With few exceptions, church designs should include spaces for children. Whether it’s a “cry room,” Sunday school classrooms, or a nursing mother’s room, special considerations must be made for “kid” spaces in a church building.

Note, however, that when it comes to spaces for licensed daycare, childcare, or preschool, there’s more to consider, like additional requirements for zoning and licensing—we’ll cover this in a later article. We’re referring here to dedicated spaces for children to stay during church services and functions. You want kids to have a fun and welcoming place that makes them excited to come to church. 

There are three general classifications when it comes to creating children’s spaces for church use: nursery – for newborns to 18 months, preschool – for 18 months to 5 years, and the spaces for kindergarten through 5th grade. Here’s a look at the first two.  

Nursery Spaces: Newborn to 18 Months

Space needed depends on the number of children the space is designed to handle. When we design a nursery space, we typically allow 25 to 30 square feet per child. It’s important to note that the younger the child, the more space that’s needed in the classroom. So, we tend to make the classroom spaces larger in the younger age groups.  It’s important to include elements like changing tables, sinks for cleaning up, and storage—we particularly like storage cabinets.

In these rooms or in a nearby area, it’s a good idea to have a laundry room for washing linens and laundering toys to sanitize them. A room for nursing mothers is another great feature to have, so moms can have some privacy if they need to nurse during church time. We also like to include shared restrooms between classrooms and closets. or cabinets for other supplies, in the church designs for kid spaces.   

Preschool Rooms: 18 Months to 5 Years

For the preschool rooms, we also factor around 25 to 30 square feet per child, since children in this age group tend to be mobile and active. When we design these rooms, we typically include a lot of the same elements as the nursery spaces: sinks, storage cabinets and closets, and shared restrooms.

Because many of the same needs exist between the nursery and preschool spaces, it is often helpful to place these areas near each other. However, it’s worth noting that the design needs for the nursery and preschool spaces ensure that these rooms are dedicated specifically for children and no other use. It’s difficult to set them up as multipurpose spaces.

In our next article, we’ll cover the space needs of kids in kindergarten through 5th grade and show some examples of the elements we typically include in all three types of children’s spaces.

Remember, our free i3 webinars are a great way to learn about the latest trends in church building and design, how to fund your projects, and other ways to maximize your building usage and grow your ministry. Be sure to sign up!