Tyla-Eva Ferguson has watched her older siblings walk out the door to school one by one.

And now it's her turn.

Tyla-Eva turned 5 in December and will start at Whakarewarewa School this week.

Mum Marcelle Bidois said starting school was a milestone.


"She's looking forward to going to school because that's what 5- year-old big girls do," Bidois said.

"Every morning everyone gets ready for school. She goes to kohanga but it's a milestone she's reached."

Tyla-Eva was looking forward to making new friends at school and enjoys art and drawing.

She is one of 10,580 5-year-olds around the country who will be starting school for the first time this coming week, according to Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

This is out of a total of 63,480 who are expected to start school throughout 2018.

In preparation Bidois has been talking about kura and what to expect at lunchtime and in class.

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Hipkins said almost 775,000 students nationwide would be going back to school in the coming week.

In the Bay of Plenty region alone there is expected to be 54,300 students returning to school, including 710 new entrants.

"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."

Tyla-Eva will make the five-minute walk to school with two of her siblings who also attend Whakarewarewa.

Bidois said the children were confident with the walk and learned to use the pedestrian crossings confidently to cross busy Sala St.

She said other students who live in the area also walk together.

Police are urging parents to have a conversation 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.

"Help them to choose the safest route to get there and do a few practice walks or bikes with them so they are familiar with the route and the safest places to cross.

"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."

McKennie said parents should lead by example when following road rules and other motorists should be aware schools were resuming.

"For motorists in general, remember to keep your speed down and be extra alert in case a child runs or bikes in front of you without warning," he said.

"Even small increases in speed result in a much greater increase in your stopping distance, and that can mean the difference between life and death for pedestrians, so it's vital you slow down around schools."

Rotorua Primary School principal John Naera was expecting a mixture of reactions to the first day at school.

"On the first day some kids are really excited because they're ready to start school, and there are some kids who are scared because of the unknown," Naera said.

"One thing we find is the earlier they make friends, the quicker they settle down. It's the settling period that's most important and parents can help with that."

Naera said some school staff had been preparing for the return of students for more than a fortnight.

All schools around the country will start between January 30 and February 7.