15 baby panda bears go to kindergarten and squeeeeee

It’s back to school season, you guys! Yeah, I know. It sounds like we’re a little late to the scholastic party. But we’re not talking about the regular academic calendar here. We’re talking about PANDA KINDERGARTEN!

Hold up. Pandas actually go to school?! With little panda backpacks and everything? Yes, they do. (Although we’re not so sure about the backpacks. For the record, we’re totally down with that, because cuteness.) But panda Kindergarten is a total thing. And it’s every bit as adorable as it sounds.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China, held a ceremony last weekend for its newest class of panda cubs. The 2016 class of cubs is made up of 15 little pandas (awwww), including six sets of panda twins (double awwww). All of the tiny panda tots were bred via artificial insemination, because panda breeding in captivity is notoriously complicated. During the special ceremony, 13 of the new kindergarteners posed for pictures and lined up in a row on table where they proceeded to look cute, yawn and make every heart within a 100 mile radius explode into candy.  

The Chengdu Panda Base is a non-profit research and breeding center dedicated to conservation. With only 1,800 or so giant pandas left in the wild, the species is listed as endangered. Since its opening in 1987, the Chengdu facility has successfully bred 172 panda babies. (Yay!) They also save sick and starving pandas in the wild and then return them to their natural habitat after treatment. I know 1,800 sounds like a really small number, but as recently as the 1970’s, there were only 1,000 pandas living outside of captivity. So things are improving. Obviously, the new class of panda cubs is a big deal.

Now that they’re old enough to graduate from the breeding center nursery and start kindergarten, what exactly will these precious babies be doing all day? Learning their ABC’s and coloring? Nope. Panda kindergarten isn’t quite as demanding as human kindergarten. The panda cubs will be in a new area where they’re taken care of and pretty much just expected to play with other pandas and be adorable. TBH, it looks like they’re already nailing the adorable part.

Congratulations panda kindergarteners! Where can we sign up to be teachers at this school? Seriously. Where?

Related reading: 

Let’s talk about what we can do to help red pandas

Watch this Panda celebrate its 30th birthday, but only if you like adorable things

[Images via Twitter.]