There were plenty of smiles – and even some tears – as new primary one pupils in Dundee took their first steps into the classroom this morning.
Schools across the city have welcomed back youngsters after the summer break, and amidst the thousands of pupils arriving at gates were a cohort of brand new entrants to primary one.
Among the schools greeting pupils and parents as they arrived for the first day of school life was St Clement’s RC Primary School in the Charleston area of the city.
And although the continuing Covid-19 restrictions meant that social distancing and staggered start times remained in place, it did not dampen the enthusiasm that always comes with such a special occasion.
“Exciting but a little bit nervous”
One parent who was on hand to help this morning was Mike Miller, whose five-year-old daughter Mia was gearing up for her first day of school.
Although there was some apprehension on the part of the youngster, Mia eventually settled in to her new surroundings.
Mike said: “She was a wee bit nervous but she’s ready for it. It’s never easy leaving your child but I think she will enjoy it.”
Another parent who was at St Clement’s was Coreen Graham. Ms Graham’s daughter Rose, also five, was among those entering the new P1/2 class at the school.
Ms Graham, who also works at the school, was excited to return after the summer break.
She said: “Everyone is excited to be back and see each other which is fun!”
Another five year old arriving at the school for his first time in the classroom was Ralphie, who was eager to meet his teacher and classmates.
Ralphie’s mum said “It’s exciting but a little bit nervous.
“It’s a bit strange that it’s the first time he will get to see his classroom but the teachers have sent video messages and things through the post so that’s made it a bit easier.”
“They’ve all come in so calmly and happy”
The new pupils were also being welcomed to St Clement’s by teachers Jenny Fleming, who teaches the P1 class, and Rachel Steele, who has the P1/2 class.
Due to Covid restrictions, today’s introduction was the first time the teachers had got the chance to meet the new pupils and they were delighted to get the school year underway.
Mrs Fleming said: “The first few weeks will be about getting to know the children.
“Because of Covid, we haven’t been able to do any of the usual meetings we would normally do so there will be lots of activities to do with that.
“We did make a website the parents were able to access and we videoed ourselves and other members of staff and parts of the school so children could get to know us before they came in.
“And they’ve all come in so calmly and happy this morning, it’s been good.”
The first few weeks will see the new primary ones gently eased into school life, with half days and an emphasis on play-based learning so that the new pupils get can get used to being at the big school.
Ms Steele added: “This year we have quite a lot of siblings and Jenny and I have taught their older brothers or sisters so a few of them know us and have heard about us.
“There will be a lot of co-operative learning. In my class I’ll be getting the primary twos paired up with the primary ones to help them transition into the school more smoothly.”