Every church was to provide a safe and secure environment for its children. Here are five ways you can create a safer environment. (I wanted to say these were "quick and easy" but some effort is required.)
1. Provide at least two adults in each classroom at all times. More eyes and more hands create a safer environment. (This also allows more teaching to happen throughout the room.)
2. Keep doors to preschool rooms closed at all times. A closed door makes sure kids stay inside the room and others do not wander in. (This also minimizes distractions and allows teachers to focus on the kids.) A small window should be in each door, too.
3. Use a sign-in/sign-out sheet (or other sign-in method) when parents bring and pick-up preschoolers. Teachers have a record to help keep track of who has come and gone; and tracking down parents if needed is also easier.
4. Use name labels for preschoolers and their personal belongings. Using name labels is especially important for younger preschoolers. Teachers know which bag or bottle belongs to which child.
5. Plan regular checks of toys, equipment, and rooms. Check for rough edges, broken pieces, protruding nails or screws, and sharp corners. Make sure toys with small parts have not "migrated" to younger preschool rooms. Repair or replace as needed.
PLUS. (I know I said five but you get a bonus one.)
Develop an identification system for releasing preschoolers to authorized adults. These types of systems can be simple or elaborate. The systems can be paper-based, electronic, or any combination. If your church is expecting visitors and new members, you need this type of system. (This article about evaluating safety has some tips for developing a security system. More information can be found in the book Kids Ministry 101.)
What are some ways you keep your preschoolers safe and secure at your church?