It goes without saying that children have very different needs from adults, and any church design must take these different requirements into account. Parents are much more likely to return to your church if they recognize that church leaders have given thoughtful attention to the needs of children. This includes not just colorful walls and child-sized chairs in the rooms, but various other aspects of your church building as well.
There are several ways children’s needs can be addressed with a good church design. It might be play areas, or the presence of a daycare, but every church building should plan for one specific children’s need: Sunday use. In other words, those times when you’re having services or other church events and need childcare to be available.
Church Design for the Nursery
In this post, we’re focusing specifically on Sunday church design ideas for nursery age children: 0 to 18 months. In coming weeks, we’ll also cover the other two important age groups: preschool (children ages 18 months to 5 years) and grade school (children in kindergarten through fifth grade).
Typically, a church design for nursery age kids should provide between 25 and 30 square feet of space per child in the room. This means in a room for 10 kids, you will need it to be between 250 to 300 square feet in size. If you want 20 kids in each room, then you’ll need to plan for 500 to 600 square feet.
Within this space, you will need to think about where to establish an area for changing diapers, whether that’s a built-in changing table or a piece of furniture. You will need a sink for hand washing nearby as well as cabinets for storage of diapers, wipes and related materials. You will also probably want a closet or cabinet for additional supplies, toys, towels, and blankets and sheets for the cribs.
Additional Church Building Rooms Connected to the Nursery
Those towels, blankets and sheets will need to be washed, so you might wish to add an adjacent, dedicated laundry space to your church design. Some churches add a dishwasher for sanitary washing of toys, teething rings and other nursery equipment. Shared restrooms dedicated for the nursery are also a very good idea. With this age group, shared restrooms would be for the staff or volunteers working in the nurseries, not necessarily for the babies themselves. By placing these restrooms close to the nursery, attendants are never far from the children in their care.
Other Room Considerations
One other room you might want to incorporate into your church design is a nursing room for mothers. This convenience allows mothers to remain in the area when they pick up their child for nursing, rather than having to hunt for an appropriate space in another part of your church building. If you’re working on a new church design or even a significant church remodeling project, you can consider installing video from your worship space so mothers can continue to worship while they care for their baby.
With so much to consider when designing church building spaces for infants, it’s a good idea to consult with church design professionals to help with all the decisions. In our next post, we’ll address the specific needs of preschool-aged children. Meanwhile, drop by our free i3 webinar page to see what other church building information we’re sharing with church leaders like you.