BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "Good morning! Come on in," the teacher told the children and their parents as they walked into class Wednesday morning.
Her cheery words greeted the newest members of the North Bay Elementary School family. Many youngsters had an easy time making new friends and settling in to a new routine.
"Oh, he's excited," said Joseph Crain, as he and his wife hugged their son, Zachary, goodbye. "He's looking forward to going to big boy's school and he's been talking about it all day and all night. He probably doesn't even know we're here.
However, frightened faces and tears were common scenes on the first day of Kindergarten.
"The parents were not as jittery and anxious, but just two parents showed a little bit of tears," said Kindergarten teacher Angie Belisle. "Now last year, all of my parents cried. So it's normal."
"I'm so proud of you," Zandra Brown told her daughter Jalyn.
Jalyn needed those comforting words because she is making a tough adjustment in Biloxi this year.
"This is her first day moving to Mississippi and first day going to Kindergarten," said Brown. "She was excited. I think she's just a little scared right now."
To help shake off the jitters, Belisle injected some fun songs and friendly introductions into the lessons.
"Say good morning Lawton," Belisle told the class.
"Good morning Lawton," the class responded.
"Lots of hugs, smiles, reassurement, great feedback. We play, we live, we learn, we laugh, we wiggle, we jiggle. Everything to set a classroom environment that's conducive to learning," said Belisle.
"Hello neighbor. How do you do? It's going to be a great day at school," the class sang.
Once the little ones overcame their fears and shyness, it was time to hit the books.
"Are you excited?" Belisle asked the children.
"Yes!" they all shouted.
More schools will open up across south Mississippi on Thursday, including the new West Harrison High School and the elementary and middle school complex in Pass Christian.