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Children’s  Ministry  Handbook   A Guide for Parents & Volunteers

© Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church Revised June 2012


Children’s Ministries at the Harrisburg BIC Church

TABLE OF CONTENTS General information for parents and volunteers .

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Parent Expectations . .

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Early Childhood

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Preschool .

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Elementary . .

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Sunday School .

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Junior Church .

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Kids Club .

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Children’s Ministry Volunteer Guidelines

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Early Childhood Helpers .

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Preschool and Elementary Teachers .

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Discipline and Classroom Management

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Snack Guidelines

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Supply Room .

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Children and Youth Protection

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Volunteer Screening and Training

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General Guidelines

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Age Specific Guidelines

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Transportation .

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Emergency Information

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Recognizing Suspected Child Abuse .

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Reporting Child Abuse

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Program Specifics

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Other Children’s Programs

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Growing faith in this generation and the next

Introduction Children are a gift from the Lord! Here at Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church, it is our privilege to minister to, learn from, and love the children of our community. We know that families today are busy, and it is our goal to make the most of every opportunity to support the members of your family as you respond to God’s Spirit. Purpose The purpose of children’s ministry at HBIC is to encourage the spiritual formation of children by creating an environment that is God-centered, Bible-based, appropriate, safe, inviting, and intergenerational. Our hope is that children will encounter God through the ministries of the church and choose to become disciples of Jesus. The five “keys” of our ministry are: •

God-Centered, Bible-based Spiritual Formation: Helping children grow in knowledge and application of Biblical principles, developing an active prayer life, learning the practice of Christian worship, being witnesses of God’s grace in work and deed (service).

Intergenerational: Providing opportunities for children to hear stories of faith from adults and see lives of faith, to experience life in a community through shared experiences such as worship, fellowship, and service, and to allow children and youth to share their gifts, talents, and wisdom with the larger community.

Appropriate: Age appropriate (meeting the developmental needs of that age, including physical, emotional/social, and cognitive needs), appropriate to stage of spiritual growth and maturity, appropriate to context (urban, familial, global, etc.), experiential, and FUN. Safe: Safe & secure environment free of physical threat and danger, nurturing words and actions.

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Inviting and Welcoming to guests/visitors, volunteers, parents, & kids; clear communication (handbook, signs, new letters, etc.), user-friendly facilities, gracious hospitality, consistently inviting others to participate.

Biblical Foundations • We believe that God designed us for relationship with him. (Genesis 1, 1Timothy 2:4) • We believe that God created each person uniquely, with gifts for building up the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:4-27). • We believe that God welcomes and affirms children and that children are a vital part of the church. (Mark 10:13-16) • We believe that children learn about God’s love for them by being loved by mature and caring adults, and learn about God’s love for others by sharing that love with peers and family. (John 13:34-35) Values The formation of values is a very important part of child development. As a Brethren in Christ Church, we hold to the ten core values outlined by the denomination in 1999. • Experiencing God’s Love and Grace • Believing the Bible • Worshiping God • Following Jesus • Belonging to the Community of Faith • Witnessing to the World • Serving Compassionately • Pursuing Peace • Living Simply • Relying on God These values are woven into every aspect of church life, and we intentionally teach them to our children so that they will have a firm foundation and clear understanding of what it means to be a disciple. It is our hope that children will one day be able to claim these values as their own.

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Partnering with Parents We believe that one of the church’s main jobs in the task of Christian education is to support the spiritual lives of families. We believe that parents have primary responsibility for helping their children to know and love God, and we encourage parents to take an active role in creating a spiritually nurturing environment at home. A parent representative sits on the Children’s Ministry Team and many parents volunteer as teachers, helpers, and chaperones. HBIC seeks parental input and feedback through an annual survey and offers various support groups and parenting classes throughout the year. As needed. Vision The Children’s Ministry program seeks to support the vision of the Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church, which was updated in 2012 and reads: VISION To be a thriving diverse urban church, sharing Christ’s love and serving the needs of our local and global communities. OBJECTIVES: • To worship, serve, witness, and make disciples in the city of Harrisburg in the name of Christ. • To model and teach racial reconciliation • To provide holistic ministries meeting people at their point of need. • To partner with other churches and organizations to serve our congregation, neighborhood, and city.

A Welcoming Family Because of the lingering effects of sin in the world, many children are growing up in families that cannot offer children the kind of love they need to form a healthy view of themselves, God, or the world as a whole. We have a special responsibility to reach out to modern ‘orphans and widows’ and help them experience the grace of God and the embrace of a loving community of believers.


