September 27, 2016 01:45 PM

Neil Patrick Harris Instagram

Neil Patrick Harris has gotten his first glimpse of an empty nest — but he’s looking on the bright side!

The actor and husband David Burtka saw their twins Gideon and Harper off to school this month, and they couldn’t be prouder parents.

“My kids started kindergarten yesterday, so I’m in a very hopeful frame of mind,” Harris — who served on the 2016 Global Citizen Festival host committee Saturday in New York — told PEOPLE in a Sept. 8 interview. “Because their brains are about to explode with new ideas!”

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It seems like just yesterday that Harris, 43, and Burtka, 41, brought their daughter and son — who turn 6 next month — home from the hospital, where they were delivered via surrogate.

“We’re constantly encouraging them and trying to teach them to make good decisions,” says the actor, who will star as Count Olaf in Netflix’s upcoming A Series of Unfortunate Events.

And now that their kids are nearing primary school age, Harris can’t wait to watch their young minds expand in school, from “reading words and sentences, choosing books and reading what they want to learn, experiencing teachers and having them teach them about something in a way that I couldn’t, that would make them excited about something,” Harris says.

“I’m pretty hopeful right now,” he adds. “It’s a good time to be alive.”

Longtime partners Harris and Burtka were together for 10 years before marrying in front of their children and close friends and family during intimate ceremony in Italy in 2014.

“Two years ago, [David] and I got hitched,” Harris posted on Instagram earlier this month, commemorating their anniversary. “Best. Decision. Ever. #grateful.”

— Jeff Nelson

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