuranolone, was developed by Sage Therapeutics and Biogen, two companies out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The FDA has given the drug’s application priority review and the period ends on August 5, 2023.

Currently, there is only one FDA-approved medication for PPD, Zulresso, which is only available through a 60-hour, one-time infusion and can cost up to $35,000 per treatment.

If the medication is approved, it can also be used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD).

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