To this end, we regularly invite non-Christian families and children to participate in the life of the church. All children’s ministry activities are free and open to everyone, with parental permission, and we try to plan programs that are appealing to the local community. The church also offers resources such as the Food Pantry, financial counseling, and referral to other social service agencies for those that are struggling with life issues. Organization The Children’s Ministry Team gives oversight to all children’s programs. The Children’s Ministry Team is composed of the Children’s Pastor, and representatives from various children’s ministries. The Children’s Ministry Team usually meets once a month with meeting time and place listed on church calendar. Parent and volunteer input is always welcome. This booklet is designed for parents and volunteers for Children at HBIC. We will be covering: 1. Parental Expectations 2. Children and Youth Specific Programs 3. Volunteer Expectations 4. Guide to Discipline and classroom management 5. Guidelines for Children’s Snack 6. Child Protection Guidelines at HBIC 7. Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse 8. Forms used in Children and Youth Ministry

PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS 1. Drop off and pick up your child on time. Make sure that your child’s teacher knows where you can be reached in case of emergency. 2. Follow all procedures for that class, ie) color/number bands for all Early Childhood classes and sign in for Kids Club. 3. Complete and return the Children’s Ministry Registration and Medical Information Form, (annually.) Let the Children’s

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pastor know if there are any changes to that information throughout the year, especially allergy/medication or address information. Complete profile sheets for Early Childhood classes. 4. Communicate with the Children’s pastor and/or teacher if there are special circumstances in your child’s life, such as illness, significant achievement, faith commitment, rebellion, etc. It is also helpful to know about changes in family life such as birth of sibling, separation/divorce, incarceration, death in the family, remarriage, etc. so that teachers can help children process their feelings about these changes. 5. Make sure your child comes to church ready to learn – appropriately clothed, fed, and ready to obey. Please do not send your child to class with toys unless they have been requested by the teacher for sharing time. 6. Keep sick and/or contagious children at home. If you child has not been fever free for 24 hours, please do not bring him to class. 7. Pray for and actively support your child’s pastor and teachers. Give affirmation for a job well done and constructive suggestions where improvement is needed. 8. Be responsible for your child’s behavior when he/she is at church but not actively participating in a scheduled children’s activity (such as during Wednesday evening meals, following dismissal from Sunday School, during worship, etc.). 9. Take the lead in nurturing your child’s faith formation. This may include (but is not limited to) modeling a positive attitude about participating in congregational life, providing homebased worship, devotional, and prayer experiences, parenting with justice and mercy, and serving God as a family.


Children’s Program Specifics (birth through fifth grade) Early Childhood Classes The purposes of the infant (birth to 11 months) the 1 year old and walking and two year old nurseries at HBIC are to: • Provide a safe, clean environment where children can receive loving care, • Engage children in active learning about the world around them, and • Provide the opportunity for parents to participate fully in the life of the church. The Early Childhood Classes are staffed by various volunteers, including many parents. We ask that parents sign in their children weekly and receive the appropriate color/number band in accordance with our Children and Youth Protection Policy. Your child will only be released to parent or guardian or sibling (6th grd and older) with the corresponding band. Nursery care is available Sunday mornings from 10:15 -12:00 and Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00. (as needed) Preschool Emotional, mental, and physical development happens rapidly throughout early childhood, especially in the preschool years. Spiritual development is also taking place as children form their impressions of church and the people who represent God to them. The purposes of preschool classes at Harrisburg BIC are for children to: • Become familiar with the basic characters and concepts of the Bible, • Understand that church is a family that loves them, and • Develop healthy patterns of social interaction. On Sunday mornings, preschool classes are offered during Discipleship Hour, from 9:00-10:15 and from 10:30-12:00 noon. Preschool class is also offered on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00. The Preschool Ministry team meets regularly for training and enrichment.

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PROMOTION POLICY: Because of space, personnel limitations, and the need for consistency, promotion to 1yr old and 2yr old classes happens in Sept. and March, based on age. Promotions from the 2yr old and older classes will only happen in Sept. Please talk to the Children’s Pastor or the classroom coordinators if you have questions about your child’s promotion date. Subject to change due to class sizes. Elementary Age (kindergarten through fifth grade) Given the short amount of time that children spend at church, it is unrealistic to expect one program to meet all of their needs for spiritual, emotional, social, and physical development. For that reason, the three main programs for elementary age children have different but complementary purposes. SUNDAY SCHOOL Vision: Sunday School is intended to give children a solid foundation in Biblical knowledge that is age appropriate. Stories and cultural context will be presented in age-appropriate ways with attention given to application of Biblical principles. How It Works: Sunday School meets from 9:00 to 10:15 every Sunday morning. During the school year, children are divided into classes by grade, with promotion to the next class taking place in September. Each Sunday School class is taught by a team of two teachers. The grade divisions for classes are adjusted annually so that maximum class size is 12. In the summer, a large group format may be used (in which all the children are together) to give maximum flexibility to students and teachers. Special events, such as breakfasts, Bible Olympics, and celebrations may be scheduled throughout the year. The Sunday School Ministry Team meets regularly for training and enrichment.


