Surprise for Island Students: Ed Foundation delivers special packages

While Island families have been busy making preparations for Christmas and other holiday festivities, the Shelter Island Educational Foundation (SIEF) has quietly been planning a special surprise for each and every elementary school student living on the Island.

In addition to those enrolled at the Shelter Island School, the gifts will go to students in Shelter Island Early Childhood Learning Center, The Forest School, Hayground, Ross, Our Lady of the Hamptons and homeschoolers.

“The SIEF Board chose to pursue this project as a way to give a little something back to our children, who seem to have given up so much this year,” said Janine Mahoney, a member of SIEF’s Board and a teacher at the school.

The Foundation raises funds to support enrichment programs for students and expand their horizons beyond Island shores. These programs typically would send students to Broadway shows, museums, camps and educational trips. A letter accompanying each package explained, “This year, because not only your school, but also all the fun trips and camps were canceled, we decided to buy this small educational gift for you and all of your friends who live on Shelter Island.

We want you to have fun during holidays, we want you to be safe; we want you to sleep in; we want you to sing, enjoy the free time, your family, your friends, your gifts — but also our little gift as well. Hopefully it will keep you busy and help you learn a bit about science, geography or art.”

All the kits are age based: Koala (2-4), Kiwi (5-8), Atlas (6-11) and Tinker (9+). A special note was included for ​Mrs. Knipfing’s third grade students and Ms. Eklund’s second grade students​, explaining that their teachers were able to custom order kits that fit in with their curriculum, and are holding on to their kits in order to work on them together for a special project once the children return from holiday break.

“Rest assured that you too, will have a fun project to create courtesy of the SIEF,” the note explained, “and you will eventually be able to bring home your finished product and share it with your family.”