Hundreds of new entrants will be among the thousands of Bay youngsters heading to school this week.

There is just one more sleep to go for Harlow Stapleton, who has waited months to be old enough to attend school like her big sister Shya.

The Greerton youngster, who turned 5 on Saturday, will be a new entrant at Greenpark School when the school opens tomorrow.

Harlow said she was looking forward to going to school, but would miss her mate Lauren from Maungatapu Daycare and her teachers.


"I will also miss playing with [brother] Mack," she said.

When the Bay of Plenty Times visited her and her mother Kirsty Stapleton at their home on Friday, a mixture of emotions washed over Mrs Stapleton.

"I don't know whether Harlow's more excited than nervous. She has a completely different personality than her older sister Shya, and doesn't talk about going to school. She's a little bit more cautious and very clingy.

"When I was working I used to take her to daycare three days a week.

"Almost every time she would become upset when I went to leave, and the teachers used to have to pull her off me.

"So I really don't know how she's going to be on her first day at Greenpark."

Mrs Stapleton said she was also a bit nervous about letting her daughter go, but husband Guy had tried to reassure her Harlow would be all right when she got into a routine.

"I'm very glad our Shya is attending the same school," she said.

"It will be a bit weird and a bit sad not having Harlow at home with me during the day, but I still have my 17-month-old son Mack to look after and keep me busy."

Shya, 6, who begins Year 3 this year, said she couldn't wait to get back to school.

Mrs Stapleton said she and her husband had been preparing Harlow for school.

"I read to her every night and she points to the letters. Harlow knows all her A, B, Cs, and can do a little bit of counting and do some sums," she said.

The bright-eyed youngster showed off her new school uniform, new sneakers, backpack and drink bottle - all ready to make her school debut.

A Ministry of Education spokesperson said the Ministry could not provide the exact numbers of new entrants starting school this week in the Western Bay region until the March 2016 roll returns were processed, usually sometime in May.

"We estimate that around 6100 Year 1 to Year 13 students will start at Western Bay of Plenty schools at the beginning of the school year, and around 450 Year 1 students will start school some time during the year," the spokesperson said.

The ministry's head of sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey, said nationwide 61,820 5-year-olds were expected to begin their primary schooling sometime during the year.

- Send in photos of your 5-year-olds' first day at school to
Bay of Plenty region: Projected school roll in 2016

* Year 1 (start of school year): 690

* Year 1 (entire school year): 4150

* Year 1-13 (start of school year): 52,800

Source: Ministry of Education