JUNIOR CHURCH Vision: Junior Church (5 years through 5th grade) is intended to be an age-appropriate church experience for children. The purpose of Junior Church is to enable children to do the following things: • Develop a personal relationship with God. Kids will learn who God is and how a relationship with God can change their lives. They will encounter God through heartfelt worship, learn about the Bible through activities that encourage engagement, wonder, and application, and experience various types of prayer. • Become part of the body of Christ. Junior Church will prepare kids for worship as adults by helping them become familiar with the songs, stories, and traditions of the church. Relationships with peers and with adults will be developed, and children will be affirmed for the gifts they bring to the church. Opportunities to serve and care for other members of the body of Christ will be offered. • Become witnesses to God’s grace. Children will learn how the church is growing around the world, and will be encouraged to find ways to share God’s love with friends and family. Peacemaking and conflict-resolution skills will be taught as one way of sharing God’s love. Children are encouraged to bring money for the weekly offering. How It Works: Junior Church meets on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Sundays of each month. On the 4th and 5th Sunday, children stay with their parents in the regular worship service and a children’s story as well as other age appropriate activities will be available to the children. On the Sundays when Junior church is offered children go to the worship service with their parents and are generally dismissed before the sermon. Age appropriate activities follow the worship time and help to maximize the learning opportunities. Each summer a different theme (missions, the work of the church, or peacemaking) will be developed. The Junior Church Ministry Team will meet periodically for training and enrichment.

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KIDS CLUB Vision: Our desire for Kids Club is for children to come into relationship with Jesus and to deepen in that relationship: to know and grow in Christ. Using Matthew 22:36-40 and Deuteronomy 6:5 as foundations, children will learn how they can respond to God’s love with their: • heart: by understanding how God’s spirit is alive and at work in this world and by learning how to talk with God through prayer, • soul: by learning about their emotions and how to express their deepest feelings to God and others, • mind: by learning about God’s values through engaging Bible study and by using their creativity and wonder, and • strength: by making right choices and using their bodies to glorify God. Children will be given the opportunity to love their neighbor by developing healthy relationships with adults and peers and by engaging in service to others. They will learn about loving themselves, and each child will be affirmed and accepted for who they are. How It Works: Kids Club meets on Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 p.m. A variety of activities, including special guests, field trips, games, crafts, and drama will be used to meet the needs of different learning styles. Kids Club has two main semesters, fall and spring. The fall semester runs from September through December. The spring semester runs from February through May. From June through July, a special interest session will be offered on Wednesday nights. Children are welcome to join Kids Club at any time.


Other Children’s Program

Homeschool Cooperative

Kenbrook Bible Camp Scholarship Program Kenbrook Bible Camp is a Brethren in Christ camp in Lebanon, PA that offers adventure camps for kids age 6-18. Each summer, many children from Harrisburg BIC participate in Christ-centered programming in a rustic setting. Harrisburg BIC has a scholarship program that will cover a portion of the registration costs for one week of camp. Scholarships are not based on financial need. For more information see the Children or Youth pastor. Also, you may visit the Kenbrook Website : www.kenbrook.org

Once a week, homeschooled families meet for a time of fellowship, encouragement, and shared learning. Diane Buckwalter (649-9509) is the coordinator/contact person.

Leaders in Training LIT is a group for kids in 5th grade. The purpose of the LIT group. • Create Opportunities for development of adult and peer relationships • Meet the unique needs of older elementary kids • Strengthen children’s ties & commitments to the church • Help smooth the transition to youth group Activities may include hiking, bowling, movie night, hayrides, miniature golf, and cooking class. This group meets during Wed. night Kids Club. Vacation Bible School Vacation Bible school is held for one full week in the summer, usually in the evenings. There is a different theme each year. This is a great opportunity for your child to come and bring a friend. Children from preschool to 5th grade are welcome to participate. Library HBIC has a growing library available for your use. It is located in the CE Room and has books for children and youth on a variety of topics, as well as a video collection. You may check out books and videos at any time. The video library is located at the end of the hall in the CE room. Please follow the guidelines located in the library.

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Preschool Playground The playground is primarily intended for preschool children. Older children/classes may use the playground as an outdoor meeting place but should not use the equipment (swings, slides, etc.). The playground is only to be used under adult supervision. Teachers should do a quick scan of the playground space before using it with children. In particular, look for and remove broken glass and other trash. Please be sure to return all equipment and toys to their appropriate places. If you notice that there is broken equipment or other unsafe conditions, please tell the children’s pastor.


General Expectations for All Volunteers

Nursery, Toddler, & Preschool Helpers

Ministry to children is both a fun and a serious undertaking. Children are such a blessing! We have much to learn from their curiosity, faith, exuberance, and sensitivity. We also need to protect children’s minds against false doctrine, keep them safe from physical harm, and gently help them to see themselves and the world through Christ’s eyes. Harrisburg BIC has high standards for people who work with children. To be considered for ministry, volunteers must be Christians with Christ-honoring lifestyles, have demonstrated gifts in relating to children, and have completed the Child and Youth Protection Policy Screening. In addition, the following are continuous expectations: Maintain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by engaging in personal Bible study and prayer. 1. Worship regularly with the church family. 2. Develop nurturing, encouraging relationships with children and their families. 3. Engage in ongoing teacher education and enrichment activities, including attendance at ministry team meetings.

When parents leave their children in the Early Childhood nurseries, they are putting their trust in your hands. In addition to using your common sense, please observe the following guidelines in order to create a positive experience for parents, children, and other volunteers.

Most programs are staffed by ministry teams. The coordinator of each ministry team gives direct supervision and support to volunteers on that ministry team, and represents that ministry team at Children Ministry meetings. The following is list of the current ministry teams: Newborn Nursery Elementary Sunday School 1 yr old nursery Kids Club 2 yr old nursery Junior Church 3yr old Preschool LIT’s 4yr old Preschool Vacation Bible School Volunteers who are not on a ministry team report directly to the appropriate pastor (children or youth).

