New kids area @ my church – part 2

playground

We did a lot of research before we put together the plans for our new kids space.  Here are some things that we intentionally included in our design:

1.  Indoor Playground.  This will be used for outreach during the week.  It will be open 4 mornings a week to the community, completely free of charge.  One morning a week is reserved for groups with special needs kids.  The Indoor Playground will also serve as a place for families to connect on Sunday mornings.  It creates an opportunity for people to build community.

2.  Washrooms in each room.  Each kids room has one or two washrooms in them.  That way, once kids are checked in, they have no reason to leave until their parents pick them up.

3.  Wide hallways.  With the volume of people coming in to our space, it was necessary to have wide hallways so people could get where they needed to go.

4.  Storage.  We included space in each room for larger props (behind the stage) and smaller items in cupboards right in the room.

5.  Sink.  Each room has a counter with a sink in it.  Great for washing hands & convenient clean up.

6.  Self Check-In.  Our check-in process is electronic.  We have included 5 stations for self check in, and they are spread out in our atrium to avoid congestion of people.

7. Windows.  Each class has lots of windows so people can see in the class.  In most rooms, the stage is on the opposite wall so during story time, kid will not be distracted by people walking in the hallway.

8.  Technology.  All classrooms from Kindergarten & up have a projector, screen, stage lights & sound system in each room.

9.  TVs.  We have intentionally placed TVs in locations where people will be standing around.  We can play video clips and announcements to communicate a variety of messages.

10. Themed Spaces.  Our Themed areas are in areas where people will be connecting & kids will be playing.  (entrance & playground room)  We did not theme our kids rooms, but instead, made them interesting colours and patterns to keep the kid feel, but not distract from the theme of the lesson for the day.

Glenn Reinders from Reinders & Reider Ltd designed our kids area and entire new building.  He has designed both kids areas at the churches I have been employed at.  Best. Architect. Ever.
Bruce Barry from Wacky World designed our Entrance area.  He drew sketches & we built it with our volunteer team.   At the time of this post, we have not completed this area, so there are no pictures.  When it is finished, I will post pics.
We did research by visiting churches & children’s museums including:  Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Christ Fellowship Church in West Palm Beach Florida, Willow Creek Church in Chicago, IL and children’s museums in Chicago, Indiana & Toronto.

 

New kids area @ my church – part 1

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I have been on a journey since I started working at my church 2.5 years ago.  We have be in a building project and part of that project has included a new kids area.  It’s been exciting to dream, research & design a new kids space.  It has taken many meetings & emails to cover a zillion details.  The most difficult part of this journey has been the last few months as the kids rooms have started to take shape.  Sorting, packing & moving an entire kids ministry is a huge job.  Transition of any kind is not usually easy for people, so helping hundreds of families make this transition has also been a process.  Volunteers have worked countless hours far above and beyond what they signed up for so that the BIG MOVE could get done.

However, in the last few months, despite the chaos, and change, there has been very little complaining.  There is excitement in the air, and people are filled with anticipation to see the new space open.  People have stepped up to do work that needs to be done, and done so with a willing heart & attitude.

All of this work is for a building, but it’s just a building.  Without the amazing team of volunteers to connect with the kids and the families, it is still just a building.  It is a tool that will help us tell kids about God & grow closer to Jesus.  We will use this tool to the very best of our ability, but the real ministry takes place as volunteers connect with kids and their families.  We are looking forward to what God has planned in the new building.  We are looking forward to the life change that will take place there.

Here are a few pics of our new space.  In the next post, I will walk through some of the details that we intentionally included in our design.