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What’s the Scoop? Ask a Primrose Student!

Kids in two blue scoop chairsWobble stools. Floor desks. Scoop chairs.

Before COVID-19 changed everything, Joe Mahoney’s second grade classroom at Primrose Elementary School was filled with innovative, flexible seating that allowed his students to move around as they did their work.

“Flexible seating meets the needs of many different students,” said Mahoney. “Some children just need a little movement while they work.” The furniture had been made possible through the generosity of the district’s SEPTA and Primrose PTA.

Unfortunately, by its very nature, flexible seating doesn’t always lend itself to social distancing. When students returned to school last year, with most of the flexible seating in storage, Primrose classrooms looked like so many others during the pandemic: rows of desks, meticulously spaced apart.

Recently, a generous grant from the Somers Education Foundation (SEF) has allowed the scoop chairs to make a comeback -- in Mahoney’s classroom and beyond. The grant provides every classroom in the school with six of the colorful scoop-shaped seats.

"We were very pleased to award a grant to Primrose Elementary School for the purchase of scoop chairs,” said SEF President Glenn Hintze. “These comfortable and portable chairs can accommodate small group instruction and offer alternatives to students being seated at their desks.”

Scoop chairs have a lot going for them. They are small and light, and students can carry them to a spot in the classroom that’s safely distanced from others. The plastic surface is easily sanitized, and, with only six per class, learning to take turns becomes part of the process as well.

Mahoney noted that the chairs are actually very supportive and provide a cradling effect, something that can help students focus. He said that his students frequently use the chairs to read or do work on their iPads while still maintaining social distancing.

“I like that it rocks!” said one student. Another chimed in that she liked leaning back in the chairs, while another said spinning was the most fun.

“Kids need to move,” said the school’s occupational therapist, Deanne Chin. “Studies show that giving students these kind of seating choices increases their productivity.”

According to Assistant Principal Meg Benedetto, the hope is that once the pandemic is over, all of the stored flexible furniture will again fill Mahoney’s second-grade classroom. “Looking ahead, we hope to bring dynamic, flexible seating to every classroom in the building,” she said.