Grace Institute News

September 18, 2012 

A fresh look at the children's area... 
When I was a kid, my church classroom was in the basement next to the boiler room and the smell of oil permeated the entire area. At a conference I went to last year, I visited a church that had "themed' classrooms with large characters spread around, state of the art sound systems, and playground slides to go down to enter the classrooms. Wow! 

My guess is that most of us fall somewhere between those two extremes. Truth is, the state of the children's area is a big deal, not only to the children, but especially to the parents. If you feel your budget is low but want to make an impact, it might be helpful to approach your children's area with a checklist to maximize what you have in order to create a great learning experience and make a good first impression. Here are some questions you might consider: 
  • Are the walls painted and clean?
  • Are the floors clean, vacuumed, and unstained?
  • Is the room picked up and in order when children first arrive and after they leave?
  • Are the toys and books in the nursery cast-offs or are they clean and something you would trust your children to play with? Do they get cleaned and disinfected regularly?
  • Is the lighting child-friendly or is it dark and dreary or bright and harsh?
  • Are the chairs and tables appropriate to the size of the children?
  • Is the decor of the classrooms "institutional" or does it foster energy to enhance learning?
  • Is the decor inviting or does it look like it's been put together randomly? 
  • Are there white boards or flip charts available? Do any rooms have TVs and DVD players for some of the newer curriculum?
  • What does the overall impression of your children's area say about the value you place on people's children and their learning experience?

None of the above items are budget busters. But they register very quickly with a new family visiting for the first time. Is it time to do an inventory?

lunch and learn
New Broadcast for September:  
Safety Matters at Church safety matters

The world has changed. It used to be that we could leave church doors unlocked and welcome people in off the streets to enjoy some time in prayer and silence. Now we check all the doors before we leave, are leery of strangers walking up to the door, and must comply with insurance regulations that were never there before. How do we do this and still be the church? Find out some practical things to do to ensure safety within your church.

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Michelle Jenks

Grace Institute

2770 Montgomery Rd

Aurora, IL 60504