Different age ranges of children each have different requirements, so your church building should take these different needs into account. In this series, we’re focused on specific children’s needs for Sundays and special events rather than as a full-time daycare facility.
Whenever parents are busy elsewhere in your church building, whether they’re in worship or adult education or a special event, you need the right space available to care for and teach their children. This post looks at the needs of preschool-age kids.
Church Design for Preschool Rooms
The general principle for room space for children is this: The younger they are, the more space they need. With a nursery, the children aren’t that active, but you need space for changing tables and possibly a washer and dryer. When you create a church design for preschool children, you need to understand that these children will be more active, so you need a safe space for them to move around. Therefore, it’s important to plan for between 25-30 square feet of space for each child in your preschool room.
Preschool rooms are going to be equipped with many of the same types of fixtures and furnishings that you find in the nursery: sinks, cabinets, and child-sized tables and chairs. Here you won’t have cribs or rocking chairs for adults to rock babies, but you will need to have both adult and child-sized chairs, and the children will need to be able to access the sink in the classroom (even if it’s via a movable step stool). You will need supply cabinets too for more arts and crafts and teaching aids than you needed for the nursery room.
Church Building Restrooms for Preschool Needs
Restroom design for preschool classrooms is a challenge. Children in this age range will benefit from having a restroom attached to the classroom (see the schematic design above), so they won’t have to travel far (or be unsupervised) when they need to go. Since preschool children are small and learning to use these facilities, some churches install small toddler toilets (and lower sinks) in these adjacent bathrooms.
Determining how many toilets of which type (including handicap accessible) is also a consideration—one that is often determined by local building codes, so it is wise to check on the requirements for your municipality.
Other Preschool-Area Considerations
As you can also see in the schematic, there’s a curved desk in the upper yellow part of the image. This is the check-in desk for this portion of the children’s wing of the church building. Having a central check-in point allows parents to watch as their children are safely escorted all the way to the door of their preschool classroom. It also keeps parents separate from the children’s classrooms, minimizing crowding and the potential for chaos with many small preschoolers running through the area.
In our next post, we’ll complete this series by addressing the needs of children who are in kindergarten through fifth grade. To learn more about our various church design recommendations for all ages, check out our i3 webinar page and register for our next free church building webinar.