We’ve been using this blog to discuss the particular needs and requirements when designing functional children’s church spaces. This time we’ll cover the needs specific to education and how they impact designing children’s classrooms.
Changing Space Needs
As children grow older, they actually need less space. We noted in an earlier blog that church designs for nursery and toddler space should allow 25-30 square feet of space per child. When they reach kindergarten and grade school, that number shrinks to 20-25 square feet per child. The general recommendation is to design classrooms that can hold 15-20 children — so each classroom will need between 300 and 500 square feet using these guidelines. (And don’t forget to allow room for expansion as your church grows!) Group restrooms close by, rather than connected with each classroom, also become a possibility with spaces for older children
Security concerns should also be part of the plan. Many church designs these days feature pods of classrooms and restrooms that have a central check-in area. Whether you have a computerized program or a manual system, this central check-in desk, from which all classroom doors are visible, is a great security feature, and means that parents don’t have to go beyond it when dropping off their children.
Church Design Features for Children’s Classrooms
Within the secure children’s area, each classroom should have its own set of closets or cabinets for storage of art supplies and educational materials. In general, it’s useful to have carpeting on the areas where children will gather, work, and play, but you will want to tile the wet areas, such as around cleanup sinks — which are sized appropriately for the height of the children using them. Sufficient countertop space for the adult teachers to work on and organize their materials is another important consideration.
Windows are a key security feature in any children’s classroom. Windows between two classrooms allow teachers to keep an eye on each other and make response easier in case of trouble. One-way windows can also be useful in the check-in area, serving double duty by giving kids a mirror surface in which to make faces as they wait for their parents to come pick them up.
Obviously there are a lot of elements to consider in designing a safe and useful church education space for children. Our free i3 webinar series, which discusses these and other issues in greater depth is one way to learn more. Or contact us anytime if you have a question or need more information on any element of your church design or remodeling.