The nursery school was opened by Linda Raymonde-Parker in 1991, and moved to its current location in Orchard Portman after just one year. Initially the two main rooms in the Old Rectory housed a nursery for up to 12 children, but in 1994 the former stable block was converted into a purpose built nursery, and this was extended to provide a further three nursery rooms over the course of the next few years. The most recent extension of the Portman Room was completed in September 2014.
The nursery is located within the grounds of a historic listed building, and within a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We have unusual flora and fauna within the grounds. Visitors can include hares, young deer and stoats!
There is a well stocked orchard full of apple, pear and plum trees as well as gooseberries and lots of nut trees which are very popular with the squirrels. The children are able to grow strawberries and raspberries as well as salad vegetables in their own vegetable patch. Parents are welcome to help themselves to apples and, in late summer, to the copious blackberries! There are also quince and bullace, but these are well hidden..
The children are encouraged to explore the extensive grounds and to play outside as much as possible. There is a forest camp, wild copse, two mud kitchens and large lawned areas for them to enjoy. You are very welcome (by prior arrangement) to have a good look round yourselves.
Since the current rating system was introduced by Ofsted the nursery has always achieved an “outstanding” result. The most recent inspection was in February 2015. You can read a copy of our latest inspection report here.
This accolade is a reflection of the incredible vision and enthusiasm of Linda Raymonde-Parker, who founded and led the nursery right up until her death in July 2015, after a short illness. Linda’s achievement was recognised when, in 2008, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Early Years education.
We are determined to carry on Linda’s vision and ensure the Lemon Tree Nursery School continues to provide an outstanding opportunity for children to discover and learn through play.