Psychologists tell us that kids’ moral foundations are in place by their ninth birthday. This is a good reason for church leaders to include children and their needs in the plans for a church remodel project. Beyond that, having well-designed children’s spaces makes time spent at church easier for parents and more rewarding for children.
In this post, we’ll review some of the highlights from our free i3 webinar about which important aspects to consider when creating children’s spaces.
Let the Little Children be Safe
Safety is a key consideration when creating children’s spaces. Therefore, we pay special attention when including security features in a church remodel. A security check-in desk allows parents to confidently drop their kids off in a designated children’s area. You can have a single desk in a central location that is well-secured, or a check-in desk by each classroom or group of classrooms, depending on the size and layout of your children’s area.
Here are some other safety features you might want to include in your children’s areas:
- Integrated computer systems for automatic tracking when parents check their children in and out of their classrooms.
- One-way glass which allows parents and church leaders to watch what’s happening in each classroom without distracting the children while they learn and play.
- “Dutch doors” that allow the top part to open while the bottom stays closed—preventing little ones from leaving the classroom when the teacher’s attention is focused elsewhere. (Note that building codes allow Dutch doors only in a building with an automatic fire suppression system.)
Let the Little Children have the Space They Need
Naturally, you will need to consider the specific needs of various age groups in your church remodel plan. Nurseries typically need 25-30 square feet per child. Given that you also need changing areas, a sink, and countertops, we suggest planning each nursery for at least 15 children. (You may want to limit the number of nursery rooms because it’s harder to repurpose these classrooms if your age distribution changes as your church grows.)
You also want to think about adult needs when you plan the design of your children’s spaces. We suggest connecting a restroom to the nursery so that adult caregivers can remain close to their charges. Caregivers will need closets and cabinets for supplies, and a laundry and dishwasher room for cleaning bedding and toys.
If there’s room for it in your church remodel, we also suggest including a dedicated room for nursing mothers. This room should have closed-circuit broadcast or intercom from the worship space so nursing mothers don’t have to miss out on the sermon.
Let the Little Children Grow with Your Church Remodel
Elementary school-aged children have similar needs in their children’s spaces. Craft projects mean you still need sinks and countertops, but now some of them need to be the right height for little children. Cabinets and closets are critical to keeping supplies and dangerous objects away from curious little fingers. This age group requires less square footage per child (we recommend 20-25). Group restrooms are now appropriate, but they should still be located close by, and certainly within the secure zone you’ve created in your church remodel design.
Research shows that a person is most receptive to starting their relationship with Christ when they are a child. This is why we believe effective children’s spaces should be a consideration in every church remodel and building plan. To learn more, sign up today for our free i3 webinar series, or give us a call at 800-625-6448 to talk about your own church’s needs for children’s spaces.