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Old 01-25-2010, 10:03 AM   #1
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What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

Our church nursery is terrible. It is ineffectively organized. Things are broken and falling apart. People from the church bring things their kids no longer use and it all just piles up and turns into a big room full of crap. There are no hooks to hang up coats or diaper bags. The changing table is wobbly and unsafe at best! I'm going there this afternoon to get rid of a bunch of junky toys and to sanitize the rest. I'm also interested in redoing things and getting some shelves and hooks and fixing/buying a new changing table for in there. So, help me get some good ideas of what to do, and what to avoid doing.
Tell me what you love about your church nursery set up and what doesn't work! Thanks so much ladies I'm sure you'll all be very helpful. Although, at this point I kinda think ANYTHING will be an improvement!
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:10 AM   #2
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

I don't like my church nursery bc some day's DD will be the only kid so she will have the 2 worker's to herself and I know she is getting plenty of attention. And on other days she is one of ten and I think that is just too many kids for 2 workers. The kids range from infants to 4 and I don't like how they are mixed in together where the older kids could possibly trample my DD. They recently did a clean up of toys and such so we don't really have the issue you have.
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:12 AM   #3
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

Our nursery is awesome. We go to a church with 1000+ members so its a little on the high end as far as churches go. our nursery is broken down into many different rooms. Each room is equipped with everything a child of that age needs. We dont even need to bring diapers or wipes because the nursery provides them. There are cubbies on the walls so children cant reach them, wall hooks for coats, rocking chairs, toys, changing tables, small kidney bean tables for the kids to play at, etc. Everything is brand new. We have a nursing room that is to die for. I mean seriously, i can fall asleep in there while nursing. Its has low, warm lighting, rocking chairs, an extra space heater to keep it warmer, a changing table with diapers, etc, a TV, soft music, bouncy chairs and boppys for the babies as well. Our church really took a lot of time and money to make our nursery nice for everyone.

Another thing I like is we have beepers for the babies in case they need us during church. The kids are also fit with tags (we get a matching tag) so that noone but us can go get them, for safety.
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:20 AM   #4
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

We never leave my DS in the church nursery What really bugs me about both our infant and toddler nursery is that I know they aren't honest with me. We tried leaving my DS in the infant nursery 3 times and toddler nursery once. They say he doesn't cry, but I can tell by his mannerism that he was crying and alot. Once he was almost hyperventilating and they said he was fine. I know they probably say that so I can relax and not worry about him in church, but it breaks my heart.

The infant nursery: I don't feel comfortable with some people working in the nursery, they don't have an entry way so people just roll their strollers in and leave stickers all over the floor where the babies crawl, I wish they had a screen in the sanctuary that would show your baby's # if they need you, seems dirty, doesn't look "homey" , it just looks like people threw their old junk in.

The toddler nursery: The 1 time we left him their (last sunday) he got strep. Now I know that could have come from anywhere, but he was home for the rest of the week and nobody else in the house was or is sick. He may not have caught the germs there, but I HATE how people still leave their sick children in the toddler nursery, screen with numbers again, again not comfortable with some of the workers

ETA: I the idea of a nursing room. I wish that we had one of those.
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:21 AM   #5
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

I think the beepers are great. We have about 300 members and we have some beepers, but they don't work. However, people continue to hand them out and pretend like they do work. So I think I'm going to hide them so we don't have that problem anymore!
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:28 AM   #6
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

A bad nursery set up was one of the reasons we left our old church-I don't understand why so many church's staff does not realize how important a well run nursery is! Our new church has an awesome nursery set up! First and most importantly a well run nursery NEEDS a great person to run it/be in charge. This person is responsible for getting volunteers lined up and put together a schedule, update the attendance sheets, make name tags, and also be in charge of whatever security features are put in place (we use a wrist band system). We have a fantastic mama who volunteers to do this-she makes everything run smoothly.
Some things that make it great:
-if you have a child who regularly attends nursery, one of the parents is required to volunteer (this does not apply to visitors obviously!). We have over 100 parents on our volunteer roster-all who have had back ground checks We have two services and three rooms (0-12mos, 1-18mos, 18mos-3yrs) and each room has two adults and one youth helper each service. On top of that, two of the adults also run check in/check out. This would be a logistical nightmare if there was not a great leader kwim? She does a schedule every three months and also maintains open communication with all her volunteers.
-No toy donations are allowed! While people have good intentions nursery is NOT the place to dump old used toys. The nursery has an annual budget like any other department and when needed, new toys are purchased.
Security is very important so we use a wristband system-when a child is dropped off they are checked in-their name is highlighted on an attendance sheet (which also lists special needs like allergies etc), they are given a name tag, bag is tagged, and then child gets a band on ankle and parent is given one that has a coordinating number. Only the person who has that band can pick up that child-No siblings, grandparent etc are allowed to pick a child up unless they have that band. This is strictly enforced.
-We have a pager system; each child is assigned a number and each parent is given a pager at check in. If a child needs needs their parent during the service we just page them This works great for us because we use cds full time and I just have them page me if my ds needs to be changed (I don't expect the volunteers to deal with it).
-Nursery is cleaned every week by custodians BUT we also have parent volunteers who come in each week and sanitize ALL the toys.
-Each child has a number-this is on the attendance sheet next to their name, on their name tag, on their bag tag, on the pager the parent is given, and on a hook in the rooms. This is a great way to keep everything organized
-Allergy friendly environment. We do have a snack each week but its either cheerios, fishy crackers, or pretzels. The leader has children with severe allergies so she's very on top of the whole allergy thing.
Also-we have a family room if parents don't want to do nursery (old sanctuary with a video feed), we have two nursing rooms which over look the sanctuary, and we also have a sitting area in the bathroom with speaker feed. I LOVE our church because its so family friendly!

