Meet Kate Horst, Author of SEEDS of Learning™

A poor childhood experience can be a powerful catalyst to create change.

In this blog, learn how Kate Horst’s childhood struggles with literacy and her later experiences working in Early Childhood and Family Education led her to author the SEEDS of Learning™ professional learning framework and found the nonprofit organization FluentSeeds.

Today SEEDS is the newest member of the Collaborative Classroom family of resources.

Second-grade school portrait of Kate Horst wearing a plaid dress with white collar.


As a young child, Kate Horst went to school with a gnawing sense of fear and anxiety deep within her small body.

While other children in class eagerly and self-confidently raised their hands to read aloud, Kate shrank into her seat, desperate to become invisible to her teacher and avoid being called upon.

In front of all those staring eyes, Kate felt the humiliation of her stumbling, halting attempts to read as acutely as a tummy ache. By fourth grade, she felt like a failure.

Strategic interventions combined with strong family and school support helped Kate overcome her reading difficulties and after graduating high school, pursue a degree in elementary education.

A Seed Is Planted

After graduation Kate began working with adolescent parents in the Minneapolis School District’s Early Childhood & Family Education program.

Many of these young adults—barely out of childhood themselves—were overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising infants, toddlers, and preschoolers without family and community support. They were unaware of the importance of talking, reading, and singing to their children to prepare them for kindergarten.

Seeing first-hand the challenges these young parents faced and the potential life-long consequences for their children, Kate authored SEEDS of Learning™.

Seeing first-hand the challenges these young parents faced and the potential life-long consequences for their children, Kate authored SEEDS of Learning™, a professional learning framework for adults who care for and teach young children.

SEEDS fosters positive self-image in adults and the children they serve by focusing on social-emotional development and early literacy foundational skills.

Kate Horst sitting on a small chair in a sunny classroom, holding a book in her hands and talking to a group of about 20 preschool children sitting in a circle in front of her.
Kate Horst sits in a circle with preschool children.

Proven to Succeed

The success of SEEDS of Learning in Minnesota caught the attention of the California-based Kenneth Rainin Foundation. The foundation brought SEEDS to the Bay Area in 2014 and funded a three-year Randomized Control Trial (RCT), the gold standard in social science measurement, with more than 1,200 students from preschools across the Bay Area.

These studies proved the efficacy of SEEDS of Learning™ trainings for both adults and the children they serve, with children acquiring gains of between two and eight additional months of learning.

A year of SEEDS training produces statistically significant, positive gains in children’s early reading skills, of up to 8 months of additional learning within a single year.

University of Chicago NORC study of Kidango Preschools, 2017–2021

SEEDS Grow Across the Country

SEEDS has been enriched over many years with the inclusion of ever more diverse voices lending their perspective to the material.

In 2019 a nonprofit organization, FluentSeeds, was formed with Kate Horst as Executive Director to further grow the work.

The evidence-based practices of SEEDS professional learning are now the pedagogy behind high-dosage tutoring and early literacy solutions for community organizations, public and private schools, and childcare centers across the country.

A Shared Mission

FluentSeeds merged with Collaborative Classroom in 2024, becoming an integral part of one of the most prominent nonprofits operating at scale in birth to eighth-grade education.

Our organizations are in strong alignment about the value of the science of reading and the importance of evidence-based, proven programs.

Kate Horst

We know that far too many children face challenges in school—just like Kate did—due to insufficient early literacy instruction and teaching materials and methods that do not align with research.

We also know this is not an intractable problem: we have solutions. With partnership, determination, and support, we can plant the seeds that ensure every child is a fluent reader by third grade.

Kate Horst in a classroom sitting on a chair smiling, holding an open book in front of a group of preschoolers who are standing and sitting in front of her, pointing to pictures in the book.

SEEDS has been a tremendous gift to me and allowed my world to blossom in many ways.

I have been given space to create user-friendly professional development models through collaboration with amazing people, participate in scientific research to learn what has maximum impact on early childhood literacy, and work in a variety of early learning environments alongside inspiring educators who use SEEDS-quality interactions and strategies every day with the children in their care.”

Kate Horst, Author of SEEDS of Learning™

Related Reading

Learn more about SEEDS.

Watch a video interview with Kate Horst and Collaborative Classroom CEO Kelly Stuart

SEEDS and SIPPS: How these synergistic programs develop successful readers

Read about The Oakland REACH and its success with SEEDS and SIPPS.