The deadly shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut continues to weigh heavy on the minds of many Maritimers.

People in the region are paying their respects in a variety of ways, as parents and educators prepare to answer questions from children as they learn details of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Students at Chebucto Heights Elementary in Halifax spent Monday morning making cards for students in Newtown.

“It’s very, very sad and I know a lot of people there are very sad…friends are lost, brothers and sisters, teachers,” says Grade 3 student Paris Greenlaw-Gray.

One parent offered to bring in the supplies and help students send their support.

“We wanted the school to know that they’re being thought about elsewhere, not just in their hometown,” says Sarah Cain, who teaches French Immersion at Chebucto Heights.

“Even way up here in Nova Scotia we’ve been touched by what happened to them.”

“It’s not a normal day for a lot of schools, and for a lot of people around the world,” says Doug Hadley, spokesman for the Halifax Regional School Board.

Some schools are flying their flags at half-mast to pay their respects, and parents are still trying to figure out the best way to talk to their children about the tragedy.

“He had come home and he had asked about it and he was upset, wondering why and what happened, and who would do something like that…then he was concerned about if kids would go into his school,” says parent Tracie Way in Moncton.

Some school boards, including Halifax Regional, are sending letters to parents, reminding them about safety procedures in place at their schools, as well as sharing tips for those faced with the tough questions.

“People, of course, as parents and educators, we worry about what would that look like if it ever happened here, and how would we ever manage to deal with something like that, so we feel it’s important that parents hear from us today,” says Hadley.

Those responsible for school safety are now taking the time to look at the bigger picture – what has been done, what more could be done, and what lessons have been learned.

“I think it would be a double tragedy if this were to happen again, and we didn’t take the opportunity to take a critical look at this event to see what lessons can be learned,” says provincial school safety officer, Const. Mark Young.

Not only is the school community paying tribute to the students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary – a Halifax funeral home is planning a service where community members can also pay tribute.

“We want to have a candlelight vigil for the families. We’re going to have a teddy bear drop-off site here, sign a guestbook,” says Trevor Tracey, manager of J.A. Snow Funeral Home.

“Just somewhere for people in the community to show their feelings, to let them know we’re thinking about them down at the school.”

The vigil is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. A book of condolences is already available at the home.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster