We all know that security is more important than ever for parents in this day and age. As a result, today’s churches have to be even more vigilant to ensure little ones are kept safe when families come to church for worship.
This is why we have put so much time and attention into church design that includes secure children’s spaces. Today we’ll look at some specific examples of church buildings to illustrate what this looks like.
The Basic Check-in Scenario
As a church leader (and perhaps also a parent), you’re most likely familiar with the idea of checking in children for church. You can see a check-in desk in this church building. Some churches have parents check their kids in at computer kiosks, while others have staff who check in kids at desks like these.
There are other security features in this photo besides the desk. There’s one central desk for the four classroom doors behind it. This allows a single, secure point of entry for a larger group of kids. In addition, one-way glass was used for the windows of these classrooms, allowing people to check in on what’s going on inside.
Keeping Everything Together in Your Church Building
Here’s another check-in point, set off from the hallway. The doorways are set very close to each other—you can see two of the four here—and there are also smaller one-way windows set into the walls out in the hallway. As a result, anyone can look in to see what’s going on in the classroom without even entering the security check-in area.
This particular area was designed for older children, so the wooden door behind the check-in counter accesses the restrooms of all four classrooms (as we noted in another post, restrooms for preschool children and their teachers/staff are best located between classrooms so that staff can stay close to the classroom). That means school-aged children won’t have to leave the area for any reason until their parents return to pick them up.
Not All Doors Are Equal
As you can see in this final example, the check-in area has two counters and serves five classrooms. In this case, the area is clearly designed so that parents don’t proceed any further; they check their children in and then depart.
Again, there are one-way windows, as well as built-in storage/resource closets. Their placement allows both children and staff to stay within the secure area for the entire session of children’s church.
You will note, however, that Dutch doors are also used, with the doors split halfway so they can be open at the top and closed at the bottom. This allows an additional measure of security and visibility—staff can see out as well as into each classroom—while also keeping small children from leaving without permission.
The issue with these doors is that fire codes can prevent them from being installed in any church building that does not have an automatic fire suppression system. They’re popular with churches these days, so if you’re looking to remodel or build a new church building or children’s wing, you need to think now about the costs and benefits associated with Dutch doors and the automatic fire protection systems they will require.
Learn More About Church Design
As we hope these illustrations show, there are a lot of considerations to factor in when designing safe, practical children’s spaces for churches. If you’re thinking about your own church design or building project, learn more by visiting our website and signing up for our free i3 webinar series.