Arrival/Dismissal Please be in your classroom at least 15 minutes before the program is actually scheduled to begin. Some children arrive early because their parents are involved in other areas of ministry; other children come late. Always be prepared with an opening activity that welcomes children and gets them engaged. Also be prepared for the occasions when the worship service will go longer than usual. Children should only be dismissed to the person with the corresponding band, so at times you may need to fill some extra time at the end. If a child is still waiting for his/her parents 15 minutes after the service ends, you may accompany the child to his parents. Be sure to follow the Band Policy. Absences and Substitutes Understandably, your may have schedule conflicts during the time when you are scheduled to help. Attempt to find a substitute; if not, let your ministry team leader know when you will be absent. Also, please let the church secretary know of changes. Guidelines 1. Introduce yourself to visitors and parents. 2. Sign in each child and mark attendance. parents follow sign-in procedures.

Ensure that

3. Give each child a color/number band and the parent the matching one. Only the parent with the band can pick up the child. 4. Ask the parent if there is anything special you should know (food allergies, comfort measures, etc.).

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5. Play and have fun! Bubbles, crayons, chalk, and puzzles can be found in the classrooms. A cassette player and tapes can also be used, but feel free to sing without accompaniment – the children will enjoy you if you are having fun. Take time to talk about our awesome God through play. 6. Snacks are available in the cabinet. Please use your discretion; we don’t want to spoil any lunches. 7. Check diapers at least once an hour and change as needed. Remember to wash hands thoroughly before and after changing diapers. 8. Wash toys with Lysol wipes or soap and water as needed. 9. If a child is crying inconsolably, call or text the sound/projection booth with the color and number of the child’s band to locate the child’s parent. Do not leave your classroom unattended. If you have any specific questions about the infant or toddler nurseries, please contact one of the Early Childhood coordinators.

Volunteers with Preschool and Elementary Children in the Creation Kids Area Whether you are a teacher, a snack helper, a library buddy, or a song leader, you have the potential to influence children’s lives and hearts. What an awesome opportunity and what an awesome responsibility! The following information will help you create an environment in which children can be shown God’s love. Arrival/Dismissal Please be in your classroom at least 15 minutes before the program is actually scheduled to begin. Some children arrive early because their parents are involved in other areas of ministry; other children come late. Always be prepared with an opening activity that welcomes children and gets them engaged. Also be prepared for the occasions when the worship service will go longer than usual. Children should only be dismissed to their parents, so at times you may need to fill some extra time at the end. If a child is still waiting for his/her parents 15 minutes after the service ends, you may accompany the child to his parents. For Children in the Preschool Classrooms, please follow the color/number band policy. Absences and Substitutes Understandably, your may have schedule conflicts during the time when you are scheduled to help. Attempt to find a substitute; if not, let your ministry team leader know when you will be absent. Supplies Supplies are in the Christian Ed (purple) resource room. When you are finished, please return items to the supply room and place them back where they belong. Visitors and Attendance Hopefully, we will have lots of visitors! Plan ahead how to make new children feel welcome in your classroom. Look at your classroom from a child’s perspective, keep extra Bibles on hand for children that don’t have one, and remember to let new

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kids know what’s expected of them. In many cases, you may be the only adult that has contact with visiting children and their families. Try to get as much information as possible about them, particularly their full name and telephone number/address. If possible, introduce them to the Children’s Pastor and to other parents. If that’s not possible, at least inform the Children’s Pastor of their presence so that appropriate follow-up contacts can be made. Please take attendance in your class weekly. Your attendance sheets will be collected at the end of each quarter, and are used to keep record of growth, aid in planning for class set up, and help to estimate how much curriculum to order. If you notice that a student has been absent for a while, feel free to call them or send them a postcard to let them know that they’ve been missed. Salvation and Children We hope and pray that all of the children under our care will one day make the decision to become followers of Christ, serving God with their heart, soul, mind, and strength. While some spiritual concepts are too abstract for most children to understand, the basics of faith can be put into words that kids can grasp. Do not be afraid to offer opportunities for children to express their commitment to God. The Holy Spirit is your helper! Do speak to the Children’s Pastor and the child’s parents about any steps that a child takes, so that he or she can be appropriately supported. Evaluation One of the best things you can do for your students is to engage in regular, intentional self-evaluation. To do this, you could: • Reflect on your time with the children. Are they learning are growing? • Review your job description and the age-appropriate learning goals. • Talk to parents about what their children are saying at home. • Meet with your co-teacher to discuss classroom dynamics.

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Ask children what they like/dislike about their time at church.

Continuing Education To be a teacher, you must be a learner. There are many opportunities at Harrisburg BIC to develop your skills and focus your vision for children’s ministry. Each ministry team will meet for enrichment, planning, and discussion. Please make these meetings a priority. The Children’s Pastor will be putting teaching tips in your mailbox occasionally, and the Children’s Ministry Resource Room offers a number of books and ideas for teacher education. You will be informed of local workshops and conferences by the Children’s Pastor, and registration fees for such training events are usually covered by the church.


