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HELPING LEADERS BECOME

B E T T E R S T E WA R D S .

Children’s Spaces

Presented by: Calbert Design Group, LLC


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CHURCH EXECUTIVE • C H I L D R E N ’ S S P A C E S

churchexecutive.com


Table of Contents IS YOUR FACILITY TOO HOT, TOO COLD, OR JUST RIGHT?

10 DESIGN RULES WE ALWAYS FOLLOW 4

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By Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

As an architect, I notice my surroundings more than the “average bear.” And lately, trends in youth ministry interior design bring to mind Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some spaces are too hot, some are too cold, and some are just right. To get to “just right,” every church should look to its mission and community. If your mission is focused on children and young families, then your church is all about kids and celebrating the child.

SPRING TIME = PLAY TIME!

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I have something to confess: My first church memories were not of bible stories, or of the nice minister who would bend down to shake my hand after services. My earliest childhood memory of church was playing the game, Red Rover. Classroom activities, such as crafts, music and coloring that relate to each week’s church lesson is an easy way to emphasize and repeat the information. But if you want to raise the bar on your youth ministries lesson planning and inclusion, take the kids outside.

The goal, then, is to make church so fun that children beg to come back. Here’s how. By Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

By Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

ADVICE FROM AN ARCHITECT: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

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It’s common for building construction to take two years, from the initial planning phase to project completion. You don’t want to find yourself in the all-too-common situation of having outgrown your facility before it is finished construction. Here are a few pieces of advice to help your church avoid that scenario. By Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

8 TRENDS FOR 2018 AND HOW TO USE THEM

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As we come into the New Year, we feel the need to freshen up our spaces and clean out our closets. The beginning of a new year is synonymous with change, self-improvement, and taking on new challenges. A typical resolution is to clean out and redecorate tired areas to offer a fresh start to a renewed program. Our design firm has compiled a list of our eight favorite interior design ideas trending right now that will enhance your youth ministry and church as a whole. By Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

churchexecutive.com

C H I L D R E N ’ S S P A C E S • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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Children’s Spaces

Is your facility too hot, too cold, or just right? Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

As an architect, I notice my surroundings more than the “average bear.” And lately, trends in youth ministry interior design bring to mind Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some spaces are too hot, some are too cold, and some are just right. I’ve seen church facilities take a Disney-esque approach. Taken to extremes, that’s “too hot.” (After all, if church looks like Disneyland, what makes Disneyland special anymore?) I’ve also seen churches go in the opposite direction — far more puritan. Some treat children’s spaces no differently than the rest of the facility, with stark, white hallways that are more sterile than modernday public schools. To get to “just right,” every church should look to its mission and community. If your mission is focused on children and young families, then your church is all about kids and celebrating the child. The goal, then, is to make church so fun that children beg to come back. Here’s how.

The right mix: 5 proven strategies #1: Start small (and ask for help) It’s easy to become frozen by all the available choices, so consider breaking down the decisions into smaller bites. Painting a light neutral color, adding a little decorative trim, and freshening up the carpet is easily within reach. But, if you don’t feel comfortable making material and color selections, enlist the help of a church member who you believe personifies your community. #2: Know when to ask for more help! On the other end of the spectrum, a complete design (or redesign) — while exciting — can be overwhelming. Plan for large-scale decisions to be made by the church design committee. Then, allow for stakeholders to speak to their very different needs for the space. Youth ministers will prioritize ease of supervision, aesthetics, and welcoming entry and common areas. Teachers will want easy-to-clean surfaces, lots of storage, and soundabsorbing acoustics. If your space will have hard walls and ceilings, introduce carpets and fabrics to help absorb the sound. To that end, also, consider area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. Parents will be concerned with ease of drop-off and security. And children themselves, of course, can offer creative ideas. #3: Think like a kid It sounds obvious, but remember that children are small. Sit down on the floor and look around at the environment, from a child’s perspective, with a critical eye. 4

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • C H I L D R E N ’ S S P A C E S

