Safety begins with structure
Have you ever thought about the sobering fact that the church design you choose could actually contribute to the wellbeing and preservation of a child’s innocence? Protecting the children who attend our services is vital. Safety always begins with structure—which translates, first of all, to our church building’s physical structure, and secondly, to clear boundaries in which to facilitate student ministries. So when you begin designing your new church construction project, or remodeling current student ministries spaces, begin with the safety of each child in the forefront of your priorities.
Put yourself in the shoes of each trusting parent who drops their newborn, toddler, elementary student, or teen at your services. Wouldn’t you like to see some clear structural boundaries to protect your children while they are in their classrooms? Parents want to feel secure as they drop their kids with you, and kids want to feel safe and protected at all times.
Here are some safety precautions to cover when it comes to designing spaces, policies, and emergency procedures to keep kids of all ages safe at church.
Safety is paramount at the entrances to nursery, toddler, and elementary classrooms. Safety begins with structural boundaries, so design a tasteful, distinct barrier between the children’s classrooms and the church’s hallway. This can be done easily by simply creating a door in which the top half opens and the bottom half stays closed. The entrance to each classroom is a transfer zone where parents entrust their precious children into your care.
Classroom check-in precautions
Signing a child into your classroom can be as simple as a sign up sheet with the child’s name as well as the parent’s name on it. Or, you could utilize a church software program like ChurchTrac which checks in the child and prints an ID tag with a random security ID number for the parent and child. The parent presents the ID when picking up the child after service.Also critical to check-in safety is the cumulative list of all children in the classroom in case the room needs to be evacuated for any reason. The check-in area should always be manned for the children’s safety. This keeps the kids and volunteers securely inside and provides protection from others who don’t belong within the classroom area.
Make the layout easy to monitor.
Older children and teenagers always want more freedom. But with freedom comes responsibility. Design your spaces so your teens feel they have great options for socializing, yet with clear boundaries—for their protection and yoursCheck out the new youth facility at Rhema Bible Church for great design ideas that allow for the right oversight in all the right places.
Allergy alerts and special needs
Allergy information is critical for the church to obtain in order to provide a safe experience for your children. ChurchTrac software actually includes allergies on the child’s ID tag so they are easily distinguished by volunteers and staff for the child’s safety.
Protection from unauthorized parental pick up
Differentiating between authorized and unauthorized parents is critical to a child’s safety and wellbeing. An important reason for a clear drop off area is that there are some unauthorized people who may try to pick up a child. In order to prevent this from happening, parents who drop off children need to identify who is and isn’t permitted to pick up their child. There are concerns particularly when parents are facing custody situations following divorce, so it helps to also have regular volunteers who are aware of these types of situations.
It’s important to be able to readily contact parents in case of emergency. Some churches contact parents directly on their cell phones . Others utilize pagers, and others simply place the child’s ID number on the overhead screen in the adult service as a means of alerting the parents that their child has an immediate special need or difficult situation.
Parents like to check in on their kids from time to time, so provide the opportunity by designing children’s spaces with some windows to see into the classrooms where appropriate. This builds in a measure of accountability as well. Keep everything out in the open, and kids will stay safe.
Safe children’s workers
Always require volunteers to wait at least 6 months from the date they become members until you will allow them to sign up to serve in the children’s classrooms. Then, when individuals sign up, perform an in-depth background check on them before allowing them to serve the children of your church. Require volunteers to work in groups of at least two, and never leave a volunteer alone with children.
Identify children’s volunteers
Once a volunteer is approved through your in-depth background check, when they come to work in your children’s area, give them a smock or t-shirt so that parents, workers, and children can easily identify approved volunteers.
Safety is vital to every children’s ministry. Parents are able to enjoy the church service when they are assured their children are safe and secure in your student ministry classrooms. Realize the incredible responsibility we have to care for God’s little ones.
It’s worth the investment to prioritize safety as we design our children’s spaces when we build new church construction, or remodel existing spaces.
Get Help From the Church Design Experts
Churches by Daniels is here to assist you at any phase of the design and building process. From completely new church buildings to renovations, remodeling and expansion projects, we are ready to help you achieve your ministry goals by designing the ideal worship spaces for your congregation’s children, youth, and adults. Learn more about the church construction process—visit our online learning center for helpful videos designed just for you!
Call Churches by Daniels today at 918-872-6006. It’s time to rise and build your new facility.