Policies and Procedures for Children s Ministries Northwest Church of Christ Revision January 2009

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1 Policies and Procedures for Children s Ministries Northwest Church of Christ Revision January 2009

2 Vision Statement The children s ministry will offer a safe and nurturing environment for children from birth through high school. Our desire is to provide age appropriate classes and activities directed by devoted individuals who will promote a spirit of acceptance and love. Our goal is to teach biblical principles so children will learn of God's grace and love and to build a foundation of faith and trust in him. We hope to guide and encourage them to be like Christ, to find compassion, and to serve others. Purpose Statement By making a genuine commitment to excellence in the areas of teaching, safety and leadership we can build children's and youth ministries that will reach into the lives of the entire family. We have designed the following set of guidelines as a means of encouraging the level of structure, consistency and security necessary to meet those goals. Nursery (Birth-24 months) We consider an efficient and secure nursery a highly valuable service to the parents of Northwest. Offering a nursery allows parents an opportunity to pursue spiritual growth on a personal level. In order for parents to trust us with their babies it is vital that we present a structured and secure environment. 1. The nursery will be provided for children up to 24 months in age. Children older than, 24 months are expected to attend worship or Children s Bible Hour 2. We will provide a minimum of two workers at all times and maintain a ratio of 1 worker for every 4 children. 3. Workers are asked to agree to a 12-month commitment. 4. Workers will serve 1 week and will have at least 4 weeks off. 5. Workers are expected to report to the nursery a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the beginning of worship and remain in the nursery until all children have been picked up. 6. Workers will strictly adhere to a claim card based check-in/check-out policy. 7. Workers will adhere to security and conduct policies. Children's Bible Classes (Preschool 5 th Grade) We consider children's Bible classes to be one of our most important children's ministries. Our goal is to provide a positive learning experience for our children while providing an environment that assures parents their children are well cared for. Committed and enthusiastic teachers are the most important key to the success of our children's classes. It is with this commitment in mind that we agree to the following expectations: 1. Each class is to have a teaching team of two (teacher and helper). 2. Teachers and helpers are asked to agree to a twelve-month commitment. 3. Teaching teams are asked to teach for one quarter and then take one quarter off.

3 4. Teachers are asked to arrive at their classroom ten minutes prior to the scheduled start time and remain after class until a parent has picked up all children. 5. Teachers are asked to be well prepared in advance of class time. 6. Teachers are responsible to find a substitute at least one week in advance of a planned absence. 7. Workers will adhere to security and conduct policies described later. Preschool Bible Hour The purpose of Preschool Bible Hour is to offer a safe and loving learning environment for children 2-4 years old (preschool age) so parents can worship without distraction and so that children can receive age appropriate instruction to 4 teams of adults with helpers to rotate on a monthly basis 2. Each team would consist of 1 lead teacher, 1 adult helper and additional adult and youth helpers to maintain a ratio of 1:5 3. Lead teacher are responsible for the lesson preparation 4. Helpers are responsible for management of children Children s Bible Hour The purpose of Children s Bible Hour is to offer a safe and loving learning environment for children in the kindergarten through third grades so parents of can worship without distraction and so that children can receive age appropriate instruction to 5 teams of adults with helpers to rotate on a monthly basis 2. Each team will consist of 1 lead teacher and 1 adult helper and additional adult and youth helpers to maintain a ratio of 1:8 3. Lead teacher is responsible for the lesson preparation 4. Helpers are responsible for management of children Youth Group (6 th 12 th Grade) The programs associated with teenagers have a broader variety and application. As the youth become older and more mature they are in a prime position to take the next step in spiritual development. The programs associated with the youth group are designed to meet teens on a variety of different levels in order to train them toward spiritual maturity. For more information on the structure of the various youth programs please review materials specifically designed for the youth program. Youth volunteers are expected to adhere to all of the security policies described below in addition to the commitments and conduct policies specified by the youth ministry guidelines. Youth Helpers Minors wishing to serve as aids in classrooms or in the nursery will be allowed to work within the following guidelines: 1. Helpers must be at least 6 th grade. 2. Must complete application process. 3. In place of a background check, parents are asked to sign application.

4 4. Must attend a Youth Helper Training Class 5. Will commit to volunteering for I month or an agreed upon length of time with classroom teacher/education dept. Security As parents entrust us with the care and education of their children it is critical that we take every precaution to honor that trust. Though security measures may seem cumbersome and sometimes extreme it is important that we are diligent to protect our children from potential harm. Strict adherence is critical to the reputation and trustworthiness of our programs. 1. All workers will be required to submit an application for approval by the ministry coordinator. 2. All workers will be required to submit to a criminal background check. (See the Background Check Policy below for details) 3. Youth not old enough to submit a background check, who wish to participate as a helper will be required to submit an application with a parental signature. 4. Only approved workers and helpers will be allowed to participate. No exceptions. Background Checks Northwest Church of Christ values the safety of children in our care. We desire to take careful measures to provide safeguards for both our children and our volunteers. Therefore, we have implemented a policy requiring all adult volunteers who participate in children's ministries have a criminal background check on file with the church. 1. Applicants will be required to sign a release form authorizing the church to request a background check. 2. Northwest Church of Christ will be responsible for all costs associated with the background check. 3. Background checks will be held in confidence. A Northwest elder will evaluate reports and a decision will be given to the ministry leader. 4. Any issues or concerns regarding criminal charges will be discussed with the applicant prior to a final decision. 5. Applicants with sexual offense convictions as well as certain other serious convictions will not be permitted to participate as children's ministry volunteers. 6. Applicants with open investigation will be asked to discuss their cases before they can be approved. Applicants may be asked to wait until their case is settled before approval is granted. Conduct It is our desire to protect our children and our volunteers at all times. As children's workers we must adhere to a level of conduct that leaves no room for mistrust and ensure the protection of our children as well as our reputations.

5 Because working with children is such a sensitive area we ask that all workers adhere to the following conduct guidelines: 1. We require a minimum of two approved workers to be present at all times for all Nursery and Children's class settings. 2. Expressions of affection are appropriate and positive for child development; however these expressions can sometimes be misinterpreted as inappropriate. a. Displays of affection should only be offered in public settings. b. Displays of affection should be age appropriate. 3. Child discipline is sometimes necessary in order to maintain an effective classroom environment. Disciplinary methods are at the discretion of the teacher with the following guidelines. a. Teachers are not permitted to use any form of corporal punishment. b. Discipline may include removal from class. c. All disciplinary actions should be reported to a parent. 4. Any incidents involving child injury should be reported to parents.

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