Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers have certain needs, and those needs help us determine what’s truly essential in these ministries. Here’s a list of the must-haves for your Children’s ministry!
Let’s assume your ministry leader has already instituted safe screening of you and any other volunteers in your classroom. That’s the first step of safety but a bit beyond your control as a classroom teacher. The second safety essential is that there’s some kind of check-in/checkout procedure when children arrive and leave. After those two primary issues, there are key areas you can work on to ensure safety for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Germ Warfare — Safety is a concern in nursery and preschool classes in the areas of illness and the passing of germs around the class. While we can’t guarantee our nurseries and preschool classes are completely germ-free, we can cut down on the spread of colds and the flu by implementing a sick-child policy. You’ll need to determine with your team what your policy looks like. Many churches request that parents not bring their child to class if the child is running a temperature. Whatever your policy looks like, kindly and firmly communicate this to parents to ensure good health for all children.
Another key step is to thoroughly clean toys each week. Consider purchasing colorful laundry baskets for each service in your nursery and preschool classes. Divide your toys between the baskets and then bring out one basket per service. At the end of the service, have your volunteers put all the toys that’ve been played with in an empty basket and bring out a fresh basket of clean toys for the next service. During the week all the toys can be soaked in a disinfectant, rinsed, and returned to baskets for the next week’s services. Cleaning of the toys each week is a great service project for older children. This allows you to be sure your toys are clean, plus as you clean them each week you’ll be able to keep an eye out for broken toys; small, loose parts; or otherwise-unsafe toys that need to be tossed.
Controlled Exits — Providing a safe ministry for our little ones involves making sure doors to classrooms can’t be opened by little hands, thus keeping kids from slipping out of the classroom. It isn’t difficult or expensive to put up safety gates. You can also use knob covers so little ones can’t open doors. Classroom Aids Preschool classrooms are spaces for children to learn and also spaces for them to play. Create an environment that your children — and their parents — will love.
Stink Be Gone — There’s nothing worse than the smell of dirty diapers emanating from the nursery. So to improve your nursery’s aroma, get a Diaper Genie. This wonderful item allows you to seal dirty diapers in plastic as soon as you remove them from the babies, helping your nurseries smell much better and keeping dirty diapers away from crawling and walking babies.
Rock-a-Bye Baby — Nurseries also need chairs for staff to hold, rock, and cuddle babies, but avoid rocking chairs as they cause injuries to babies every year. Instead, place glider rockers in your nursery.
Just My Size — Little Tikes makes wonderful, colorful, perfectly sized picnic tables that make great additions to nurseries. These tables are perfect for snack time and provide a wonderful space for little ones to color. Since they’re plastic, they’re easy to clean. And that’s another valuable feature!
As They Grow — As our children grow, classroom furniture needs to change. Preschool classes need child-sized tables and chairs so kids are able to make their crafts. Rather than have children sit in chairs for their Bible lessons, consider placing colorful carpet squares in the story area or check out fun colorful parachutes. These can be spread on the floor for story time, and provide a special space for children to learn.