Our Team

For a truly special environment like Orchard you need and truly special team. Not to blow our own trumpet too much but we are extremely proud of the people who help to bring Orchard Preschool and Playgroup to life. Their passion for nature based learning, dedication to childhood development and experience in delivering care for children of all ages, stages and developmental needs shines through in everything they do.

Gemma Houghton

Orchard Preschool Manager

Gemma is our manager and safeguarding lead.  Gemma has worked in Early Years and Education for over 15 years.  She has worked in various early years settings; in her last position she was pre-school leader in a local primary school for seven years as well as forest school leader for the school.  Gemma lives on a farm on Dartmoor with her young family.  She is passionate about using the natural environment to enhance experiences for all our children, creating awe and wonder.  During her time in her previous position Gemma developed the early years Maths curriculum and created a programme of study called ‘Muddy Maths’.  Using the natural world to create meaningful opportunities for children to make progress with their mathematical development illustrates Gemma belief that real life experiences, led by children, embeds life-long learning. 

Elouize Newman

Deputy Manager and Saplings Leader

Elouize is our deputy manager is level 3 qualified and an experienced play leader.  Having first started with us as a volunteer after graduating with a Fine Art Sculpture Degree, she realised her real passion was to work with children and helping them to develop and learn in their own unique ways.  She is not only our resident gardener but also a very talented musician.  Elouize is passionate about using nature and our natural environment to help our children develop into confident, independent leaners and using her musical and artistic talents to enhance our children’s experiences. 

Rachel Thomas

Oaks Leader and Senco Leader

Green (wo)man of the Orchard, Rachel is level 4 qualified as well as being a qualified forest school leader.  Rachel loves nothing more than being outside, using the natural environment to create exciting experiences for our children.  Rachel is also our setting SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and is passionate about delivering an Early Years curriculum that meets the individual needs of all our children. 

Robyn Harvey

Acorns Leader

Robyn is level 3 qualified and an experienced play leader, having previously led a local preschool.  Living on the family farm with her husband and two young children, Robyn is passionate about using the natural environment to enhance and provide hand on experiences for our youngest learners.

Louise Kinnair

Acorns Assistant

Louise is level 2 qualified and currently working towards her level 3 qualification.  Louise has been with us for several years now and passionate about creating exciting and interesting experiences for all our children. 

Meg Summerscale

Play Assistant for Saplings and Oaks

Meg has completed a Foundation Degree in Early Years Care and Education.  Meg is passionate about enabling children to develop and learn through play and real-life hands-on experiences. 

Katherine Law

Play Assistant for Saplings and Oaks

Katherine is level 3 qualified and has worked for us as Bank Staff for several years.  Katherine is passionate about using the natural environment to enhance learning experiences for all our children.

Join our team

Acorns Assistant

We are currently recruiting for a Play Assistant to join our growing Oaks Room at Orchard Preschool. We are looking for someone to join our team for 15 hours per week on a fixed term temporary contract for 9 months with the potential to extend as we grow further. Express your interest by emailing orchardpreschool@gmail.com

Join our team

Holiday Club Play Assistants

We are always on the look out for qualified and experienced Play Assistants to join us at our Easter and Summer Holiday Clubs. If you would like to join our team for these fun and wholesome outdoor sessions please express your interest by emailing orchardpreschool@gmail.com

“An absolutely fantastic school! I cannot recommend them highly enough. My daughter is always exited to go and never wants to come home! The staff are so friendly, kind and helpful. The activities are brilliant, they have: painting, teachers of special skills, such as music, a huge amount of indoor and outdoor space and a whole garden of their own to play in and make mud pies. A brilliant place to enjoy childhood and make wonderful friends and memories.

Verity, Mum

Come and meet our team and discuss your requirements


Orchard Preschool offers nature based early years care and education for children aged one until they are ready to go to school.

Get in Touch

Get in touch to discuss your needs or book a visit:

e: orchardpreschool@gmail.com
t: 01647 277546
Lustleigh Village Hall, Lustleigh, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9TA

Opening Hours

8:30 am – 4:00 pm
8:30 am – 4:00 pm
8:30 am – 4:00 pm
8:30 am – 4:00 pm

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