Guide to Discipline and Classroom Management for Elementary Age Children The church has tried to develop a simple, easy to understand, and easy to use system for helping children get the most out of their time in church activities. Our system is based on the concept that children want to know what’s expected of them and feel most secure when given clear boundaries. We also encourage teachers to plan carefully in order to interest children with various learning styles and abilities. When children are bored, they tend to amuse themselves with activities that can be disruptive to others. All children want and need attention. Our goal is to give children enough positive attention and affirmation that they will not need to seek attention in negative ways. To summarize: • Realistic expectations and clear boundaries • Careful planning • Positive affirmation are ways to develop a classroom management system that works. The basic ground rules that apply to any church setting are: 1. Obey the leaders. 2. Walk, don’t run. 3. Listen when others are talking. 4. Keep hands and feet to yourself. Some classes need to be reminded of these rules weekly, and it’s especially important to let visitors know what’s expected of them. It’s also important to let children know what the consequences are. If children are disobeying the rules, it’s essential to ask why. We generally use the “1-2-3 Magic” system to deal with disobedience. The “1-2-3 Magic” System 1. First failure to follow rules: Warning 2. Second failure to follow rules: Warning 3. Third failure to follow rules: Time Out If you have clearly explained the rules, the warnings do not have to be lengthy explanations or interrogations. A simple

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statement such as, “Jenny, that’s 1,” is usually sufficient. In fact, too much talking while giving warnings can reduce the effectiveness of 1-2-3 Magic and become a contest of wills or a distraction to the rest of the class. Here’s a brief example of 12-3 Magic in action: • • • • • • • •

Child enters classroom yelling at a friend. Teacher: “Please use an inside voice.: Child ignore teacher and keeps yelling. Teacher: “Steve, that’s 1.” A little while later, child is whispering to a friend while teacher is talking. Teacher: “Steve, that 2.” Child stops whispering, but then starts elbowing his neighbor and being disruptive Teacher: “Steve, that’s 3. Time out.”

As you can see, different negative behaviors can be “counted.” Some behaviors, such as fighting, warrant an immediate time out and no warning is necessary. The purpose of time outs is to provide an immediate consequence by removing a child from the activity, denying them the privilege of participating. Time outs are generally based on the child’s age; however, in mixedage settings (like junior church), a standard 5 minutes keeps things simple and consistent. If a child receives a time out and continues to be disruptive, they may be dismissed from activities for that day and escorted to their parent/guardian, or parents are called. If you are experiencing challenges with the same child week after week, it’s probably time to try a different approach. Talk to the Ministry Team Leader or the children’s pastor to see if they have any suggestions. If you’re in a ministry where teachers change every week, check in with other teachers to see if they’re experience the same problems. A visit with the family might give insight into the situation, and some one-onone time with the child may give them the attention they crave. In exploring negative behaviors, remember that you’re working with a child who has a problem, not a “problem child.” Keep in


mind that children are not able to verbalize their emotions like adults, and consider the many factors that may cause stress in their lives. Above all else, remember to pray for God’s protection on their heart, soul, mind, and strength. The Family Child Support Team may need to be convened to set up a plan for the child. Our goal is for Church to be a positive place for all children. Guidelines for Children’s Snack Food, fun, and fellowship—a recipe for good times, no matter where you are. Snacks for children can be an exciting part of the learning experience, giving kids the opportunity to get “hands-on.” Snacks can reinforce a lesson, provide an occasion for teamwork, be an exercise in sharing, and can be part of an overall system of discipline and rewards. Some children may not have eaten breakfast before coming to church on a Sunday morning, and it may be physically impossible for them to concentrate with an empty stomach. However, because of diverse family preferences, the increase in allergies, and the need for consistency, it is necessary to have guidelines regarding snack. If you decide to include a snack in your time with the children (whether as a regular part of the lesson or as a special treat) please note the following suggestions: • Snack is meant to be a snack, not a meal. Keep it small so that children still have an appetite for lunch. • Sugar snacks (i.e., cookies, doughnuts, candy, cupcakes, etc.) are to be used on a very limited basis. Preferable are healthy snacks, such as fruit, fresh vegetables, popcorn, pretzels, crackers, etc. In general, please do not make juice for the children. Water (whether simply from the fountain or in a cup) is all that the children need to wash their snack down. • Snack is not meant to be a financial burden to anyone. There is a cupboard in the CE kitchen labeled “Children’s Ministry Snacks.” Help yourself to anything you find in that cupboard. Also feel free to ask parents, grandparents, and other church folks to bring snack.

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When appropriate, involve children in preparing snack. Be sure to have them wash their hands! Be aware of allergies, and try to avoid snacks that kids are allergic to. If this is not possible, be sure to provide an alternative. Check profile sheets for newborn to 4yr old preschool classes. Remember that snack is a privilege for children, not a right. You always have the option of withholding snack from an individual or class if behavior has not been appropriate.

