SCHOOL playgrounds were again ringing with chatter and laughter on Tuesday as Gladstone's children returned for a new year of learning.
Continuing in the local tradition of loving an active lifestyle, kids at Gladstone South State School said sport and play were the best things to look forward to in 2014.
For young leaders such as school captain Jett Elmy and vice school captain Mikaela Lillis, 2014 also promises exciting community events they can organise the student body to attend.
"We'll get to do parades and go out on the main street," Jett said.
He was excited about a new meeting that is being set up to facilitate youngsters' leadership projects.
"We're going to talk about stuff to change in the school to make it better," he said.
Asked what he's planning, Jett said he's working on ideas with the other kids.
Aleia Golding is "eight turning nine in September".
Her favourite thing about coming back to school is she has the same teacher as last year.
But by far the most important aspect of the return to school was being reunited with friends after six long weeks of holidays.
Many students were breathing sighs of relief that they hadn't been separated from their classmates of 2013.
Suhail Rezwan is seven years old and likes computer games and gardens.
"My favourite thing is I'm still in the same class, so it's great! It's a bit sad that not all the people are in the same classes because it's good to be with all the same people," Suhail said.
Suhail said he also thought it was good to have new people, and then said he felt confused.
Students appreciate their teachers too.
"The teachers are really nice," said Aleia.
"They helped me to read and write and everything."
Aleia was also excited to play with her little sister.
"I like lunch times and now my sister can play with me because she's in Grade 1 and my brother is too because they're twins," she said.
Kids' parents feel the pressure
THE first day back at school yesterday was a big one for kids, but some parents were nervous wrecks.
New arrival to Gladstone Mana Malo is a mother of three and all her children started school in Gladstone for the first time on Tuesday.
"I've been a bit of a nervous wreck," she said.
"It's their first time here and I'm excited for them, but nervous too because it's all new!"
Staff at Gladstone South State School agreed.
"Some kids were teary this morning, but most were fine. It's mostly the parents who got teary," a staff member said.
Principal Eunice Webb was enthusiastic about this year.
"It was great to see the students back with bright eyes and eager faces," she said.