At Acorn we are committed to providing our staff with development opportunities, so as part of our four staff training days each year, we hold an annual conference for our whole organisation.

On Friday 31st May all our staff across our settings, as well as our central support team gathered at the Ridgeway Centre in Milton Keynes and had a chance to professionally and personally connect with each other.

The conference begun with a great welcome talk by Zoe Raven, our CEO and Professor Eva Lloyd, our Chair of Trustees!


Every year we also welcome a keynote speaker and this year we were pleased to welcome Alice Sharp (director of ‘Alice Sharp Ltd’ and ‘Adventures with Alice’) who has a wealth of experience in supporting Early Years educators. Alice spoke to all our practitioners about leading play with our hearts as well as about empowering by lifting others higher! Alice brought so much enthusiasm, humour and insight to the morning of our conference!


This year we also welcomed a range of wonderful organisations and companies for our staff teams to explore and get to know more during the break times of the conference. A big thank you to Daynurseries, Famly, Early Years Direct, Community Playthings UK, Milton Keynes Play Association (MKPA), YPO and Girl Pack for attending and setting up such fantastic stands!

A huge thank you to Anderson Catering, Crayfish Capers Ltd and Nori Shed for serving up an absolutely delicious lunch to all our staff teams!

We also surprised our staff teams with a line dancing lunchbreak to Beyonce’s song ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’! Thank you to RainFitz Fitness & Wellness for leading the fun moves! Make sure you follow us on Tik Tok so you don't miss the video... 

During the afternoon, we welcomed Ben Kingston-Huges who delivered a session on ‘Boisterious Play’, Pete Moorhouse who delivered a session on the ‘Wonders of Woodwork’, Kirstine Beeley who delivered a session on how ‘Maths Makes the World Go Round’ and Alice Sharp also delivered an afternoon session focused on ‘Provocations for Play!


Our internal trainers also delivered a range of courses:

‘Mindful Marks for Meaningful Art’ with Becky Watanabe and Kim Langstaff

‘STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics’ with Laura Tingey

‘Developing Eco-Friendly Practices’ with Santa Svike

Thank you to all our trainers for providing inspiring and insightful training sessions, and a massive thank you to our incredible Acorn teams, who all fully embraced the conference, training and the line dancing lunchbreak!