Right now, most of us are allowing our kids more screen-time than what we would consider ideal. Between pandemic parenting, remote learning and trying to keep our careers in check, we all need a break — and so do our kids.
But, of course, it’s always easier to feel good about screen time when it has an educational aspect. That’s why so many parents are loving Emily’s Wonder Lab. The show, which premiered Aug. 25 on Netflix, not only has fun science experiments for kids, but it’s hosted by a mom who was 9 months pregnant during filming — that’s right, education and representation all wrapped into one 12-14—minute bundle of quiet time.
The show is hosted by Emily Calandrelli. Calandrelli is an engineer who was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has become an outspoken advocate for women in STEM. Yet, despite her credentials and the fact that she’s spoken at places ranging from Google to MIT, Calandrelli had a hard time bringing her vision for a science show hosted by a woman to life.
“For many years I pitched science shows to large science networks and was unsuccessful,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Sept. 1. “I would receive the feedback that ‘the majority of our audience is male, so we don’t know if they’d relate to a female host.’”
Luckily, Calandrelli was unintimidated by the patriarchy, so she kept at it, even after she became pregnant. Last year, Netflix picked up Emily’s Wonder Lab, and Calandrelli filmed the whole first season (TK episodes) right before giving birth.
“So now there’s a female-led science show on the biggest streaming platform in the world hosted by a pregnant woman — available world wide,” Calandrelli wrote.
Calandrelli has since given birth to a daughter, Rose, who will no doubt love seeing herself on screen in mom’s belly breaking down barriers.
“I’m just… so incredibly proud that my daughter will be able to watch this some day,” Calandrelli wrote. “When I was studying to become an engineer, I was one of 2 or 3 women in classrooms of 50 men. I’m hoping shows like this help change that demographic for her generation.”
Announcing the show on Instagram, Calandrelli was even more enthusiastic.
“This project is something I am incredibly proud of and I can’t wait for you to see it,” she wrote. “Did I mention that I was 9 months pregnant when I filmed it? 😊 There’s going to be a pregnant woman doing science on NETFLIX people!!!! It’s such a dream.”
Earlier in the week, Emily’s Wonder Lab was the screensaver for kids’ profiles on Netflix, essentially ensuring that any kid or parent who logged into the platform learned about the show. Calandrelli was unabashed in sharing that the professional accomplishment was almost as great as motherhood.
“I’ve never been more excited for anything in my life 😱(ok Rose, maybe for you BUT THAT’S IT),” she wrote.
In addition to hosting Emily’s Wonder Lab, Calandrelli is the author of a series of the The Ada Lace Adventures. The series of short chapter books focused on Ada and Nina, third-graders who love to explore science and technology. That’s right — you can even incorporate Emily into your language lessons with some reading.