Mount pictures and handouts children would find interesting at their eye level. Keep the room bright and airy, using colors that will help to make the space comfortable. Or, use pastels with small pops of bolder colors. Children who are too young to read need non-verbal cues to help them navigate the space. Include changes of color, and add simple, bright graphics — again, at children’s eye level — to help them know they’re in the right place. Finally, keep in mind that toddlers will give very little notice when they need to use the restroom; so, think about proximity. Also incorporate child-size restroom equipment — small toilets, as well as sinks mounted low so kids can easily wash hands without the risk of falling off a step stool. #4: Whatever you do, stay versatile Think about it — do you know a single 10-year-old who likes the same things he did at 5? Today’s Fidget Spinners will quickly become tomorrow’s Tickle Me Elmo. Don’t build more today than you can afford to demolish in five years, when your congregation has grown so much that you are moving the children’s ministry into a completely new wing. As the old adage goes, the only constant is change — and the congregation (young and old) is always growing and changing. #5: The message drives the magic No amount of kid-friendly aesthetics can be successful without the right message behind it. Above all, you must communicate to children that they belong. This is true whether you’re building a completely new youth ministry wing from scratch, or renovating an existing space to make it more appealing. Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB is the Owner and Principal Architect at Calbert Design Group, LLC in Kennesaw, Ga. [ www.calbertdesign.com ] With 30 years of professional experience, Calbert has worked with various award-winning architectural firms in the Metro Atlanta area. churchexecutive.com


Advice from an architect:

PLAN FOR THE

FUTURE

It’s common for building construction to take two years, from the initial planning phase to project completion. You don’t want to find yourself in the all-too-common situation of having outgrown your facility before it is finished construction. A few pieces of advice:

There’s no such thing as “too much storage” Storage is needed in classrooms for teachers to have easy access. Lockable storage is needed for personal belonging and cleaning supplies that should stay out of children’s reach. Car seat storage should be located near the entry and check-in areas. You get the idea.

Scale everything for children To encourage independence and acceptance, everything within the youth wing should be scaled to a child’s size. At the check-in area, a portion of the counter should be low enough that a child can see over it to the adult greeting them. In the corridors, include creative room signage at child height. Within the classroom, tables, chairs, window sills, sinks and restroom equipment should be child-sized.

Create a consistent church brand Your church has a brand, whether you’re being strategic about it or not. Your “brand” is what you represent and how you’re connecting to your community. So, be consistent throughout the youth spaces, and include them in your overall brand. Having a minimalistic church with a Disney-like youth area will send a mixed message, and vice versa.

Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB is the Owner and Principal Architect at Calbert Design Group, LLC in Kennesaw, Ga. [ www. calbertdesign.com ] With 30 years of professional experience, Calbert has worked with various award-winning architectural firms in the Metro Atlanta area. churchexecutive.com

C H I L D R E N ’ S S P A C E S • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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Children’s Spaces 8 trends for 2018 and how to use them

Interior design ideas to enhance your youth ministry Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

As we come into the New Year, we feel the need to freshen up our spaces and clean out our closets. The beginning of a new year is synonymous with change, self-improvement, and taking on new challenges. A typical resolution is to clean out and redecorate tired areas to offer a fresh start to a renewed program. Our design firm has compiled a list of our eight favorite interior design ideas trending right now that will enhance your youth ministry and church as a whole.

#3: A warm hug Blending earthy browns with rosy blush tones is like walking into a warm hug. The appeal of this color combination comes from its relationship to our natural skin tones, which lends itself to infant and preschool spaces. To continue these colors into a teen center, give it an edginess with raw woods and shiny fabrics. Keep the gentlemen of your congregation from feeling out of place by limiting blush tones. Minimalistic-style furnishings also prevent this from coming across as too feminine. #4: Raw materials Using natural materials isn’t new, but try to combine wood, metal and stone in unique ways. Metals are making a comeback, but instead of metal and glass furniture, the current interpretation of this trend is metal with wood. Thanks to innovative flooring products, you can get the warmth of wood in a waterproof product. Glass is never recommended in children’s environments unless it is tempered. Safety first!

