What About Kids Ministry?
Edited by Bill Emeott
It’s been said before and it’s worth hearing again: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” When visitors enter your church and your kids ministry space, what do they see? How do they feel? What impression does your physical space give?
We often become immune to our own environment. We don’t see (or smell) our own mess. A good way to begin evaluating your space is to ask a friend (perhaps someone who doesn’t attend your church) to give you an honest—painfully honest, if necessary—impression of your space. Give full permission for honesty, then listen and take notes. Hear her observations. After she’s shared, ask, “Based on what you’ve seen and observed, what importance and value do you believe this church puts on kids ministry?”
That’s a great place to start.
Choosing the right color (or colors) for your space affects the environment. Too dark can make your space seem small, and too bright can over stimulate and create a feeling of anxiety. Primary colors tend to lose their appeal after a short period of time. Choose soft, gender- neutral colors in infant rooms, and slowly add deeper tones in older kids’ spaces. Jewel-tone accent walls and splashes of color will create a modern, exciting feel.
When considering room and furniture recommendations, there are some standards to strive toward. Remember your reality, but knowing the standard can help you make informed decisions.
Avoid a layout that requires people to walk through to get to another part of the building. If possible, there should be one way in and one way out to provide a secure environment. Consider placing preschool space as close to where parents meet as possible.
Recommended Square Footage:
35 sq. ft. per person in a preschool classroom (maximum attendance of twelve)
25 sq. ft. per person in a younger elementary classroom (maximum attendance of sixteen)
20 sq. ft. per person in an older elementary classroom (maximum attendance of twenty-four)
Classroom doors should have a small glass view panel to allow monitoring of classroom activities. Such doors help to assure the safety and security of those inside.
Use flooring that can be cleaned thoroughly. Carpets with thick pads can be a problem because they hold moisture, bacteria, and odors. Vinyl tile is a good basic flooring that is easily maintained. Adding removable rugs that can be cleaned or replaced in younger preschool rooms is recommended.
Chairs and Tables
Ones/Twos = seat is 10 inches from the floor
Threes–Kindergarten = seat is 12 inches from the floor
Younger Kids = seat is 12–15 inches from the floor
Older Kids = seat is 15–17 inches from the floor
Tables should be 10 inches above the chair seat.
Whiteboards and Bulletin Boards
Whiteboards can be a great addition to kids space if there is a use for them. If you don’t really need it and don’t plan to use it, don’t mount it! However, both whiteboards and bulletin boards should be mounted where the center of the board is at the child’s eye level. Consider the kids who will use that room—who are expected to see what’s on those boards—and mount accordingly.
Temperature and Lighting
Rooms should be neither too hot nor too cold. An appropriate temperature for learning is 70–75 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an appropriate level of lighting, as kids function best in brightly lit rooms. Natural lighting has an impact on learning, so introduce natural light with ample windows whenever possible.
Use of Technology
Equipping kids ministry space with new technology is only valuable if the investment will be used. Consider curriculum options and recommendations. Consider teacher preference and understanding. Remember that just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Never allow new technology to replace relationships. Never encourage new technology at the risk of good teaching. Use technology to enhance the learning experience and good teaching.
Permanently mounted screens and accessories are always preferred over those that might fall and potentially injure kids. Again, consider the location and height based on use and kids’ eye levels. Avoid mounting anything that can become a hazard.
Excerpted from What About Kids Ministry? edited by Bill Emeott. Broadman and Holman. Used by permission. Copyright 2018.