Preparing for Children and Preschoolers Returning to Church Buildings

Preparing for Children and Preschoolers Returning to Church Buildings

Questions: 

  1. Do we need to create a team to work with the pastor and ministerial staff to begin evaluating the steps needed in the process of returning to our building?
  2. What are some steps we need to take to ensure clear, concise communication with our church families?
  3. Do we need to re-visit our Preschool & Children’s Ministry policies and procedures?
  4. Will all programs return at the same time, or do we need to gradually implement preschool and children’s programs? (ie. Nursery, Children’s Worship, TeamKid, Bible Drill, etc.)

Suggestions:

  1. Consider these members as possible team members to work with the pastor or staff member: church maintenance staff, medical professional, finance committee member, preschool and children’s leaders from Sunday and Wednesday programs.
  2. Establish good communication to ensure families that you are doing everything you can to create a safe, clean and sanitized environment for their children.
    1. Share policy changes if needed.
    2. Send a letter to every family with preschoolers and children in your church. Let them know if you have policy changes and what steps you have made to have a safe and clean learning environment for them.
    3. Use all media available to you: church website, newsletters, worship bulletin, Facebook groups and pages, etc.
    4. Post your policies around your church so they will be visible to the entire congregation.
  3. When considering your current policies and procedures, look specifically at these areas:
    1. Check-in and Security: Consider using one person for your welcome/check-in center, eliminating multiple people touching items needed for this process. Allow only one parent to drop off children and do not allow siblings in the area to drop off or pick up children and preschoolers. Have children and preschoolers wash their hands upon entering the classroom. Keep children and preschoolers in the same classroom while they are at church, and do not use the playground or other “community” areas of your church. Ask parents to label any item that must be left with the child.
    2. Group Sizes: With social distancing issues, decide what size classroom space is available and if class sizes need to be limited. Rearranging class rolls to include family units or rotating classes between in-person or media-driven could be helpful as you return to regular programs. Consider providing online registration for classes.
    3. Cleaning Procedures: Classrooms, bathrooms and general areas will need a deep cleaning before the children arrive and between classes. Items requiring deep cleaning include toys, furniture, carpets, flooring, door handles, and any other publicly touched surfaces. Water fountains should be turned off and not available. Consider providing a checklist in each classroom reflecting what has been cleaned and when.
    4. Volunteers Requirements: Consider allowing “at-risk” volunteers to step away from assigned responsibilities during this time. Plan a ZOOM meeting or Facebook Live meeting to share new policies and procedures with your volunteers. Provide your volunteers with all the materials they need (masks, smocks, gloves, etc.) to ensure their safety as well as the safety of those in their classes.
    5. Health, Hygiene and Infectious Disease Guidelines: Display posters in every classroom and restroom to illustrate proper ways to wash hands, change diapers, clean rooms, and perform wellness checks. Have children wash their hands upon entering the classroom and set a timer to remind everyone to wash hands periodically.
  4. When returning to the physical building, give much consideration to when and how to begin offering your nursery, Children’s Church and mid-week children’s programs. Consider the sizes of these programs/classes and if any adjustments must be made. 
  5. Vacation Bible School is typically a summer activity for our churches. Considering an alternative date, time or format might be necessary for your church and community.

Resources:

Safety and Security General Information:
https://kidzlinkal.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Safety_and_Security.pdf

Disinfecting Toys: https://kidzlinkal.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Cleaning-Rooms-Equipment-.pdf

Washing Hands:  https://kidzlinkal.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/10_washing_hands.pdf

Proper Changing and Disposing a Diaper:
https://kidzlinkal.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/09_changing_diapers.pdf

VBS Free ebook for alternative formats:
https://www.lifeway.com/4ways

Alabama State Board of Missions VBS webpage:
https://kidzlinkal.org/vbs

VBS AL: Tips and Training Facebook Group (public page) https://www.facebook.com/groups/809218292934297/

VBS Zoom conversation with Children’s Pastors and Directors https://www.facebook.com/groups/809218292934297/