Sending a child off to school for the first time is never easy.
On the one hand, there's pride at watching those first steps into a wider world, but it's matched with anxiety over how they will cope away from home, possibly for the first time.
Little Alice Crory took her first steps without a care in the world last Tuesday as she headed off to Naiscoil An Lonnáin on the Falls Road, Belfast.
And while mum Elaine said she had no fears over her daughter's big day, she will now have to be kept off school this week as her older sister awaits the results of a Covid-19 test after becoming unwell over the weekend.
"Any nerves I had were more to do with the usual first day fears rather than anything about what's been going on around us all," she said.
"She had attended Sure Start so had been in that social environment, but that all stopped in March. I was keen for her to get back and after four days it couldn't have gone better. She's loved it.
"But it's a lot easier to be starting for the first time," said Elaine. "Alice didn't know what to expect. She had no preconceptions of what school life was like before Covid and children of her age will be much more receptive to any rules and regulations that have been put in place.
"It's her first time in formal education so she won't have known life before restrictions and won't be like some of the older children who will question why they have to do certain things.
"Older kids will have a harder time adjusting. Everything is brand new for Alice and she will be able to follow the rules better.
"But she's a carefree child, so different to her older sister who tends to worry more. She was fearful about the Covid-19 stuff - would she bring it home to Nana or Daddy? I suppose the older you are, the more aware of your surroundings you are. There was none of that for Alice."
Alice, though, will miss out for a few days until a Covid-19 test returns for her big sister.
"It's easy enough to tell her she's not going on Monday," said Elaine.
"She was never sure what days she was going anyway so she'll be fine. Fingers crossed we'll get good news in the next day or so. It has been a bit stressful, but Alice is still really excited about the whole experience."
As Alice sits it out on Monday morning, Carol Strachan will be saying farewell to four-year-old Thomas as he heads off to Our Lady of Lourdes Primary (Park Lodge Primary) in the north of the city.
"He hasn't been in a school environment since March, so missed out on all the social skills he would have learned at nursery school," said Carol, who said he can't wait to get back to life in the classroom having missed out on six months of nursery.
"But he knows a lot of his friends from nursery will be there and he's really excited about getting to play with them all again," she said.
"It will be great for him and though I may have a tear or two letting him go, it's not because of any fears for his safety. Our children need that social interaction and I have no concerns.
"The school have been brilliant in letting us know what to expect as parents, but as this is my first child heading off to school I don't know what it was like before.
"All our children need that social interaction and they've been missing out on it for the past few months. Thomas met his P1 teacher a couple of weeks ago and we're happy to get the family into some sort of routine.
"And I suppose Thomas is lucky hat he's starting P1 right now.
"He won't have any previous experience of what school was like before all the restrictions were brought in.
"For him it will be a normal part of life."