Children are the future of the church. As we continue our series showcasing important features of church buildings, we now turn to those spaces that form and nurture the next generation of church members.
We start the discussion of great children’s areas with the topic of security, which is on the forefront of every parent’s mind when they leave their children in the care of others.
Building Security Desks into Your Church Building
We’ve thought a lot about the best way to keep children’s spaces secure, and how those safety features can be incorporated into our church building designs and renovations.
Obviously, a check-in desk is important for accountability. Sometimes these desks are staffed by church members, while other times they feature a computer check-in kiosk where parents can get a nametag for their child.
As you can see from the pictures, there are different ways to organize entry into the children’s area of a church building. You can establish one central desk like at Grove City Church of the Nazarene in Grove City, OH, and NewPointe Community Church, Dover, OH.
Or, another option is to have a number of hallways extending off in each direction, with check-in desks for each age group. Some of this will depend on the traffic flow and number of children arriving at one time. In every case, it’s easy for parents to see where their children are headed.
Speaking of traffic flow, sometimes we will create one wide hallway that runs through the children’s spaces, with the entrance at one end and the exit at the other. This keeps everyone moving in the same direction during transition times, and allows parents to wait for their children at the exit point while other parents check in children at the other end.
Keeping Up with the Codes
By separating children’s spaces this way from the rest of the complex, you guarantee that it’s a lot easier to keep children secure. However, building codes often require multiple exits for their own set of safety reasons—such as fire.
To accommodate this, we create Emergency Exit Only doors with alarms and push-bars, as you would see in a restaurant. These provide a safe and efficient way out in case of emergency, but don’t allow anyone in from the outside.
Other Safety Features in Our Children’s Spaces
There are other ways we use church design ideas to assist with security. For example, especially in classrooms for younger children, we use a lot of one-way glass in the walls, as you can see in the photo of Blue Grass UMC, in Evansville, IN.
This transparency allows parents and church leaders to check in on children’s classrooms any time without the children being distracted. This gives parents, especially first time guest, confidence in the security of their children.
Another safety feature you might not think about is restroom location. We usually build restrooms into the classrooms themselves. The advantage is that it means teachers do not have to escort children down the hall and leave the rest of the class unattended, or in the supervision of a single teacher.
Learn More about Church Design
In the next part of our series on Children Spaces, we’ll discuss interior design considerations, along with more great examples. Meanwhile, we’re preparing topics for our free i3 webinars in 2016. Is there a subject you’d like us to cover? We’d like to hear about it. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-625-6448 with your church remodeling issues and topic suggestions!