Do you have a volunteer handbook?
How do you communicate important policies and procedures to your leaders?
While it’s not all that exciting, we all know that you have to have some policies and procedures in place when it come to running a safe and secure children’s area. Here are a few things we communicate both verbally and in writing to our volunteers before they begin serving in our ministry areas. We also have a systematic approach to repeating and reviewing many of these details several times throughout the year.
We take time twice a year to communicate our evacuation plan to volunteers and parents in case of an emergency on Sunday. There is also a map on the wall by the door of each classroom with the emergency exit route, along with a red bag containing everything you need to execute the emergency evacuation plan.
We ask that our volunteers never enter the bathroom alone with a child. Always stand out in the hall and wait for them. If a child in your small group needs a bathroom break, enlist your coach or greeter to walk them to the bathroom.
If a preschooler needs to use the bathroom, we stand with our leg in the door and our body outside the bathroom. Our preschool bathrooms are located in the classroom so there are always multiple adults in the room. If a young child needs help with zippers and snaps, we help them in the open doorway of the bathroom.
There must be at least two adults in the classroom before checking in any children. No one is ever to be alone with a child.
If a child is injured in a classroom, we ask that volunteers let their coach know exactly what happened. We then take a full incident report and communicate the injury clearly to parents.
These are readily available to our volunteers and placed throughout the children’s ministry environments. Coaches communicate to their teams the closest first-aid kit locations.
Planning Outside Events for your Small Group (elementary-age children)
We recognize the value of small groups spending time together outside of Sunday morning. These guidelines are not to hinder our leaders, but to help protect them and the kids in their small groups.
1. Please discuss with your coach what you would like to do with your kids before planning the event.
2. Every outside event must be approved by your coach and the UpStreet Staff.
3. Children must be dropped off and picked up by their parents. Please do not drive children to any location.
4. Please have another non-related adult (other than your spouse) present at the event.
5. Permission forms (which we have available for you) must be filled out for every child present at the event.
We also have procedures for lost children, sickness, or a stranger on the hall. When executed successfully, you should never really feel the presence of strict rules and regulations. They should be the systems operating behind the scenes, contributing to a safe and secure environment for all of your kids.
What are some other policies or procedures you have in place in your children’s ministry?
Emily Meredith, UpStreet Director, Buckhead Campus