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Old 01-25-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

I really like the nursery and toddler room at our church. We just revamped all the toys last year to get rid of things with broken/missing pieces. They also got nice storage areas for everything.

I love that they don't allow adult shoes into the rooms to keep the carpets clean. You can either take your shoes off or wear hospital booties over your shoes if you need to go in. They encourage you to just hand your child over the half door, but DS does much better if I go in and get him interested in a toy before I say good-bye so I just take my shoes off.

Our nursery usually has three workers and our toddler room two. I don't think I've ever seen them have more than three children per adult, and I think they would find someone to help them if they did.

Our church also has a working pager system to alert parents. They give the option of either taking a pager or leaving your phone number so they can get you (phone should be on vibrate and where you can feel it) if you child doesn't stop crying or gets sick or something.

I love that they are very attentive and "know" the children. Once when DS was about 7 months old I told the nursery worker that he hadn't nursed well that morning so he will probably get cranky. She paged me about 20 minutes into the service because he was "acting different than normal" and he was probably hungry, and he was. I'm so glad she paged me to feed him.

The only thing I don't like is the tiny cubby of a nursing area. When I nursed DS in the nursery, I actually just used one of the rocking chairs out in the open because it was more comfortable than the nursing area.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:49 AM   #8
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

I LOVE that the ladies (and a couple guys) who work in the nursery love on the babies.

I hate that the rotation changes every week. At our old church, we had two workers who were paid modest amounts but loved the job. And then we had volunteers who rotated through each week, if needed. But having the same two workers there provided consistency. At our church, each person ends up volunteering once, maybe twice, per quarter. So lots of volunteers...but no consistency.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:03 PM   #9
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

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Originally Posted by momtoalmost3 View Post
A bad nursery set up was one of the reasons we left our old church-I don't understand why so many church's staff does not realize how important a well run nursery is! Our new church has an awesome nursery set up! First and most importantly a well run nursery NEEDS a great person to run it/be in charge. This person is responsible for getting volunteers lined up and put together a schedule, update the attendance sheets, make name tags, and also be in charge of whatever security features are put in place (we use a wrist band system). We have a fantastic mama who volunteers to do this-she makes everything run smoothly.
Some things that make it great:
-if you have a child who regularly attends nursery, one of the parents is required to volunteer (this does not apply to visitors obviously!). We have over 100 parents on our volunteer roster-all who have had back ground checks We have two services and three rooms (0-12mos, 1-18mos, 18mos-3yrs) and each room has two adults and one youth helper each service. On top of that, two of the adults also run check in/check out. This would be a logistical nightmare if there was not a great leader kwim? She does a schedule every three months and also maintains open communication with all her volunteers.
-No toy donations are allowed! While people have good intentions nursery is NOT the place to dump old used toys. The nursery has an annual budget like any other department and when needed, new toys are purchased.
Security is very important so we use a wristband system-when a child is dropped off they are checked in-their name is highlighted on an attendance sheet (which also lists special needs like allergies etc), they are given a name tag, bag is tagged, and then child gets a band on ankle and parent is given one that has a coordinating number. Only the person who has that band can pick up that child-No siblings, grandparent etc are allowed to pick a child up unless they have that band. This is strictly enforced.
-We have a pager system; each child is assigned a number and each parent is given a pager at check in. If a child needs needs their parent during the service we just page them This works great for us because we use cds full time and I just have them page me if my ds needs to be changed (I don't expect the volunteers to deal with it).
-Nursery is cleaned every week by custodians BUT we also have parent volunteers who come in each week and sanitize ALL the toys.
-Each child has a number-this is on the attendance sheet next to their name, on their name tag, on their bag tag, on the pager the parent is given, and on a hook in the rooms. This is a great way to keep everything organized
-Allergy friendly environment. We do have a snack each week but its either cheerios, fishy crackers, or pretzels. The leader has children with severe allergies so she's very on top of the whole allergy thing.
Also-we have a family room if parents don't want to do nursery (old sanctuary with a video feed), we have two nursing rooms which over look the sanctuary, and we also have a sitting area in the bathroom with speaker feed. I LOVE our church because its so family friendly!
Wow! How big is your church?

