Our last several posts have focused on functional church design principles for children’s spaces for use on Sunday (and other days when ministry is happening, and childcare is needed). Last time, we reviewed the best church building setup for a Sunday nursery and discussed how your church design can best serve preschool children and their families. In this post, we address the church design needs of children in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Church Design for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade Classrooms
As we’ve noted before, the younger the children, the more space they need, so it follows that elementary school-aged children will not need as much room as preschoolers or those in your nursery. We recommend that you allocate 20–25 square feet per child for these school-aged classrooms.
Grade school rooms are going to be equipped with some similar fixtures and furnishings to those that you find in a preschool classroom. You will need cabinets or closets to store worship materials, teaching aids, art supplies, paper and pencils, and so forth. You might decide to install sinks in these classrooms, if you expect children will be participating in activities that can be messy, like art projects. Since these are older children, capable of making bigger messes and splashing farther, we recommend churches that install sinks in school-aged classrooms to install a tiled area around the sink, to make cleanup easier.
If you expect to be doing a lot of arts and crafts, you may wish to tile a broader section of the floor, to prevent damage to carpeting. However, you will want comfortable carpeting installed in an area of the classroom so that kids have the option of sitting on the floor when appropriate.
Church Building Restrooms for School-Aged Children
In planning for restrooms in your church design, keep in mind that these children, unless they are home-schooled, are likely learning at school how to visit a restroom down the hall from their classroom. It’s no longer necessary to have restrooms that are connected to each classroom (as younger children need). However, for security reasons, you may still wish to have group restrooms located close to the classroom and within the secure children’s area. Having both a smaller adult restroom and a larger children’s group restroom, within the secure area, can also be a good idea so no one needs to leave the area until parents come to pick up their children.
Again, sometimes there may be building codes that dictate the number and configuration of your group restrooms, so check on the requirements of your municipality.
Other School-Aged Children Design Considerations
Windows are something to also consider with older kids. Some churches wish to install windows between individual classrooms so that volunteers and staff can look at what’s going on in the other rooms and get someone’s attention if they need help. Windows also ensure that a child cannot be left alone with a teacher or volunteer.
To learn more about our various church building recommendations for each aspect of your church campus, check out our i3 webinar page and register for our next free church building webinar.