RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New York City students still have a few more days before school starts, but it was back to class Tuesday morning for millions of students elsewhere in New York and in New Jersey.

The flags are raised, the bells have rung and the annual pictures have been snapped.

At Henrietta Hawes Elementary School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, Henry was ready for kindergarten.

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“I’m really prepared for reading,” he told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris. “I’ve been learning how to read, my big sister is teaching me how to read.”

For kids returning to the classroom, it’s time to get the mind back in shape, but first they need the right tools.

“I have tissues for the class. Of course, I have scissors, a pencil box, that kind of stuff,” third grader Jason said.

“Binders, notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers,” said Maylina, 9, who was prepared as she headed to second grade accompanied by dad.

It’s that little boost of parental reassurance that helps to ease kids into a new setting.

“I still have a little worry cause I don’t know where my classroom is cause I missed step-up day, but my parents are going to help me find it,” said second-grader Penelope.

For crossing guard Stephanie Rogers, back to school means back to work securing the corners of Spring and Van Deen avenues.

“I’m happy to see the kids, but I’m sorry the summer’s over,” she said.

Dr. Carl Bazil said although excitement of the start of school can often take over, it’s not a good time to skimp on shut eye.

“When you talk about kids, they’ve got a lot to learn and it’s during sleep their brain processes that information, makes the connections,” he said.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests 10 to 13 hours of sleep for kindergartners, nine to 11 hours for elementary students and the standard eight to 10 hours of sleep for older kids.

And once the kids are up, don’t skip breakfast. Sugary cereal will eventually lead to an energy crash, so go for protein like eggs or whole grains instead.

Vitamins and minerals are essential to fight fatigue and drinking water is important — not enough will lead to being tired and lethargic.

Parents and kids in New York City have until Thursday before school starts, but doctors say it’s important to get on that sleep schedule now.

If it’s up to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a good night’s sleep could become even more important for students. He reiterated calls Tuesday, for a longer school year.

The governor started the school year by signing six education bills ahead of a news conference at Gover Cleveland Middle School in Caldwell.

Among measures included in the bills was a $75 per student program to provide security services and equipment for private schools, and the limiting of expulsions and suspensions for students in kindergarten through second grade, unless a violent or sexual act took place.


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