JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Teachers in the Lowcountry headed back into the classroom Monday to get ready for the 2016-2017 school year.
Students will return to school next week, but until then teachers are working to get their rooms set up for the year, and go through required training each year.
Boxes of books, toys, and teaching materials covered the floors of classrooms at Harbor View Elementary School on James Island.
While it was the first day back for teachers in the Charleston County School District, some have been trying to stay ahead of the game.
"I actually came several days this summer," said Mary Beth Meggett, a new third grade teacher at Harbor View. "I was up here a good bit. I just want it to be comfortable for the kids. I want them to have the freedom to move around."
Teachers say the set up in their classrooms is what sets the tone for how each student interacts with each other and the teacher.
"When you come into my class you'll notice I teach with very high energy," said fourth grade teacher Kevin Reed. "I like to tell stories and have fun with the kids. It's not always about the curriculum. I like to branch off, tell a crazy story, and then bring them back in. I think with my set up this year it's going to be really good for the kids to talk and communicate."
"Visual reminders are great, but just the visual stimulation… like bright colors and things of that nature to make it a more inviting place is definitely key," said Principal Lara Latto.
Not all the classrooms are set up, but Latto said she's giving teachers as much time as possible to get them done, especially with the number of new employees this year.
"We have about eight to ten new staff members," she said. "We want to get them acclimated to the school and their surroundings here and make sure they're settled in to their new environment and ready for the school year."
Of course it's not just the students teachers are thinking about, but the parents as well.
"I think they want to see that the classroom is a comfortable place for their kids," Meggett said. "In third grade you still have a few weepy kids and weepy parents so I think that's important to let them know this is a safe place for their kids."
Students in Tri-County schools head back to the classroom on Monday, August 15, while the Georgetown County School District starts school August 17.