Kat’s Classroom Will Expand to Offer Kindergarten

By Brandon Hansen / For the Nisqually Valley News
Posted 5/17/22

Kat’s Classroom in Yelm will expand to include kindergarten classes this fall.

The learning center opened last August as it offered preschool and pre-k classes to the community. The building …

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Kat’s Classroom Will Expand to Offer Kindergarten

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Kat’s Classroom in Yelm will expand to include kindergarten classes this fall.

The learning center opened last August as it offered preschool and pre-k classes to the community. The building it is currently located in had some units open up so Kat’s Classroom has plans to double its current 3,000-square-foot space.

Owner Catherine Duthie said there will be two separate spaces for the pre-k students and those in kindergarten since sometimes the activities older kids take part in don’t fit well with what the younger ones are learning. The separation means that classrooms will have more appropriate programs for the kindergarten classes.

“Parents are kind of unsure about what’s going to happen this fall in schools so this allows us to continue to educate the kids we have in our program,” Duthie said.

The kindergarten class will be operated more as a homeschool program, Duthie said. Technology will be used in the kindergarten classrooms to enrich the student’s at-home learning. If they continue to public school for first grade, Duthie said they’ll need to have the tools to navigate learning while using technology.

“Our children want to come to school (and) they want to be engaged. Those are really important things,” Duthie said.

Kat’s Classroom aims to teach children how to build relationships by showing them how to treat each other and aims to teach the kids how to share at a young age.

Duthie said the learning center also aims to help kids grow academically, socially and emotionally, something that is even more important with the pandemic. 

“A lot of our kids have been affected by COVID,” Duthie said. “They didn’t get that interaction that they normally would have had and we’ve seen delays in speech and more issues with separation from their parents because they’ve been home all that time.”

The school currently has an eight student to one teacher ratio, which allows for more one-on-one time, Duthie said. She said they also still place value on pencil to paper education as opposed to relying solely on screens and technology.



Duthie also has plans to add a parent co-op for older age groups in the future.

“I think across the board, schools are struggling and parents in a way want to have a little more control in their children’s education,” Duthie said.

Duthie opened up the school after she had a tough time finding a preschool that was open during the pandemic or didn’t have a waiting list.

“The support from the community has been amazing and I’m surprised by the growth,” Duthie said. “I knew Yelm needed a preschool and it was something I could provide as there was way more demand than availability but I didn’t know that it would grow so rapidly.”

The school currently has 96 students who range from 2.5 to 5 years old. It also has eight teachers who hold both morning and afternoon classes with some students staying the entire day.

“We have amazing teachers who really care about what they do,” Duthie said.

The renovations to add the kindergarten class will begin on June 1 and the expansion is set to be functional by fall. 

Kat’s Classroom is located at 10501 Creek St. SE in Yelm.

For more information about registration and classes at Kat’s Classroom, visit its website at katsclassroom.com.

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