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Pathfinder Kindergarten Center

Creating More Time for More Learning


Mulkiteo School District No. 6

Project Location

Everett, WA


65,000 SF



Faced with a state mandate to instate full-day kindergarten and accommodate growing capacity demands, Mukilteo School District recently established its first kindergarten center at the Fairmount Elementary site. Our design creates spaces to support early learning, while maximizing the potential synergies of age-specific students. In an effort to maximize learning, the school program was redefined to eliminate time lost to transitions.

Teachers and specialists move into the classrooms, allowing the students to stay in their respective pods. Larger programs that require more space, such as dining and project areas, are broken down into smaller spaces and dispersed into the pods. Given its significant effect on learning, indoor environmental quality received diligent design attention, including temperature, air quality, daylighting, and acoustics. With the kindergarten students spending a lot of time learning on the floor, heat is provided by radiant floors sourced from a geothermal ground-source heat pump.

Featured Video
Supporting Early Learning

Explore how our design for Pathfinder Kindergarten Center reduces anxiety and fear and encourages movement and play for this young cohort of learners.

Did You Know?

When compared to traditional early education learning environments, where students move to the services they need, Pathfinder reduces transition times by 60%. Over the course of one year, that gives students nearly one additional week of learning time.


2019 James D. MacConnell Award Finalist


2019 Crow Island School Citation

American School & University magazine

2018 Citation of Excellence

Learning by Design Magazine

2016 "Architecture Looking Ahead" Exhibit

University of Washington


Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett, WA Photo by Chris Roberts

Hechinger Report

How Play is Making a Comeback in Kindergarten

February 9, 2020

Originally intended to ease overcrowding in local schools, the Pathfinder Kindergarten Center, located about 25 miles north of Seattle in the Mukilteo School District, is a haven for its 545 kindergarteners. The $26-million school opened in 2017 with a central goal: to make kindergarten here more playful and joyful.

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