WESTPORT — Kindergartener Riley Aparicio-Jerro could not stop smiling as she hurried over to the library section of her classroom at Coleytown Elementary School.

“Books!,” she exclaimed when she was asked about what she was most excited for in Nicole Deering’s kindergarten class. Pointing to the area stuffed with books, Riley said she likes “those books, because they’re fun.” Riley said she is ready to hit the playground, specifically, the slides.

Riley’s classmate, Justin Goldshore, is also thrilled about the outdoors and said his specialty on the playground is the swing set. He tackles puzzles when he isn’t having fun on the swings at recess.

On Thursday, many students across the district, like Riley and Justin, disembarked from their big yellow school buses and started their first day of class for the 2016 school year.

At Coleytown, teachers, students, administrators and staff emitted a palpable sense of excitement for the first day and all that the school year has in store for them. Teachers were laughing with, hugging and leading their young students to class.

Deering, in her fourth year teaching kindergarten at Coleytown, said the enthusiasm the kindergarteners bring every day is something she truly values. One of her favorite parts of teaching that age group is “their excitement about everything.” She also believes CES is a great environment to work in.

“The community and the staff; everybody is very welcoming and happy,” Deering said.

@chrismmarquette/ cmarquette@bcnnew.com