Acorn Childcare began as a single nursery in 1989 in the village of Castlethorpe – near Milton Keynes – where the organisation is still led by the founder and Chief Executive, Zoë Raven.

We are a not-for-profit organisation and has several nurseries in Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire, as well as a variety of out-of-school clubs and Forest Schools. Zoë is supported by a friendly and professional team who all share her passion for providing the very best individual care for your child.

We believe that childcare needs a personal touch; our nurseries reflect this offering individuality with a family-friendly feel, combined with professionalism and quality facilities. To offer the flexibility of a homely setting we restrict the size of our nurseries.

Acorn places a strong emphasis on the professional development of our early years’ practitioners, and encourages a learning culture throughout the organisation. Outdoor learning and creative play are key features in all of our provisions and our not-for-profit ethos means that the needs of the children come first, all of the time.

The Acorn ethos

‘Putting children first’ is one way we sum up our ethos in our nurseries, and we have developed the following core values which all our staff follow and work to achieve:

• Personal in that we communicate informally and at a personal level and strive to avoid bureaucratic processes. We treat children and staff as individuals and develop friendly and supportive relationships with families and aim to create homely environments. Personalised care and education is at the heart of our provision, and we believe that the children’s happiness, fun and laughter are key ingredients for successful provision.

• Professional in that we continually seek to develop the knowledge, skills and qualifications of our staff team. We are a learning organisation that is at the forefront of improving the quality of our childcare practice, through training and development of our people and through action research. We set high standards for professional conduct and practice and aim to achieve excellence in all areas.

• Nurturing children’s development and wellbeing as individuals is our primary focus, taking a holistic approach, putting children’s needs first, and employing staff who genuinely love working with children. Our food is freshly prepared, locally sourced where possible, and healthy eating is a key part of our focus on wellbeing for children and staff. We provide children the opportunity to learn through first-hand experiences wherever possible.

• Outdoor learning and play in natural environments is promoted as an essential part of our provision, through Forest Schools and at each site. We encourage the use of natural materials and resources, aim to adopt green practices throughout the organisation and encourage each site to grow their own fruit and vegetables, and to experience the natural world all year round.

• Ethical, as a charitable organisation which puts children before profit and aims to be inclusive and sustainable, both environmentally and financially. We seek excellence, honesty and integrity in all aspects of our work.

Our trustees

We have a number of trustees responsible for the running of Acorn Childcare 2, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience – from across a number of sectors – to our organisation. Each of our trustees serve for a period of three years:

Mark Rawden (Chair of Trustees) Charity Governance
Andrew Read Business Management and Finance
Clare Sheridan Governance
Charlotte Ring Nursery Parent
Ruth Stone Community Development, Partnership working
We are always on the lookout for enthusiastic, new trustees to join our team, bringing even more knowledge to join Acorn Childcare. If you are interested in applying to be a trustee, please contact our Chief Executive – Zoe Raven – for further information. Email Zoe via:, or call 01908 510309.