I recently volunteered to "run" the nursery. It was in pretty good shape to begin with so there wasn't a lot that needed to be done other than to keep a schedule of adult and youth workers and make sure they actually show up. This hasn't been a problem so far.

I did clear out the broken, unsafe, and just nasty toys. All of the stuff there (except for the changing pad) is donated, but it is good enough shape that no one would guess it.

We have the toys organized (I use the term loosely as we encourage the toddlers to help clean up) in sturdy cubical shelves. There is a swing, a high chair, a rocker/bouncy seat, a pack n play (but none of the LO's ever actually nap so it is the stuffed animal bed), an exersaucer type thing, a toddler picnic table, and a small play kitchen. This is in addition to the little toys and books on the cube shelves.

There is a hanging rack set at an adult friendly height that parents hang the diaper bags on. There are back up diapers in case a parent forgets/runs out, but as picky as most of the congregation is about what goes on their kids, we go straight for the diaper bag. Wipes are supplied by the church. The kids don't stop long enough to eat snacks, but some parents pack them and we give them out if we are instructed to do so at a specific time. The same goes for bottles, but at my church we're more likely to have a mom come in to nurse their child in one of the 3 gliders around the room rather than leave a bottle.

The changing table is the countertop that has a sink built in with child-proofed cupboards above and below. There is also a small toddler bathroom with a fully plumbed toddler sized potty and sink.

We really like to go with what the parent wants, but we will not keep an inconsolable child! If there is still intense crying after 15 minutes, the parent will be summoned by one of the ushers. We are a smallish church so we really all know each other and who belongs to who. Often we don't even have to tell the usher who to go find, we just say, "Johnny needs his mommy."

After nursery is over, the small toys are sprayed with disinfectant while they are shelved and the large ones that were actually used (the high chair and pack n play aren't touched) are too in addition to the changing pad.

Our nursery is for 0-3 years old plus a special needs child who is over that age, but fits in with us best.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:08 PM   #10
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

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Originally Posted by mcpforever View Post
Wow! How big is your church?

I recently volunteered to "run" the nursery. It was in pretty good shape to begin with so there wasn't a lot that needed to be done other than to keep a schedule of adult and youth workers and make sure they actually show up. This hasn't been a problem so far.

I did clear out the broken, unsafe, and just nasty toys. All of the stuff there (except for the changing pad) is donated, but it is good enough shape that no one would guess it.

We have the toys organized (I use the term loosely as we encourage the toddlers to help clean up) in sturdy cubical shelves. There is a swing, a high chair, a rocker/bouncy seat, a pack n play (but none of the LO's ever actually nap so it is the stuffed animal bed), an exersaucer type thing, a toddler picnic table, and a small play kitchen. This is in addition to the little toys and books on the cube shelves.

There is a hanging rack set at an adult friendly height that parents hang the diaper bags on. There are back up diapers in case a parent forgets/runs out, but as picky as most of the congregation is about what goes on their kids, we go straight for the diaper bag. Wipes are supplied by the church. The kids don't stop long enough to eat snacks, but some parents pack them and we give them out if we are instructed to do so at a specific time. The same goes for bottles, but at my church we're more likely to have a mom come in to nurse their child in one of the 3 gliders around the room rather than leave a bottle.

The changing table is the countertop that has a sink built in with child-proofed cupboards above and below. There is also a small toddler bathroom with a fully plumbed toddler sized potty and sink.

We really like to go with what the parent wants, but we will not keep an inconsolable child! If there is still intense crying after 15 minutes, the parent will be summoned by one of the ushers. We are a smallish church so we really all know each other and who belongs to who. Often we don't even have to tell the usher who to go find, we just say, "Johnny needs his mommy."

After nursery is over, the small toys are sprayed with disinfectant while they are shelved and the large ones that were actually used (the high chair and pack n play aren't touched) are too in addition to the changing pad.

Our nursery is for 0-3 years old plus a special needs child who is over that age, but fits in with us best.
I believe around 1,200 give or take a few hundred Now my sister goes to the 'mega' church we grew up in and she's actually one of two paid people who run their nursery program (each works 20 hours so 40 hours a week)-they have several thousand members and their nursery program is massive, and its all computerized (very cool to see how it all works!)-they have a check in station where kids are checked in via computer and have tags with parents picture on it-that person HAS to be the one to pick up child, and they have several other security features as well.
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