Our number one priority is the welfare and happiness of the children in our care. Yes, we are fierce educators at The Orchard, but we know that a hungry, tired or poorly child won’t learn anything new and will not enjoy their time with us no matter how much effort we put into providing exciting opportunities.

We make sure that all the physical needs of the children are lovingly tended to before teaching and learning begins. That means keeping the place and ourselves hygienically clean, maintaining our five star rating with Environmental Health, creating and sticking to workable systems and procedures for the personal care of the children and communicating with each other and parents in order to keep children at the heart of all we do.

It may not be entirely possible to separate fully the Care and Education of very young children as so much of their learning is centred around life’s every day experiences; their growing bodies, navigating the social world, what new foods taste like and so on. Even so, we want to talk here about the pastoral work we do as discreet from the formal ‘teaching’.

Catering Facilities

  • At the Orchard meals are freshly prepared on site every day. We have developed menus in partnership with parents and children and provide food which meets and exceeds the government’s compulsory minimum nutritional requirements, which include:• A balanced diet with plenty of variety
    • Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
    • Plenty of food rich in calcium and iron
  • We develop our seasonal menus to incorporate lots of fresh ingredients. You can be confident that the meal your child will receive each day is nutritionally well balanced and will provide them with all the goodness they require for healthy growth, mental development and the best possible start in life. If a child attends for a full day we confidently say that they will have eaten at least four out of their recommended five fruit or veg a day. Therefore, we encourage parents to top up with fruit at breakfast or supper.
  • Our menus run on a six-week cycle offering a different range of meals each week, so that your child has the varied diet required to help them develop their tastes and make healthy choices in the future.
  • In addition to the guidelines we also:
    • Use no artificial additives or salt in the preparation of our meals
    • Offer a varied menu which will help to develop children’s tastes
    • Cater for all dietary & cultural requirements
  • The Kitchen

    • As part of a significant refurbishment project last year we transformed our dated but cosy family style kitchen into a super shiny stainless steel professional meal prep space. Steel is an extremely hygienic material and all the units are designed by us and made by a fabricator to our specifications. We felt it so important to invest in our kitchen as a major part of the extension. The old kitchen was the in the centre of the house and as such was the heart of the home. In the early years it would not have been uncommon to find the postman having a cup of tea with the cook while the nursery dog snoozed in the corner by the radiator. As a company we have also grown in size and age range so while having the sights and sounds of the kitchen as part of the backdrop to the teaching and learning was a delight, it did break up the childcare space as it was. The space is more fluid now and staff can rearrange it to suit the needs of the children on an almost daily basis.
    • We took the old units out, knocked down one wall and built another, stole a bit of the old baby room to make a walk in larder and turned the messy room around so it now runs from front to back of the house. What our new modern kitchen allows us now, is to take receipt of deliveries through the front windows rather than ever having to interrupt the childcare.
    • The kitchen is small but designed in such a way that micro groups of children can work in there with their adult and create some yummy stuff.


Wanda Smith

  • Wanda

    • Wanda is a wonderful drummer. Fact. Which is how we first met her. The Orchard was running the children’s activity space at Caversham Children’s Festival and we saw Wanda perform. Humph and she later became pals and band mates which is how he discovered her passion for food and feeding people. The children are very lucky to have her cook for them every day. She has a special talent for cooking vegetables in such a way that the fussiest eaters gobble them up. Parents are often exasperated that they will eat her food and not theirs! Her plates are well balanced and she gives much though to how the colours and textures will appeal to the children. Wanda understands that her job is to nourish the children from the inside while the nursery nurses teach and tend to their personal care.
  • Meals

    • Special Dietary Requirements – We cater for all dietary and cultural requirements including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free & nut free.
      • With the noticeable rise in food allergies among children, it is not unusual for Wanda to prepare five separate meals for one lunch sitting. It is NEVER too much bother to make the sauce without celery or to use goats milk not cow’s or create a fun fruity but filling pud with strictly no gluten or dairy. It is our pleasure to feed our Orchard children so they are satisfied, full, happy and ready to play or sleep deeply. If you are a parent of a young child with special dietary requirements we know you will be concerned that a nursery setting can provide the right nutrition for them. Hear what some of our parents have to say about how we  embraced food challenges and allayed their worries. Then get in touch with us and talk through your concerns and requirements.
    • As a small community we spend a lot of time cooking, eating, talking while sharing a meal, talking about food, about produce and its origins, making pretend versions of real food in the home corner or mud kitchen. As educators food and drink gives us a rich palette of teaching opportunities and our new kitchen really helps us make the most of those. Interestingly, the whole curriculum sits within the act of sharing a meal and the best of us try not to waste a single teachable moment.
    • We simply enjoy our meals. We use a wide range of flavours, textures and colours in our cooking to make eating our meals fun and enjoyable. This is essential because what children eat at an early age determines their choices and eating patterns in later life. Mealtimes are social occasions and the childcare staff sit with the children, eat the same food, and promote good manners and conversational skills.
  • The menu


Key Person Approach

The EYFS Statutory Requirements define a Key Person as

‘A named member of staff assigned to an individual child to support their learning and development and act as a key point of contact with that child’s parents.’


