We recently expanded our Nursery and Toddler area due to growth. The new space was designed to allow us to make a new division that created an even smaller age range within each classroom. As we made this change I thought it would be good to share some Bottom Line Nursery Essentials.
#1 Cleanliness – How clean do we keep the space designed for our youngest children? We want it to be clean enough to eat off of every surface in the room. Why? Because babies and toddlers put everything in their mouths! All toys and surfaces are cleaned regularly with a mild disinfectant after each use of the room. Sheets, blankets, etc. are all washed after each use.
#2 Security – Develop a system to insure that a child cannot be taken by the wrong person. Sign-in sheets, wristbands, computer labels and more are all used in order to guarantee the children’s safety. Be consistent with your program regardless of how well a volunteer may know a family.
#3 Safety – A CPR certified person is always available and First Aid supplies are easily accessible to volunteers. Emergency numbers are posted for the local hospital and poison control. Parents are required to fill out a form listing their child’s allergies and allowable snacks. Pagers are distributed to each parent when a child is checked into the nursery.
#4 Supervision – How many nursery workers are enough? Balanced child-to-staff ratios are essential to insure that each child is properly cared for in the classroom. Label each child’s belongings at the time they are checked in to the nursery.
#5 Discipline – Be sure children know they are loved and cared for about all else. “Be kind” is our primary rule and easily explained to parents and toddlers. Always communicate clearly to volunteers and parents the discipline policy within the classroom.
Again, these are the bare minimum expectations for our nursery area. Take some time to think through each of these areas and expand on these essentials. The appearance, safety and cleanliness of our nursery will communicate to parents how important children are to our church.