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‘It’s crazy’: Mom and kids prepare for start of school

COURTESY PHOTO Kelly and Brett Surerus with their children, Piper, left, and Jackson.

Kelly and Brett Surerus with their children, Piper, left, and Jackson.

When Jackson Surerus, 4, makes his way into the Shelter Island “big school” preschool program this morning, and sister Piper goes to the Shelter Island Early Childhood Learning Center or “little school,” as it’s known in the Surerus family, it may be a traumatic day, according to their mother, Kelly Surerus.

At the moment, Jackson is excited about moving from the private preschool program, Ms. Surerus said. But on some level, she’s not sure the children will realize they’ll be in separate buildings.

“They’re so inseparable,” with only 17 months between their ages, Ms. Surerus said.

“I’m sure there will be tears and I don’t know if it will be the kids or parents or maybe everyone,” she said.

Getting ready for the big day has been hectic, with a process of buying new clothes, getting school supplies and dealing with emotions of life’s changes. Then add on two other demands on a mother’s time.

Ms. Surerus is currently leading the effort to keep the private Shelter Island Early Childhood Learning Center afloat and going through a major transition at Southampton Hospital, where she is an intensive care nurse, with a new Cardiac Care Center opening its doors in early September.

“It’s crazy,” Ms. Surerus said.

“I can’t believe it,” she said about Jackson ready to embark on a full day of classes in “the big school.”

Through its website and Facebook page, the school made the transitions easier, she said, by posting what students will need to bring to school — the usual supplies along with two snacks and lunch, unless they choose to buy lunch at the cafeteria.

The supplies were “pretty simple,” Ms. Surerus said.

Putting on her other hat at the Shelter Island Early Childhood Learning Center, she has, with the help of Nicholas Morehead, been revamping and modernizing the process of registering students and enabling parents to pay their fees on line.

Returning teacher Hannah Gray will have a new colleague in Meghan Michalak and the two teachers will be offering a combined  class for 2- and 3-year-olds. Ms. Gray spent time this summer renovating and modernizing the space in the basement of the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church while the program has been “completely revamped,” Ms. Surerus said.

So how does a busy mom with demands at home, work and the Early Childhood Learning Center handle it all?

“Thank God for grandmothers,” she said.