How we view the Role of the Key Person 

To be a special person that offers individual care. This means planning ahead for children’s experiences at nursery. A key Person works with a number of children, giving them reassurance to feel safe and cared for and building relationships with their parents.
Every Key Person has a colleague to act as a buddy to support the child when the Key Person is not there. A Key Person meets the needs of each child in their care and responds sensitively to their feelings, ideas and behaviour. They communicate with their buddy and others in the co-caring group to ensure essential information is passed on and plans are followed even in their absence. A Key Person should establish a significant relationship by tuning into the child’s interests and needs. Only then will they be equipped to support their learning and development effectively.

Observation and Assessment and Planning
The Key Person records the child’s learning and development story (Learning Journey) and will ensure that a child’s developmental needs are met. The Next Steps for children are at the heart of all activities and continuous provision. These should meet individual needs and promote inclusion for every child.
They should focus on progress reports, observations and focussed key group times specially planned around individual children.

Key Person Supervision
Each Key Person receives supervision specifically relating to this special role. It is a complex and demanding but incredibly rewarding role and all Key Persons will need regular 1:1 time to discuss with a manager how the relationships and planning is going.  Key Persons are expected to be reading professional journals and literature regularly as part of deepening their understanding of the role. Key Persons continue to learn about child development and the understanding of other’s needs.

Partnership with Parents
Where possible Key Persons make time to share and celebrate the uniqueness of each child with parents through beginning and end of day chats and will make time available should parents want to ask questions. The Key Person should provide some continuity between home and nursery. A Key Person supports and respects parents as the child’s primary carer.

The Key Person supports child transitions within and beyond the setting.

The Qualities of a Key Person



Achieving Positive Behaviour

Achieving Positive Behaviour

The Orchard Day Nursery and After School Club believes that children flourish best when they know how they are expected to behave. Children gain respect through interaction with caring adults who show them respect and value their individual personalities. Positive, caring and polite behaviour will be modelled, encouraged and praised at all times in an environment where children learn to respect themselves, other people and their surroundings.

Children need to have set boundaries of behaviour for their own safety and the safety of their peers. Within the nursery we aim to set these boundaries in a way which helps the child to develop a sense of the significance of their own behaviour, both on their own environment and those around them. Restrictions on the child’s natural desire to explore and develop their own ideas and concepts are kept to a minimum.

We aim to:
• Recognise the individuality of all our children and that some behaviours are normal in young children e.g. biting
• Encourage self-discipline, consideration for each other, our surroundings and property
• Encourage children to participate in a wide range of group activities to enable them to develop their social skills
• Ensure that all staff act as positive role models for children
• Work in partnership with parents by communicating openly
• Praise children and acknowledge their positive actions and attitudes, therefore ensuring that children see that we value and respect them
• Encourage all staff working with children to accept their responsibility for implementing the goals in this policy and are consistent
• Promote non-violence and encourage children to deal with conflict peacefully
• Provide a co-caring system enabling staff to build a strong and positive relationship with children and their families
• Have a named person who has overall responsibility for issues concerning behaviour.

Humphrey Boyd, the named person for managing behaviour, will advise other staff on behaviour issues and, together with Deputy Managers, will keep up-to-date with legislation and research and will support changes to policies and procedures in the nursery; access relevant sources of expertise where required and act as a central information source for all involved; attend regular external training events and ensure that all staff attend relevant in-house or external training for behaviour management. A record will be kept of staff attendance at this training.

We recognise that codes for interacting with other people vary between cultures and staff are required to be aware of this and respect those used by members of the nursery.

Nursery rules are concerned with safety and care and respect for each other. Children who behave inappropriately by physically abusing another child or adult e.g. biting, or through verbal bullying, will be required to talk through these actions and apologise where appropriate. The child who has been upset will be comforted and the adult will confirm that the other child’s behaviour is not acceptable. It is important to acknowledge, when a child is feeling angry or upset, that it is the behaviour we are rejecting, not the child.

