This has been a summer when little ears and eyes have witnessed a lot.
Children living in the fire zones of the NSW south coast, if not directly affected themselves, will know someone who was.
Remnants of ruined communities and matchstick forests are all around them.
Back in November, before the south coast knew what was coming, at Bobin, north west of Taree on the mid north coast, the principal closed the school on a gut feeling.
This decision meant 17 students weren't there when the building was destroyed by fire along with much of the rest of the village.
On the same day, Wytaliba children, many still wearing their school uniforms, crowded into an evacuation centre as their primary school burned to the ground. Fifty homes were also destroyed in their tiny town near Glen Innes, and two lives were lost.
As the school year started on the South Coast of NSW, school buses had to pass streets lined with the flattened and twisted remains of houses destroyed on New Years Eve.
At Milton public school, nineteen children and two of the teachers who turned up at the start of term had lost their homes. Other nearby schools were experiencing the same strange start to the term - 89 houses were lost at Conjola Park alone.
Further down the coast at the small school of Cobargo, turning up to class were 17 students from 11 families who lost their homes. Two loved locals had died and their historic town was suddenly on every television bulletin as the visiting Prime Minister bore the brunt of national anger and grief.
Those long weeks of anxiety will be seared into many young memories.
These are the children who were packed up and bundled off to friends, relatives or evacuation centres, often multiple times throughout the summer, not knowing if their homes would be there to come back to.
They were told to stay inside to avoid the ever present smoke and they listened as water bombers roared overhead.
When they did go out, burned leaves swirled around them and dry thunderstorms rumbled above.
They tried to sleep at night knowing parents and neighbours were somewhere out there in the danger, fighting fires.
They listened as every fraught, grown up conversation was about the fire, where it might go next, what they should do.
On the far south coast there were mornings when the sun failed to come up at all in a terrifyingly dark world.
And there were the many who were bundled on to wharves, clinging to a pet, or a favourite toy, or rushed to beaches or into the water of coastal lakes to shelter as the fires bore down.
In the media, both traditional and social, images of destruction, exploding forests and burnt and injured animals seemed to run on repeat.
Unsurprisingly, psychologists say there has been a big jump in the number of parents reporting concern about their children.
While kids can often bounce back quickly from trauma, signs to watch out for are fear of sleeping alone, nightmares and problems concentrating at school.
The people of the small communities most affected by the losses, and the strong school communities within them, have already wrapped their arms around their children.
Schools were quickly rebuilt over the holidays, hand-made gifts from other children around the State were waiting for them on the first day, and healing has started through music, art and poetry, lots of time and lots of talking.
But even children further away from the flames may be struggling to process what has happened, and as residents of the wider village, we can all remain watchful to make sure they are not suffering in silence.