Carolyn Collings was a relieved mother when her 7-year-old son Jack walked out of his classroom and into her arms. She had been reluctant to let him return to his school when it reopened yesterday for the first time after the deadly quake.
"It was an anxious day because we have had so many aftershocks, and when we get one we think 'oh well, that will be it', but then you feel them again. As an adult, we hope we are going to be all right, but the kids they don't really understand," Mrs Collings told the Herald. "[Jack] didn't really want to come. He would rather stay in the safety of home. But the teachers have all been wonderful. They made him feel very welcome."
When she returned to pick him up, Jack flashed her a "big smile".
"So that's nice."
Jack's school, Yaldhurst Model School, on the western fringe of Christchurch, was among a few outlying Christchurch schools to reopen yesterday, with schools in the urban area to start opening from today.
"I think we are just lucky we have got a school to come back to," Mrs Collings said.
Cathleen Brunt also admitted to some nerves when she dropped her 7-year-old son Matthew off at the school yesterday.
"It was just the shock of not being there ... and being the distance from school to be able to get him if anything happened."
Principal Allan Robertson said the school of 96 pupils added seven yesterday from other schools in quake-hit areas. The children showed no signs of being traumatised.
"They're certainly full of vim. A lot of energy and a lot of stories. They are very happy to be back."
Being on the western edge of Christchurch, the school suffered little or no damage in the latest quake, Mr Robertson said.