Levi Lints cannot wait for his first day of school this year.
The plucky 4-year-old is so excited, he has even helped himself to books at the Te Puke Public Library in an effort to start reading.
Mum Monique Lints is incredibly proud but also slightly horrified.
"It's heartbreaking because your baby is growing up before your eyes."
Levi is one of 710 new entrants starting school from today in the Bay of Plenty, joining 54,300 other students returning to the classroom.
He will join brothers Aiden, 8, and Dan, 6, who are already students of Fairhaven School, when he turns 5 in April.
"He is definitely excited. Both of his brothers [are at school] and because he's at kindy and had friends leave to go to school so he's very much 'what's this big school thing? I need to go to this'."
Lints said a recent trip to the library prompted Levi to help himself to a book. When she asked what he was doing he explained that he was going to learn how to read.
"He's got two big brothers to look up to and they are very good teachers, so he's having a crack at reading. He father came home that night and he said 'I'm going to read you a book'. We were both wondering 'what is this?!'.
Meanwhile, Papamoa mum Kylee Christian said her son Ollie had been eagerly waiting through the summer holidays for his first day at school today.
"He turned 5 on December 23 and he was so excited to start school but had to wait through all of the Christmas holidays. He's been like that since he was 3 really."
Ollie has two older brothers and a younger sister.
Ollie is one of 10,580 5-year-olds around the country who will be starting school for the first time this week, according to Education Minister Chris Hipkins.
Hipkins said almost 775,000 students nationwide would be going back to school in the coming week.
"For more than 10,000 5-year-olds and their parents, it will be an even more exciting time as our youngest students go through the school gates for the first time. They'll meet their first school teacher, learn about school routines and make new friends," Hipkins said.
"They will begin learning to read and write and learn about the arts, maths, health, science, social sciences and technology."
Meanwhile, police are urging parents to talk with their children about road safety before school starts, particularly with those who go to school alone.
Operations manager for road policing, Inspector Peter McKennie, said some children forgot road rules during the summer holidays.
"Add to that their excitement about returning to school and seeing their friends and this can mean they will be less alert to the traffic dangers around them," he said.
"It is important to remind them that any time they are crossing the road they must stop, look, and listen for any cars, bikes, or cyclists before they step out."