Hello! I am Amber Marsolek, the owner and director at Duluth Forest Kinderhaus. My husband Seth and I live in Duluth with our three wonderfully active boys (Owen, 15; Alden, 13; Remington, 7) and our fluffy furball of a dog, Willow. We spend our warm months of the year playing [a lot of] baseball, traveling, relaxing at the cabin, mountain biking, and spending time near the water. During the cooler months, you will find us at the hockey rink, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and spending time in the nearest sauna. As entrepreneurs, my husband and I value putting our talents, education, heart and soul into what we do everyday; he with his civil survey/engineering business and competitive baseball program, and me with this forest school program. Life is busy and happy and we wouldn't have it any other way! I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2005 with a concentration in Sociology/Elementary Education. Shortly thereafter, I accepted a paralegal position and after eight years in the legal field, knew I needed to get back into education. I subsequently earned my Graduate Teaching License in 2013 and Master of Science in Teaching in 2014 from St. Scholastica. I went on to teach kindergarten for several years and eventually landed myself in the role of a kindergarten nature enrichment teacher. Through that opportunity, I became completely engulfed by using nature as a teacher and was inspired to learn more about nature play and its necessary role in children's lives. Research into forest schooling furthered my passion as I realized that this style of education is best practice - a far cry from my experiences inside the classroom. Through my Masters research, it became very clear how the environment and experiences within, during the early childhood period, lay the groundwork for all the years ahead. Recognizing the need for this type of program at the primary level helped my vision of Kinderhaus become a reality.
During the 2016-17 school year, I facilitated the transition and teaching of Wandering Roots Nature School in Proctor, MN. Taking the opportunity to teach at the preschool level allowed me to deepen my knowledge and insight into the development leading up to the kindergarten year.
After a summer of serious construction and program development, Kinderhaus entered into its inaugural year in 2017. To be a business owner and an educator is entirely more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined. These little people remind me everyday about the wonder and magic that is childhood and how fascinating the natural world is when we let it lead our way. Over the last six years, I’ve had the unique and wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Duluth Nature Play Collaborative. This group consists of area nature preschool teachers and involved community members that seek to educate, inspire, connect, and advocate for nature play for young children in Duluth, MN. You can find the Collaborative on Facebook.
TEACHER -- bree schultz
Hello! My name is Bree Schultz and I reside in Two Harbors, MN with my husband and cats, Penny and Raven as well as a flock of hens. I began my experience at Duluth Forest Kinderhaus in the fall of 2018 as Ms. Amber’s assistant teacher. Prior to arriving, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2011 receiving a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and through a two year practicum experience I interned at several Duluth sites with both children and adults with disabilities. After graduation, I was hired on as an Arts Coordinator at an organization for adults with disabilities applying my therapy practice, advocating and supporting the artists.
I gained such fulfillment and purpose in introducing art to people of all ages, I realized my heart was leading me towards working with underserved youth. I spent a year as a promise fellow through the Minnesota Alliance for Youth at the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland. Overall, some of the best experiences were planning and taking youth on backpacking excursions up the North Shore. Discovering that not all youth have these opportunities but once they do they showed remarkable changes into their perspective and understanding on nature and asking, when can we go back!
After my year as a promise fellow, I taught in an early childhood center in Duluth and found the immense joy young children had immersed outside in nature. In search of local resources that honor play and time outdoors, I came upon the Duluth Nature Play Collaborative and Ms. Amber's incredible philosophy!
As a child, I grew up hugging the trees, touching the moss, smelling the fungi, saving the turtles and squishing the mud below my bare feet and honestly is my life work; giving children time in nature. There is no question that every child should have these opportunities: using their imaginations, their senses, be trusted to take risks, build an appreciation for all living beings…...and just being a child!