Poll: Dedicated Children’s Church Classrooms

NurseryThank you to Jenne for suggesting this poll topic.

When I attended a baby blessing at a friend’s LDS ward building,  I was thrilled by their nursery room.  The room had windows on the doors so parents could check on their children without interrupting the class; huge, built-in toy boxes and shelves; and (best of all) an adjacent restroom with a toddler-sized toilet.

In my ward building, the children’s classrooms look like all of the other rooms.  The advantage to generic rooms is flexibility–any children’s classroom could be used as an adult classroom instead, if necessary.  However, such generic rooms sacrifice the opportunity to include age-appropriate decor, supplies and amenities.

April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at aprilyoungb.com.

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9 Responses

  1. mb says:

    In an unchanging and fabulously funded world age appropriate would be nice, but wards change. Ones that are heavy with toddlers age and become wards with just a handful of Primary kids. Wards that have tiny Primaries morph, over decades into places where the children outnumber adults 10 to 1. Etc. etc.

    I teach Primary kids in a generic classroom. I schlep stuff from home to use when I need it, decorate and take down and put up again on a weekly basis if I need to, and we make do with what is there, knowing that the tinier kids who use it after we do will make changes to fit, and the adult class from the Spanish ward that meets there before us will move things around and adapt them as well.

    I appreciate the simplicity of my church building the way my Mennonite friend appreciate’s hers. By keeping things simple my ward reduces the amount of time and resources needed to take care of the physical building, which liberates us to spend time and resources for other things and purposes that we are devoted to. Hopefully we take advantage of that as members of the ward and actually do use that time and resources wisely.

  2. mb says:

    And by the way, my understanding is that windows in classroom doors is an ongoing project church wide, being done systematically by the physical facilities maintenance department. A number of wards in our stake have had that change done and more are scheduled for the near future. I suspect you may find that change coming eventually to your ward too.

  3. Senile Old Fart says:

    I think that the nursery is a special case for decorating/toy storage/toilet access/etc. Other classrooms can remain generic. Parents: leave your separation anxiety at the door. If the nursery leaders need you, they’ll find you.

  4. EmilyCC says:

    I’d love dedicated age-appropriate rooms, but I also wonder how practical it would be given many wards’ changing populations.

    I wonder if a compromise could be to have cabinets in classrooms that lock, so teachers don’t have to pack boxes of stuff each week.

  5. jks says:

    I think the policy usually is to have parents take children to the bathroom, not adults. So nursery leaders come find parents and drop off the child.
    In the 14 years I’ve been a parents all of my ward building have had windows. I have always dropped off my children (no hanging around to make my children anxious) and they adjust just fine. However, I prefer to take a quick look every once in a while to notice what is going on. Especially with amateur teachers who don’t always know how to discuss children’s behavior, it is nice to know what is going on so I can parent my own children properly. For instance, I eventually realized that the teachers weren’t able to get my son to sit in the circle but instead let him lie down in the corner quietly by himself, but I preferred that he learn to interact with the group so I went in for 2 or 3 weeks and made him sit with the group.

  6. Miri says:

    Here’s my question: Why does a room being age-appropriate for toddlers preclude it from being used by adults if necessary, or if the dynamics of the ward change? It doesn’t seem to me like it would be much of a problem to have both things happen.

  7. LRC says:

    If we’re a family church, we need to accommodate families. That includes the littlest family members – who need a safe, age- and size-appropriate place to spend their 2 hours of church time.

    And pipe in the chapel microphones so that folks who use the building for firesides and other gatherings can have a nice compromise – a safe place for their children and a way to listen to what the grown-ups are doing.

    Lots of older buildings had small chapels for the Junior Sunday School kids to use. Ours had even had a small organ. Now those rooms are used for Primary, but they still work. And those rooms are nice for all kinds of other gatherings as well – they just use the big chairs instead of the little ones.

  8. LovelyLauren says:

    What happened to all the other comments? They disappeared.

  9. I think younger rooms should be designated (nursery…..and primary) but other rooms should be more flexible.

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