Tracey Briggs registered her daughter at Albion Elementary even before she and her family moved to Maple Ridge.
While house-hunting in May, for their move from Regina, the Briggs were told by their realtor to register early to guarantee a spot at the school.
"She encouraged us to do it immediately," Briggs said.
Luckily, they were able to secure one of the last five spots in the east Maple Ridge school, which over the past few years has been bursting at the seams.
And on Tuesday, her daughter Jenna Briggs started Grade 5 and Tracey was relieved it meant her younger daughter would automatically get into the school next year to start kindergarten.
This year, principal Ron Lanzarotta said attendance is down a little, and there is some room at each grade level for newcomers.
In the past few years, the school district has been trying to manage its enrolment in crowded schools, for example, Albion and Alexander Robinson, by changing its boundaries.
Lanzarotta was on 240th Street outside his school on Tuesday morning, the first day back at classes, watching as students and parents used the new pedestrian-controlled traffic light in front of the school that had been installed over the summer.
"Everyone's raring to go," the Albion principal said about the first day back at school. He noted that staff have been back for the past week, preparing for the arrival of students.
The kids have all grown over the summer, he said, and some families have got puppies.
"Everyone's so excited to come back," Lanzarotta said. "It's good to see students coming back and parents - Albion is a very parent-friendly school."
Historically, Albion Elementary staff like to get organized right away, so Lanzarotta figured classes would be set by Wednesday.
Jan Unwin, superintendent of schools for school district 42, said she's looking forward to a "a year of inspiration, imagination, and innovation."
"It's an exciting time to be in education. Inquiry-based learning, project-based learning and play-based learning are all at the forefront," Unwin said. "A new curriculum is coming and new graduation requirements are coming."
Last year, teachers across the province were in job action withdrawing services like extracurricular activities and meetings with parents.
A contract was negotiated with teachers in June.
"I would say that things feel more positive and more optimistic," Unwin said about morale in the schools. "We're eager to pick up momentum again."