Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Elementary Children's Ministry Essentials . . . Safety!

Last week I talked about the components of a safe Nursery/Preschool and outlined essentials for these areas of your ministry. This week I'm going to focus on the essentials for Elementary children's ministry and give some ideas of how to utilize these items on a shoestring budget. 

What do you think of when you think of your elementary classrooms as well as the resources you'd like to have? As I said last week, if I had an unlimited budget and space for the "perfect classroom", I know there are some awesome resources I'd love to offer children. Unfortunately, our budget doesn't allow for those things; so which resources are essential elements for a truly effective ministry and yet are "do-able" on a shoestring budget?
Most of the needs of elementary age children are different than those of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and those needs help us determine what is truly essential in our ministry to elementary age children. The top areas you need to consider for your classroom are safety, teaching aids and activities so we'll look at each of these areas in the coming week.

Today let's look once again at safety . . .  
  • The first level of security in all areas of our children's ministry involves screening everyone who has access to the children. As I mentioned last week, take a look at Reducing the Risk - it is an excellent resource and covers pretty much everything you need to know about screening volunteers and making your ministry as safe as you can. Be absolutely certain you have screened each and every person who has access to the children in your ministry. 
  • Put in place sound policies regarding your volunteer to child ratio, age of volunteers, training volunteers and be sure you have a policy regarding unsupervised children as well. You are responsible to make your ministry a safe place for children. Take this responsibility seriously. 
  • In addition be sure you have some kind of check-in/check-out procedure when children arrive and leave. Some churches utilize a computer check in system - I know a church which utilizes a system called the Shelby System and they found it to fit their ministry extremely well. My church doesn't have the budget for this so we use a color-coded wrist band system. Find something which will work for your church and use it for every child every time. 
In my next post, I'll look at some additional levels of safety which are "essentials"!

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