Over the next couple of weeks students will be heading back to school - some of them for the first time. Northern Advocate reporter Mikaela Collins speaks to teachers, parents and kids about the year ahead.

Bria Isaacs-Neha can't wait for her first day of school.

In fact, her parents Chelsea Isaacs-Mathewson and Joshua Neha said she won't stop talking about it.

"She's been counting down the days and today, just coming in here, she was like 'oh yay, I get to put my school uniform and bag on'," Isaacs-Mathewson said.


"She thought she was going to school today," Neha said.

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Bria turned 5 on January 14 and on February 3 she will start her first day at St Francis Xavier Catholic School in Whangārei.

"She talks about going to big school. So that's going from Kensington Educare to her brother's big school. And also seeing friends that have moved from her Educare to there, those are probably the main things she talks about," Isaacs-Mathewson said.

Last year Bria started He Kakano - a four-week programme which introduces kids to school.

As part of it the children get to meet their teachers and spend time in the classroom while their parents learn all about the school and what they need to do to prepare the children for the change.

"So we've been talking to her about what's going to be happening from the time that we drop her off and that we won't see her and we'll pick her up at this time. I think He Kakano was pretty vital to that lead up. It does help that she has been to that school," Isaacs-Mathewson said.

Isaacs-Mathewson said Bria has been counting down the days until school ever since that He Kakano programme and has been showing off the stationery pack she received.


"She pulled it all out and opened it all and wanted to start writing in it straight away. She then continued to show everyone who came over to our house that she got her stationery pack," she said.

Isaacs-Mathewson and Neha had mixed emotions about Bria, their youngest child, starting school.

"It's quite sad but also happy at the same time. It's like 'yay they're both at school,'" Neha said.