Welcome to our series…Church Launch Must-Haves! We are breaking down our previous blog post “7 Things Your Church Location Must Have If You Want A Successful Launch” to bring you further insight into the possibilities of a portable church. Today, let’s talk Children’s Areas…
Your children’s area is VERY IMPORTANT! We cannot stress that enough. Parents want to know that their children are being taken care of in a safe and secure environment. You need to strategically plan your children’s area so that you can allow for church growth. In a portable church atmosphere, you will have to work with the space, set-up efficiently, and provide parents with an assurance that their children will be taken care of.
Using space wisely and creatively
- The size of the room depends on the number of children that will be coming into a space, but a room that is 25 by 30 feet is a decent size room for a children’s area. Once different pieces of furniture are moved to make the space usable, your space is often around 20 by 20 feet. A children’s room should be at least 15 by 15 feet. At that size, you can fit between five and ten children.
- Nursing rooms for mothers should be at least 10 by 10 feet. If you are meeting in a school, the teacher’s lounge serves this need very well.
- Just because you see twenty-five desks in a room, don’t think that you can comfortably fit that many children in the room on a Sunday morning. One of our consultants uses a 70% ratio based on the number of desks in a classroom. The desks in a classroom are set up to fit as many children as possible in the room on a school day. That should not be your goal on a Sunday morning. You will be using the room to provide an enjoyable and educational experience.
- You can use a school gymnasium by dividing up the space for different age groups. Make sure the gym is air conditioned!
- Many brand new schools and theaters often have rooms that are not yet being used. Under the right circumstances and negotiations, these rooms could be used for on-site storage. You should also check with the venue to make sure they don’t use some of your space for storage on weekends.
- If your church meets in a movie theater, your kid’s space could be in the lobby, the hallways, or even the party rooms. If the facility is letting you use multiple theaters, you could spread out different age groups in multiple theaters.
- Countertop space is an added bonus. They make great changing stations!
- If you are meeting in a school, make sure that the bell and announcement system is deactivated on Sundays. Also, ensure that they run their air conditioning on the weekends.
- Children’s spaces located close to the main worship area are a huge bonus. But, if the only place to put them is down longer hallways, there are easy ways make the journey to the children’s area fun!
- Dingy walls or inappropriate posters should not be a concern. Using Scuba walls or something similar can completely transform a space into a clean, bright and fun environment.
- Set-up the room before parents start dropping off their kids. The appearance of a messy room tells your visitors that you aren’t prepared to take care of their children.
- If there are any electrical outlets on the floors or sitting low on the walls, make sure they are secure and covered.
- If possible, block any doors that might lead to the outside. They pose a security risk, but are quite manageable.
- Make sure desks are easily moveable. Stacks of books on top of or underneath the desks can make this difficult.
- Having clear signs (link to clear signage posts) to different areas of the children’s area will help parents get their children exactly where they need to go.
- If you have the space to split up different age groups, the children under two years old should be separated first. These children are too young to participate in any type of group activities, and the noise from the older children could disturb a sleeping infant. It’s best to have this age group in a quiet area away from the noise of the adult auditorium and the older children’s area.
- Make sure your children’s area is in an area that can be sectioned off. There should be a single exit and entry.
- Establish a check-in station outside the area for extra security. Only children should be allowed beyond this point. This isn’t to keep parents out, but more to keep any other adults from wandering in uninvited.
- Upon check-in, each child should be given a nametag and the child’s parents should be given a ticket that will be required for pick up at the end of the service.
- Place an attendant at any entries or exits to monitor traffic. This ensures that children don’t ‘escape’ the area and it also prevents any unknown adults from coming in.
- Ideally, there will be a separate children’s restroom (restroom facilities link) inside the children’s area.
- Have an evacuation plan in case of emergency. Locate, plan, and educate parents on where they can find and retrieve their children in the event of an emergency situation.
- Security shouldn’t end once the service is over. Keep security alert until the last family has left the building. Have them pay attention to the children’s area, but also any other areas where children might roam once they have been picked up by their parents.
While security and space are important, your children’s area should most importantly be fun! Create an environment that children will want to return to each week…and encourage them to bring their friends!
Want more tips and statistics on how to choose and use your church facility to its full potential? Download our FREE eBook, Choosing The Right Facility For Your Portable Church. Learn to avoid the mistakes that others have made and make your launch an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!