Orchard Barns Kindergarten was set up sixteen years ago by the Proprietor, Anita Huckle, and Manager, Susan Moss-Thomas.

Our concept of high-quality childcare and education for children from three months to five years old had at its heart a small and personal service. This focused on the individual and allowed growth and development to take place within carefully thought-out environments, both indoors and out. Not much has changed in sixteen years and our goals have stood the test of time!

Our beautiful setting at our original site in Ardleigh nestles amongst apple orchards and fields, providing the children with superb play and learning opportunities. It is registered for fifty-four children to attend daily from the age of three months. Each age group has its own separate accommodation, which is arranged around a large courtyard where children nurture the growth of fruit, herbs and vegetables to prepare and eat.

Orchard Barns at Stratford St. Mary has three fully-enclosed and exciting play spaces adjacent to open fields and parkland, and a small wood where forest school sessions are held. It is registered for thirty-six children aged from two to five years. Additional services at this site include Stay and Play for under two’s, French Club for school-aged children, Breakfast and After School Club, Art Club, Cookery Club and a Holiday Club for school-aged children.

Baby Barns, Ardleigh is our smallest site, registered for just fifteen under two-and-a-half year olds. The beautifully converted barn provides a cleverly designed open space where our youngest children can experience a wide variety of stimulating experiences and opportunities within safe and secure environments, both indoors and out.

All sites are open from 8am to 6pm with a variety of attendance patterns available within those hours. Fees are available upon request.


Anita Huckle, Headmistress

For over 20 years I have been running nurseries in the Colchester area and I credit the success of those settings to two things.

Firstly, the dedicated staff I have employed have developed the Orchard Barns ethos, curriculum and wonderful caring family atmosphere. Secondly our ability to stay ahead of current trends is achieved through our ethos of continuous development. We always look to improve every area of the nursery.

We do what I consider to be one of the most important jobs in the world and we are privileged to be given the responsibility of caring for and educating little ones. The past twenty years have been a wonderful journey of mostly highs and a few lows, but one I would not have swapped for anything.

Anita Huckle, Proprietor


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  • Latest News

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    10th November

    Team member Alice Lillistone has made a beautiful Pudsey and Peppa Pig cake! We are auctioning it this week and bids can be made on Facebook, by emailing us at info@orchardbarns.co.uk or in person at the nursery!  Please look in our Gallery for images of this beautiful cake. All proceeds will kindly be donated by [...]

  • Happy Bonfire Night!

    5th November

    Today the Sparrows have been busy creating their own fireworks. The children blew into straws above splodges of paint whilst observing the marks they made on the card. They then decorated the fireworks using glitter and sequins of their own choice.

  • Halloween Fun!

    30th October

    Everyone is having such a great time dressing up in spooky outfits for Halloween!  In Owls this week they had great fun carving pumpkins and giving them funny faces. Have a look at our gallery for all our fantastic Halloween pictures!

  • Consultancy Service

  • Anita Huckle

    For the past twelve years I have assisted other providers with the following services: setting up new nurseries, troubleshooting, curriculum development, health and safety and staff recruitment and development. I have been involved in long and short term contracts to manage settings for other providers. If you are interested in using my services for any area of Nursery Consultancy please contact me at info@orchardbarns.co.uk or call 01206 231195