As churches prepare for Easter and an influx of guests, they pay special attention to the music, flowers, message and other celebratory events associated with Resurrection Sunday.
An area that’s often overlooked but may be in need of special attention is your church’s preschool and children’s ministry spaces. Some guests will form an impression of your entire church based solely upon their experience in your preschool and children’s areas.
Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
The following are a series of questions to evaluate the safety, security and cleanliness of your children’s ministry space:
- Take a good look at the toys in your preschool area.
- Are they clean, age-appropriate, up-to-date, sized appropriately and without sharp edges?
- Are they easy for young children to access, or are they heaped in a large bucket or basket?
- Are the puzzles complete?
- Are there fantasy based toys on the shelves?
- Are there stuffed animals in the cribs and toy boxes that cannot be easily sanitized?
Depending on your answers to some of these questions, it may be time to clean, rearrange, replace or purge some toys in your children’s space.
- Are the carpets and rugs in need of cleaning or replacement?
Carpets catch whatever trash and debris that clings to the bottom of people’s shoes. Without adequate and periodic cleaning, young children may be playing in the equivalent of a parking lot as they sit on the carpets in your preschool area.
- Are the walls in good condition and free from things like exposed TV mounts?
- Is the paint up to date with colors that are soothing and vibrant?
- Do bulletin boards have tacks or staples that are choking hazards to younger preschoolers?
- Do outdated teaching pictures or other materials detract from an otherwise uncluttered appearance?
- Are all electrical outlets covered? Do sharp cabinet edges have bumpers to prevent injuries?
- Does each classroom door have a window to allow clear sight lines into each preschool room when the door is closed? Paying attention to these items will help protect both children and ministry workers.
- When was the last time tables, chairs, high chairs and boosters were scrubbed to remove sticky residue and cookie crumbs?
- Is your diaper changing station stocked with wipes, gloves, wax paper, disinfectant to clean the changing table pad between each diaper change, and a covered trash can?
- Is there access to water for handwashing or hand sanitizer if water is not available in the classroom?
- Is your check-in system able to accommodate extra guests?
- Do all of your volunteers understand how to use the check-in system and the importance of having a secure release of children to their parents and guardians at the end of the session?
- Have you started recruiting extra workers for Easter Sunday so that safe teacher-child ratios can be maintained for an influx of guests?
- Have all workers completed a background screening and received training in your church’s policies and procedures for protecting preschoolers and children?
- Are you working with other church leaders to plan for outreach to guests who may come to your church on Easter Sunday?
This list is extensive, and improvements to your preschool and children’s areas cannot wait until the week before Easter to be implemented.
Some church leaders say guests will make a decision about whether or not they will return to your church within the first eight to 11 minutes of their arrival on your campus.
Will you be ready?
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