2010 is the official year for counting people in the United States. Apparently, counting folks is a pretty big deal and has been going on for a very long time (Luke 2). I’ve noticed that the US Census Bureau has adopted a slogan, “Every One Counts.” I agree! In Kids Ministry we need to be sure to include that philosophy in our ministries. We need to realize that “Every Kid Counts” and take the time to count them.
The best Kids Ministries that I know are those that are relationship driven. Those most successful ministries seem to be the ones who have placed an emphasis on building relationships with Kids and their families. They have counted the cost and determined to build a ministry around correct teacher/child ratios. They’ve found it critical to the success of their work.
When you count kids and develop proper adult/child ratios in all of your programming you will see success in many of the areas that we commonly struggle.
1. A good teacher/child ratio will improve learning. Guided/active learning happens best when a teacher can work closely with a small group of kids and offer a variety of learning methods and preferences. This can’t really happen with only one teacher.
2. A good teacher/child ratio will decrease discipline problems. Dealing with individual discipline situations can happen more effectively when there are teachers available to handle the individual situations while other teachers continue the learning. There is power in numbers… enough said.
3. A good teacher/child ratio will promote ministry. No one can effectively minister to all the kids all the time, but one can minister to a ministry group of 5-6 kids. A good teacher/child ratio sets you up for success as you plan for reaching and ministering.
Listed below are the recommended teacher/child ratios according to age group. I must preface the listing by saying that at no time should there ever be less than two people in the room with minor children (we can talk about the reasoning behind that later… but always have two)!
Age Group Kids Leaders Total
Babies 8 4 12
1s & 2s 9 3 12
3s & Pre-Kindergarten 12 3 15
Kindergarten 16 4 20
Grade School Kids 21 4 25
Maintaining good teacher/child ratios requires a commitment and will initially require a good bit of work. However at the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did. You’ll be pleased with the results, and so will your volunteers.
Bottom Line: Count your kids, consider good ratios, strive for necessary adjustments, and see your Kids Ministry become relationship driven.