Resources and Guidelines The children’s ministry resources are available in the (purple) resource room. It is open to all people who work with children under the auspices of Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church. In addition to being a storage place for Sunday School curriculum, Junior Church music, the room also has a lot of great resources and supplies. There are four main categories of supplies in the room: books/resources, basic classroom supplies, craft supplies, and activities. Please take some time to explore the supply room and learn how these resources can inspire and supplement your ministry. You will probably agree that a clean and organized room is much more user-friendly that one filled with chaos, so please do your part to maintain it in good order. Please return items to where you found them – most tubs are labeled. And if ever you notice that more supplies are needed, please see the Children’s Pastor. If you are donating items for the resource room, please place in the designated tub.


2. Regular attendance at Harrisburg BIC for at

Child and Youth Protection Policy

least 6 months.1 3. No criminal history of abusing children or youth. 4. Age requirements a. To volunteer in Nursery/Toddler and Preschool Departments, workers must have completed 5th grade2. b. To volunteer in the Elementary Department, workers must have completed 8th grade2. c. To volunteer in the Youth Department, workers must be at least 18 years old. B. Screening 1. A list of all prospective workers must be reviewed by pastoral staff. 2. All volunteers must complete a volunteer profile and be interviewed by the appropriate pastor. 3. References for all volunteers may be checked. 4. Volunteers over the age of 18 must obtain a Criminal Background Record Check and a Child Abuse History Clearance. The cost for these clearances will be covered by the church.

At Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church, we believe that children and youth learn about the love of God through caring, loving relationships with peers and adults. Because of the vulnerability of children and youth, it is imperative that the trust they and their parents put in the church be upheld. For kids to develop a right image of God, the church and its people need to offer a safe, secure, and loving environment. To that end, Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church has developed a Child and Youth Protection Policy. The goals of the Child and Youth Protection Policy are: 1. To protect children and youth from being physically or sexually abused while participating in churchsanctioned activities. 2. To protect volunteers from false accusations of abuse. 3. To protect the church’s resources in the event of litigation or dispute. 4. To provide a clear path of response in the event of suspected abuse. While safety cannot be guaranteed, the purpose of the Child and Youth Protection Policy is to minimize the risks inherent in work with children under 18 years of age. This policy is directed toward church-sanctioned activities specifically designed for children and youth; however, any activity of the church should make provision for the protection, care, and nurture of the children and youth among us. The following policy and procedures are to be followed during every Harrisburg BIC-sponsored Children and Youth Ministry (CYM) program and event. I.

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Volunteer screening and training: Those who wish to volunteer in children and youth ministry need to meet the following requirements: A. Personal Qualifications 1. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ and compassion for children and youth.

C. Training All children and youth volunteers will be given an orientation to policies and guidelines for minimizing risk, to learn the signs of physical and sexual abuse, 1

This long-term attendance rule eliminates any quick access to children by newcomers while giving both the potential volunteer and the church community time to become acquainted. Exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the pastoral staff. 2 While we affirm the participation of youth as volunteers in children’s ministries, we ask that they continue their involvement in ageappropriate learning. Therefore, youth may only miss Sunday School or worship once a month to help with a younger class.


and to become familiar with the response to allegations of abuse. II. General guidelines A. Two screened adults should be present in all classrooms and at all activities. One of the adults must be at least 21 years old. If, because of staffing shortages or space limitations, only one adult is present, the following guidelines must be observed. 1. The classroom will have a window or open door that permits public viewing. 2. The classroom will be checked at least hourly by another adult. B. Adult/Child Ratio: In addition to the two adult rule, the following are minimum ratio guidelines of children to adults: 1. Infant and Toddler classes: 1 adult for every 3 children 2. Preschool classes: 1 adult for every 4 children 3. Elementary classes: 1 adult for every 6-8 children 4. Youth classes: 1 adult for every 8-10 youth C. Appropriate Touch In ministry touch can be an important way of expressing care. Since we may not know a child or youth’s history or how he or she will interpret physical contact, sensitivity needs to be exercised. Children and youth do retain the right to refuse physical contact. 1. Permission should be sought from the child or youth before giving hugs or carrying. Children above preschool age may not be carried unless in the case of a medical emergency. 2. Gentle contact on the head, shoulders, arm or hand are generally non-threatening examples of casual, caring touch.

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D. Discipline Children and youth volunteer/workers may not use physical discipline such as spanking under any circumstances. Physical restraint should not be used unless injury to self, others, or property is imminent. Refer to specific departments for guidelines on discipline and classroom management. E. Pick Up Following any child or youth activity, two screened volunteer/workers must remain present until all students are gone or are released to their parents/guardians. Children cannot leave the Children’s Ministry area without a parent, guardian or sibling (in 6th grade or older.) Children 4 yrs old and younger must be picked up by the parent, guardian or sibling (in 6th grade or older) who has the corresponding band. F. Relationships At no time shall anyone working with youth pursue a dating relationship with a student. III Age-Specific Guidelines A. Infant and Toddler Nursery 1. Children are to be signed in and out by their parent on the clip board at the classroom. Follow band procedure. 2. Children who are sick, injured, or who have been crying for more than 15 minutes should be taken to their parents. 3. Diapers should be checked every hour. Diaper changing should be done in a room with another nursery volunteer/worker, or the door to the room left open. Please follow safe hand-washing and disposal procedures. If children are potty-trained but need assistance, they may be accompanied to the