When children behave in unacceptable ways:
• Physical punishment such as smacking or shaking will neither be used nor threatened. However, it may be necessary to use restraining action in an emergency to prevent personal injury and protect the safety of other children and staff. This will only take place by staff who have been appropriately trained
• Children will not be singled out or humiliated in any way. Staff within the nursery will re-direct the children towards alternative activities. Discussions with children will take place respecting their level of understanding and maturity
• Staff will not raise their voices in a threatening way
• In any case of misbehaviour, it will always be made clear to the child or children in question, that it is the behaviour and not the child that is unwelcome
• How a particular type of behaviour is handled will depend on the child’s age, level of development and the circumstances surrounding the behaviour. It may involve the child being asked to talk and think about what he / she has done. It may also include the child apologising for their actions
• Parents will be informed if their child’s behaviour is unkind to others or if their child has been upset. In all cases inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with in nursery at the time. Parents may be asked to meet with staff to discuss their child’s behaviour so that, if there are any difficulties, we can work together to ensure consistency between their home and the nursery. In some cases we may request additional advice and support from other professionals, such as an educational psychologist or child guidance counsellors
• Children need to develop non-aggressive strategies to enable them to stand up for themselves so that adults and children listen to them. They need to be given opportunities to release their feelings more creatively
• Confidential records will be kept on any negative behaviour that has taken place. Parents will be informed and asked to read and sign any entries concerning their child
• If a child requires help to develop positive behaviour, every effort will be made to provide for their needs
• Through partnership with parents and formal observations, staff will make every effort to identify any behavioural concerns and the causes of that behaviour. From these observations and discussions an individual behaviour modification plan will be implemented
• In the event where a child’s behaviour involves aggressive actions towards other children and staff – for example hitting, kicking etc.- the manager should complete risk assessments identifying any potential triggers or warning signs ensuring the safety of other children and staff at all times. In these instances it may be that the child is removed from that area until they have calmed down and / or restraining techniques are used by trained staff
• Children will be distracted from the negative situation and, if necessary, supported in a different activity or environment for their own well-being and that of others in the group.

Children need their own time and space. It is not always appropriate to expect a child to share and it is important to acknowledge children’s feelings and to help them understand how others might be feeling.

Children must be encouraged to recognise that bullying, fighting, hurting and discriminatory comments are not acceptable behaviour. We want children to recognise that certain actions are right and that others are wrong.

Bullying takes many forms. It can be physical, verbal or emotional, but it is always a repeated behaviour that makes other people feel uncomfortable or threatened.

Any form of bullying is unacceptable and will be dealt with immediately. At our nursery, staff follow the procedure below to enable them to deal with challenging behaviour:
• Staff are encouraged to ensure that all children feel safe, happy and secure
• Staff are encouraged to recognise that active physical aggression in the early years is part of the child’s development and that it should be channelled in a positive way
• Children need to be helped to understand that using aggression to get things is inappropriate and they will be encouraged to resolve problems in other ways
• Our staff are encouraged to adopt a policy of intervention when they think a child is being bullied – however mild or harmless it may seem
• Staff are ready to initiate games and activities with children, when they feel play has become aggressive, both indoors or out
• Any instance of bullying will be discussed fully with the parents of all involved to seek a consistent resolution to the behaviour
• If any parent has a concern about their child, a member of staff will be available to discuss those concerns. It is only through co-operation that we can ensure our children feel confident and secure in their environment, both at home and in the nursery
• All concerns will be treated in the strictest confidence.
• The nursery has a duty to promote the Health and Wellbeing of all children in our care. Repeated attacks on other children by any child may require us to withdraw the place in order to protect other children.

Rough and tumble play and fantasy aggression
• Young children often engage in play that has aggressive themes, such as superhero and weapon play. Some children appear pre-occupied with these themes, but their behaviour is not necessarily a precursor to hurtful behaviour or bullying; although it may be inconsiderate at times and may need addressing using strategies.
• We recognise that teasing and rough and tumble play are normal for young children and acceptable within limits. We regard these kinds of play as pro social and not as problematic or aggressive.
• We will develop strategies to contain play which are agreed with the children and understood by them, with acceptable behavioural boundaries to ensure children are not hurt.
• We recognise that fantasy play also contains many violently dramatic strategies – e.g. blowing up and shooting – and that themes often refer to ‘goodies and baddies’ and, as such, offer opportunities to explore concepts of right and wrong.
• We are able to tune in to the content of the play and perhaps suggest alternative strategies for heroes and heroines, making the most of ‘teachable moments’ to encourage empathy and lateral thinking to explore alternative scenarios and strategies for conflict resolution.
By positively promoting good behaviour, valuing co-operation and a caring attitude we hope to ensure that children will develop as responsible members of society.
We do ask that children do not bring realistic toy weapons into nursery.

Partnership with Parents

The nursery recognises the role of the parent as the child’s main, first and ongoing educator and carer. A good working relationship with parents is essential because of the importance of continuity in shared care. Partnership depends on open and regular communication which acknowledges the contribution of both parties. Effective partnership enables us to provide a happy, caring and stable environment for children.

Taken from our Policy on Partnership with Parents

family group

What makes the Orchard Day Nursery a very special place is hard to define. Perhaps having the owner, Humphrey, still working very much hands on after 25 years adds a unique quality. Perhaps it is the landscaped garden, from which you  rarely hear the noise of the Henley Road as the ground slopes gently towards the Berry Brook and farmland beyond and is wrapped on all sides by protected trees. Perhaps it is the wonderful, hard working Caversham families who make such effort, despite their busy lives, to connect with one another and provide support as they raise their young children as part of a rich community.

It’s not a new phenomena that life long friendships are borne out of connections made at the nursery. But there is a current group of mums and dads who are taking  things to another level and have started a Family Group that organises fun meets regularly.  Watch this space for news of how the group evolves and how to get involved!