Church Links

Churches play a vital part in supporting, encouraging and promoting high-quality childcare in their settings. 

What might Christian childcare look like?

A model of excellence is more likely to occur where all members of the community are committed to the same aims. Our environment will include:

  • Intentional linking of the gospel of Christ with the daily life of the school
  • an atmosphere of encouragement, acceptance and respect 
  • a sensitivity to individual needs where children's self-esteem and confidence grow and where they feel able to make mistakes without fear of criticism
  • growing partnership between adults and children
  • sensitivity towards the beliefs, hopes and fears of parents 
  • providing positive and worthwhile stepping stones to and from the church community 

And so we would ask does our childcare offer children and parents the opportunity to:

  • reflect of the importance of personal belief
  • recognize the place a Christian faith has in their lives 
  • develop a sense of wonder, awe, curiosity and mystery
  • understand the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of their actions for themselves and others
  • be creative, questioning and imaginative within a broad Christian framework that recognizes the importance of experience, personal values and respect for the beliefs of others
  • recognise, respect and celebrate cultural diversity

We want the children and parents to know us by our actions and not just by our words. The above list is an opportunity to create discussions within your church leadership and childcare setting to give a Christian perspective on your childcare.

It is not prescriptive and is offered as an example of what might be done to describe Christian distinctiveness. The list is in no particular order, as an order would infer a priority. Neither is the list exhaustive, you might like to add your own ideas to make a really useful resource for staff training and continuing development.

A strong, well-led support group, supportive of the setting, its staff and its mission makes an important contribution to children’s well-being.

What might Christian childcare look like?

A model of excellence is more likely to occur where all members of the community are committed to the same aims. Our environment will include:

  • Intentional linking of the gospel of Christ with the daily life of the school
  • an atmosphere of encouragement, acceptance and respect 
  • a sensitivity to individual needs where children's self-esteem and confidence grow and where they feel able to make mistakes without fear of criticism
  • growing partnership between adults and children
  • sensitivity towards the beliefs, hopes and fears of parents 
  • providing positive and worthwhile stepping stones to and from the church community 

And so we would ask does our childcare offer children and parents the opportunity to:

  • reflect of the importance of personal belief
  • recognize the place a Christian faith has in their lives 
  • develop a sense of wonder, awe, curiosity and mystery
  • understand the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of their actions for themselves and others
  • be creative, questioning and imaginative within a broad Christian framework that recognizes the importance of experience, personal values and respect for the beliefs of others
  • recognise, respect and celebrate cultural diversity

We want the children and parents to know us by our actions and not just by our words. The above list is an opportunity to create discussions within your church leadership and childcare setting to give a Christian perspective on your childcare.

It is not prescriptive and is offered as an example of what might be done to describe Christian distinctiveness. The list is in no particular order, as an order would infer a priority. Neither is the list exhaustive, you might like to add your own ideas to make a really useful resource for staff training and continuing development.

A strong, well-led support group, supportive of the setting, its staff and its mission makes an important contribution to children’s well-being.

First impressions

Arriving at your setting ….

Before thinking about the care on offer think about your childcare signs and notices, outside and inside. What do your signs and notices say about you?  What tells people that this is a different childcare setting?

Walking through the door …

What tells parents, children and visitors that this is a Christian setting? Are there signs or symbols? Is there a display to let visitors know your aims and values? Do your buildings and your staff give a warm, inclusive welcome to all?

Support group

Each church should form a support group for their childcare. This group should meet regularly to pray for, discuss and plan supporting activities for children, parents and staff. Members of the support group should;

  • Always have God’s best interests for children at the heart of their meetings
  • Ensure the vision and aims for the setting are known and pursued 
  • Pray regularly, frequently, and knowledgeably for the children, parents and staff
  • Know the staff and parents
  • Make sure they are known by and accessible to staff and parents
  • Take active interest in policies and procedures
  • Be part of any childcare monitoring procedures
  • Be regular, friendly, sensitive and helpful visitors. Be useful, perhaps through storytelling or as an extra pair of hands at the more pressured times of each day. Members of the support group should be available, be kind, be helpful and be friendly
  • Advertise events that might be of interest to families
  • Build a strong community with meaningful, lasting relationships
  • Keep the church informed of things to celebrate and to pray about
  • Offer relevant parenting classes, alpha groups, baptism preparation and debt counselling
  • Plan a family adoption scheme within the church, offering sensitive prayer & support
  • Where appropriate, support families through visits

Welcome pack

Prepare welcoming, friendly, informative welcome packs that describe who you are and your vision. Explain carefully what happens each day, describe the daily routine and aim to make the setting familiar through the welcome pack. Provide opportunities for parents to feed back information to you what they think.

Worship

Regular acts of worship can enhance the Christian distinctiveness of your childcare. Worship should be for everyone, for the children, staff and parents. It should bond the community. For many, worship may be the major contact with God and it should be a family celebration, good fun, lively and interactive. Make worship fun and a time for celebration of important things.

Prayer

Children are really good at praying, very often more natural than adults. Give children meaningful opportunities for prayer through;

  • Whole School Prayers – it’s good to adopt your own school prayer which you use frequently. 
  • In each room – perhaps adopt a group prayer
  • At meal times – develop the practice of saying a prayer of thanks for food
  • At the end of each day - pray with children as they leave

The School and the community

Plan opportunities for the children and staff to visit the church for special services , such as Christmas, Easter and Harvest. Celebrate the festivals and perhaps include time for things services like Pet services, Toy services, thanksgiving for grandparents/carers etc. Support a charity for Lent or at Christmas. Parents and children can be part of the decision making as to which charities you chose.

Fairtrade

Make sure the setting uses Fairtrade goods. Use Fairtrade tea, coffee and other products and celebrate Fairtrade fortnight. 

Newsletters & websites

There are some wonderful examples of really good weekly newsletters about. These should come out on the same day each week and should read like an interesting magazine, celebrating things going on in the setting and the church, advertising events, giving news about children and staff, letting parents know what’s going on in the church, and offer helpful snippets such as selling a bike or a pram. Above all, it should be fun to read. 

Websites are an excellent source of communication. Design the site to be user friendly and interesting. Keep it up to date and include pictures of the children and their activities and, of course, the forthcoming week’s news. Grandparents and split families can then access all the information they need to be involved in their child’s education. 

Baptisms

For some families, a child starting childcare might be a wonderful opportunity to think about baptism. If the child hasn’t been baptised as a baby then offer another opportunity. Provide information in your welcome pack for all new starters.

Dealing with big issues

Consider how to support children and parents through major traumas of life. Some settings have a stock of books ready for just such occasions.

Happy girl with toygirl with a hat