bathroom by an adult with the door left open for visibility. B. Preschool Classes 1. Children are to be signed in and out by their parent on the clip board at the classroom. Follow band procedure. 2. Children should be encouraged to use the bathroom before they come to class. Group bathroom breaks should be scheduled regularly. 3. While preschool children tend to have a lot of energy, roughhousing and dangerous play are strongly discouraged. C. Elementary Classes 1. Parents/Guardians need to come to the classroom to get their children. Children may not leave the CE area without a parent. 2. If assistance is needed in the bathroom, an approved adult may assist. IV. Transportation – In either personal vehicles or the Church van. 1. Seat belts MUST be worn. Please follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding front seat passenger side air bags. 2. All children through the age of 7 MUST be in an age appropriate car seat. 3. All drivers must be at least 21 years old and have a good driving history to drive the church van. 4. If a person under 18 is transporting people other than immediate family members, written permission must be received from the passengers’ parents.

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V. Emergency information 1. A copy of each child’s Medical Release Form should be carried whenever leaving church property when feasible. (see Appendix C) 2. A permission form is required for all offcampus activities. In cases where frequent field trips occur (such as for Quizzing, LIT’s, etc.), a comprehensive permission form may be used instead of separate forms for each activity. (see Appendix D) VI. Overnight Events 1. Separate sleeping quarters are required for each gender. 2. One adult per room is recommended, with at least two youth present3. VII. One-on-one Contact There are situations where an adult has legitimate reasons to meet privately with a student. The adult leader should do one of the following prior to meeting with the student: 1. receive consent from the student’s parent/guardian4; or 2. notify the appropriate church staff; or 3. secure the presence of another adult on the premises. All one-on-one meetings must take place in a well lit room with door open or windowed. Approved volunteer/ workers may at 3

Although this recommendation counters the previously stated policy of having two adults in the room, we acknowledge that on overnight trips, two adults in each room would be unrealistic financially and logistically (it would essentially mean a 1-to-1 ratio of youth to adults). Therefore, special consideration must be given when selecting adult to participate in overnight events. 4 In mentoring relationships, where repeated one-on-one meetings are expected, a specific mentoring permission form must be signed by the parent/guardian at the beginning of the relationship. This permission form will fulfill the need for consent from parent/ guardian.


times invite students to their homes for a church sanctioned activity. If only one approved volunteer/worker will be present, the activity should be approved by the appropriate staff member and verbal or written parental permission obtained for each student attending. Recognizing Suspected Child Abuse Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law defines “child abuse” as non-accidental serious physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or serious neglect caused by the acts or omissions of the parent or caretaker or anyone else. Child abuse takes many forms, and the warning signs vary. Below are some typical signs of types of abuse. It’s important to recognize that some of these signs by themselves don’t necessarily mean that abuse is occurring. But if these signs are part of a pattern or seem to be continually present, there could be reason for suspicion. Physical Abuse This is when a child is purposely hurt through hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, or similar actions. • Physical signs include unusual or unexplained bruises, welts, cuts or other injuries, broken bones, or burns. • Behavior signs may include wearing clothing that is inappropriate for the weather to hide injuries; seeming withdrawn or depressed; seeming afraid to go home; shying away from physical contact; or showing aggression. Mental Abuse (also known as emotional or verbal abuse) This is when there are repeated threats or insults that are intended to scare or embarrass children or crush their selfesteem. • Physical signs include speech disorders and/or slowed physical development. • Behavioral signs may include the child acting too mature or too childish for his or her age; having difficulty making or keeping friends; or having extreme behavioral changes.

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Sexual Abuse This is when there is any inappropriate sexual activity with a child. Inappropriate touching is the most frequent form of sexual abuse. Others include using a child for sexual films or prostitution, or exposing a child to adult sexual activity (through photographs, videos, etc.) • Physical signs include torn, stained, or bloody underwear; trouble walking or sitting; pain or itching in the genital area; bruises or bleeding in the genital area; or a sexually transmitted disease. • Behavioral signs are an unusual knowledge of sex; fear of a particular person; seeming to be withdrawn or depressed; sudden weight gain or loss; or shying away from physical contact. Neglect Child neglect is a repeated failure to provide a child with needed care, protection, and attention. More than one million cases are reported each year. • Physical signs of neglect include poor hygiene; slowed physical development or appearing underweight; unattended medical needs; or little or no supervision at home. • Behavioral signs include arriving at school very early or late, or missing school often; being frequently tired or hungry; stealing food; or being inappropriately dressed for the weather. This information taken from the pamphlet “Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse in Pennsylvania: A Guide For Mandated Reporters,” published by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.


