You may or may not be checking children into your ministry environment. If you are not, you should. If you are, then what is your process?
If you are not…
There are several reasons why checking children into your ministry environment is important, but I’ll detail at least a couple here:
- There’s nothing worse than someone coming right in the middle of a dramatic moment in your storytelling or small group questioning and taking attendance. I’m not sure if folks still do attendance in the middle of class, but it’s only been in the last 7 years that I’ve stopped that practice in our church so I imagine that this practice still exists out there somewhere! If you check children while they are arriving and being dropped off, then it precludes you from taking attendance in the middle of class. Attendance needs to taken… and what better way to do it than in a non-interrupted way.
- You know who is present. Not only for recording attendance, but for keeping track of children you are responsible for as well as in an emergency.
- Most parents expect an intentional hand off. Our daycare provider only has 7 children per day, but we have to both sign in and sign out each time. When our youngest daughter went to a local preschool, they have many more children and yet they do not have a sign in and out process. Coming from a system where you know you are handing off responsibility to another person and then stepping into a process where there is no formal transfer of responsibility, I felt way more comfortable with the former.
If you are…
What is the process or system that you use? The way I see it, it seems that folks either use a central paper-based check in process or they use a central electronic-based check in process.
This could be as simple names on an Excel spreadsheet or as complex as a computerized database-driven report. Folks can either circle or check a box to signal their presence. This process seems to work great for churches that are small to medium-sized.
There are wonderful electronic/online check in systems available for use in checking students into your ministry environment. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be detailing what some of these electronic check-in systems are and how to learn more about them.