As volunteers get settled into the new school year, they may have hesitation, fear, or uncertainty about what the coming months will hold. Keeping kids safe is a big responsibility, so show your volunteers a memorable “survival kit” to help them remember basic safety practices.
Fill a restaurant “to-go” box or plastic organizer with the items listed below. During your first orientation meeting or teacher training, unpack each item and explain how it will keep everyone safe this year.
Bag of peanuts. While this may be a tasty treat for some, those with peanut allergies need to steer clear. Collect food allergy information at the time of registration, and carefully check the list before handing out snacks in the classroom.
Doublemint gum. Double your security efforts by making sure you have two adults in each classroom. A two-adult policy adds a layer of protection for the children and the volunteers.
Adhesive bandage. Are first-aid supplies readily available? Do your volunteers know where they are? Supplies should be stocked, ready to use, and located in an area close to the staff.
Pen or pencil. A reminder for your volunteers to fill out an incident report in the event of an accident, injury, illness, or emergency that may occur during ministry time. This documents action taken in response to a situation and gives parents assurance that the staff was aware of what happened. For a sample incident report, click here.
Hand sanitizer. During the cold and flu season, this will come in handy keeping germs away and preventing your volunteers from getting sick. Each classroom should also have sanitizing wipes for the kids to use before preparing or eating snacks. Sanitizing wipes can also be used to wipe down toys, desks, and door handles to keep germs from spreading.
A face photo from a newspaper or magazine. Ask teachers if they recognize the face in their kit. Let them know that their students’ parents may not recognize them either unless they’re wearing an ID badge or nametag. All those who work with children need to wear proper identification. Those not wearing an ID should have limited or supervised access to the space designated for children.
Tea bag. This item reminds teachers to refuel themselves before pouring into the lives of kids. Encourage teachers to have their quiet time with God—over a cup of tea or coffee—as part of their preparation before heading into the classroom.
Keep the momentum going and discover how ready your children’s ministry is with the Safe and Secure Church Online Children’s Ministry Assessment.
– – Taken from a recent Shepherd’s Watch newsletter. Sign up today for Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks and receive your free monthly newsletter filled with advice and tips on keeping your church safe.
[We love to provide tips to keep your ministry safe. You may also want to consult your local legal advisors to get their perspective on this topic!]