Reporting Child Abuse What types of things should be reported? 1. If you witness someone abusing a child. 2. If a child confesses to you that he/she has been abused. 3. If you see physical or behavior signs suggesting abuse (as outlined in “Recognizing Child Abuse”) 4. If someone tells you that they have abused a child. 5. If someone tells you that a child has been abused. In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. Procedures for reporting child abuse 1. Children/youth volunteers/workers should immediately contact the pastoral staff member who supervises their ministry and complete the HBIC Child Abuse Report Form (Appendix A). The situation should not be discussed with anyone else. If the incident involves a paid staff member, the vice-chair of the church board should be contacted and receive the report. Extra forms will be kept in the “Purple supply room.” 2. The reporting volunteer/worker and the pastoral staff member will confer with the senior pastor. . If abuse is suspected the pastor of the supervising ministry will immediately make a report to ChildLine. If the alleged abuse took place during any church sanctioned activity, or if the alleged perpetrator and/or the victim are from the congregation, then the Child and Youth Protection Response Team may be convened, at the discretion of the senior pastor.( see Appendix B) 3. The pastoral staff and/or the Child and Youth Protection Response Team will decide on an appropriate course of action. This may include an internal investigation, notifying ChildLine (1-800-932-0313), or seeking legal advice. A written record of the decision should be kept on file.

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NOTE: Volunteers are not required by state law to report suspected child abuse to ChildLine. However, it is the policy of HBIC that volunteers must report suspected abuse to the pastoral staff in charge of that area of ministry immediately. In addition to notifying a member of the pastoral staff, volunteers may contact ChildLine directly at any point (1-800-932-0313). Paid staff are required to report suspected abuse to ChildLine immediately. Ordained ministers may enact the first person confidential communication clause if it applies. If in doubt about whether to report, legal advice may be sought. It is not the responsibility of the reporting person to substantiate or investigate any allegations of abuse.

If you think a child has been abused: a. Stay calm. Fear and anger are normal reactions, but they can frighten a child. Be sure not to blame, punish, or embarrass the child. b. Give emotional support. Tell the child that he or she is right to tell and is not to blame. Reassure the child that he or she is safe and that no harm will come from reporting the incident. c. Believe the child, no matter how hard it may be. Never assume the child is making it up. d. Get medical help if necessary. For the child who needs medical attention, call 911 or the County Children and Youth agency.


Appendix A Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Child Abuse Report Form

The Child and Youth Protection Response Team is composed of the church board vice chair, a deacon representative, the senior pastor, an outside mediator, and a congregational representative not on church board.

Note: This is not a state report form. Date: Reporter’s Name: Address:

Time: Phone:

Child’s Name: Address:

Birthdate:

Parent’s Name:

Phone:

1.

What I saw (please be as specific as possible):

2.

My concerns were:

3.

What I did:

4.

Is the child currently safe? Where and with whom?

5.

Other relevant information:

A copy of this report shall be kept by the reporting individual, a copy given to the supervising staff member, and a copy given to the senior pastor.

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Appendix B Child and Youth Protection Response Team

The responsibilities of this team are to: 1. Report the incident to the church insurance company (if appropriate), attorney, and denominational officials. 2. Notify the parents of the alleged victim (unless there is compelling reason to believe that might put the child in jeopardy). 3. Designate a spokesperson (usually the vice chair of the church board). All media inquiries should be referred to the designated spokesperson. The designated spokesperson should also communicate the situation to the congregation (only if appropriate), dealing with any questions regarding legal proceedings, suspension of staff, effect on programs, etc. It may be appropriate to have legal counsel when answering investigating questions from police/service/media agencies. 4. Document all efforts at dealing with the incident. 5. Safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of all involved as feasible. 6. Work with church staff and congregation to assess and meet the needs of victims and their families, alleged perpetrators and their families, and the congregation in a crisis situation. Support, dignity, and care should be extended to all involved. Additional notes • The team is not responsible for determining the validity of a complaint or for investigating the circumstances surrounding a complaint. • If the accused is a church worker, he/she will be temporarily relieved of his/her duties until the investigation is finished. If the individual is a paid employee, a decision to either maintain or suspend income until the allegations are cleared or substantiated shall be determined by the appropriate pastor and/or Church Board.


Appendix C Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church 2011-2012 Children’s Ministry Registration and Emergency Information Registration for: (check all that apply) Sunday School (9:00 a.m.) Second Service (10:30 a.m.) th Wednesday Night Activities LIT’S (Group for 5 graders) Child’s Name: Date of Birth: Address: Parent/Guardian: Phone: School: (if applicable) Grade: (2007-08 school year) Child/Family Email Address: Food allergies or restrictions: Other pertinent medical conditions and instructions: We will not release your child to anyone without your permission. Please list those people (parents, siblings over 12, relatives, friends) who have permission to pick up your child: If you live within walking distance, may your child walk home alone? Yes No Emergency Information I give permission for my child to participate in activities with Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church both on and off church property. I release the Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church and participating leaders from liability in the unlikely event of any injury or accident that may occur. I accept responsibility for any expenses that may be incurred. In the event of an emergency, all efforts will be made to contact the parent/guardian listed above. If a parent/guardian cannot be reached, please seek medical assistance for my child and contact: Name: _____________________Relationship:

____________Phone:

Child’s Physician: ___________________________Phone: Hospital Preference: _______________________________

Medical Insurance Company: _________________________________ Parent’s Signature _____________________Date ____________ Photograph release On occasion, photographs may be taken of children for publicity and archival use. If you DO NOT want your child to be photographed, please check the box below. I DO NOT want my child to be photographed during participation in activities at Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church.

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Children's Ministry Handbook