Acorn Early Years Foundation (originally Acorn Childcare) began as a single nursery in 1989 in the village of Castlethorpe in Milton Keynes, where the organisation is still led by the founder and Chief Executive, Zoë Raven.  Driven by a desire to create a nursery which combined professionalism with a personal touch, Zoe and her family lived above the original nursery for ten years, and the organisation grew slowly and organically, first in old Victorian buildings, then on school sites, and then including purpose-built buildings. Now, 30 years later, there are 13 nurseries across three counties, several out-of-school clubs, extensive forest school provision, a catering service and a training centre.

Acorn has always specialised in outdoor play and learning, the use of natural resources, healthy food, and an emphasis on the professional development of the staff.  In 2012, the organisation began its transition into a charitable social enterprise, a process which was completed in 2016, and this has enabled our strong ethical grounding to be protected for the long-term benefit of the children and families using our services.

Zoe is supported by a friendly and professional team who share her passion for developing an inspirational learning organisation which aims to be a model of excellence for early years care and education which is accessible to all.  The Acorn board of trustees oversees the organisation, and ensures that we continually increase our social impact and maintain high ethical standards in all aspects of our work.  Zoe and other senior team members are also engaged in action research to help the organisation become a thought leader in the early years sector.