#1: Fresh complements If you are interested in invigorating colors, follow nature’s example from sunsets and use the complementary shades of blue and orange. Blue and orange can be used together in children’s and adult spaces alike; the key is to pick the right shades of each color to fit the mood of each area. In children’s spaces, an entire wall saturated with color might be the perfect way to cheer up a lower level classroom with few or no windows. In teen spaces, use strong, bright doses of the colors. In adult spaces, soften or deepen the shades for a more sophisticated experience. #2: Bring the outside in Another favorite color trend that seems to never go out of style is one that will give your facility a very comfortable and relaxing aura: the verdure trend. This trend focuses on the many shades of lush green vegetation. Combine your favorite shades of green with berry-infused purples, which symbolize health and well-being, and it will create a sense of comfort in your church facility, while still remaining interesting.

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CHURCH EXECUTIVE • C H I L D R E N ’ S S P A C E S

#5: Classic chic For those who enjoy a strong, powerful and intense décor, we can testify to a color palette that summons strength and power: black and gold. These two colors will give any room a sense of luxury and exclusivity while causing quite the impression. #6: Rec-room meets restaurant You don’t have to be a restaurant to look and feel like one. The design elements of restaurants and cafés function well for teen centers. A mixture of seating types, loosely-defined zones for small group discussions, and moveable furniture to allow for sizeable group activities, will be a big hit with young and old alike. #7: Large-scale graphics Inspirational phrases adorned on walls and artwork are on point right now. We can’t imagine anything more inspirational than bible passages. Wall murals are made from vinyl that can be easily installed and easily removed. Having the youth create the graphic art themselves is also a very costeffective choice, that involves team building as well. churchexecutive.com


#8: Cottage charm Country cottage, white shiplap, weathered wood, time-worn and vintage accessories. What’s old is new again. These sentimental visions represent cherished ideas of home, family and security. No matter what your church style, or whether you love the trends we’ve featured above, don’t let your interior finishes be an afterthought. Keeping in step with current interior trends will help your church feel more like a home away from home, laying the foundation for a culture of community and a sense of belonging.  

Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB is the Owner and Principal Architect at Calbert Design Group, LLC in Kennesaw, Ga. With 30 years of professional experience, Calbert has worked with various award-winning architectural firms in the Metro Atlanta area. churchexecutive.com

C H I L D R E N ’ S S P A C E S • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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Children’s Spaces

Rule #5: Mix & match textures Spruce up your Sunday school classrooms by mixing and matching colors and textures. Pairing varied materials and finding the perfect complement is all part of the fun. Rule #6: Decorate walls We recommend decorating walls to reflect your church’s personality. Even adding just one bulletin board full of the children’s craft projects can enliven your space and make it relatable.

Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

Rule #7: Symmetry A carefully designed space with pristine symmetry is classic. Symmetry brings a sense of calmness and order to a room. Rule #8: Use what you have Make the most of what you have, whether you are moving into a new facility or just doing a quick update. Rule #9: Layer lighting Elevate the ambiance of your spaces with layered lighting. Supplement ceiling lighting with task lighting.

Rule #1: Measure twice, buy once Before you buy furniture and storage units, measure the classroom. Without knowing the exact wall lengths, you can end up acquiring furniture that is too large. Rule #2: Start simple Begin with a simple floor plan and the major activity zones of each classroom. Use the floor plan to arrange the locations of large furniture items like tables, desks, storage, and imaginative play pieces. Rule #3: Form & function Achieve both style and functionality in your youth ministry by using multi-purpose pieces. Don’t ignore how the space is used, its function, and account for where items will be stored when not in use. Rule #4: Invest in quality furniture While switching out affordable accessories to keep things current is an easy way to revitalize a room, don’t forget to invest in quality furniture that can handle the wear and tear of kid use and play. 8

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • C H I L D R E N ’ S S P A C E S

Rule #10: Avoid clutter Keep everything clean and tidy. A polished and organized church home is a great refuge from the chaos of everyday life. Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB is the Owner and Principal Architect at Calbert Design Group, LLC in Kennesaw, Ga. With 30 years of professional experience, Calbert has worked with various award-winning architectural firms in the Metro Atlanta area.

churchexecutive.com


Children’s Spaces

By Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

I have something to confess: My first church memories were not of bible stories, or of the nice minister who would bend down to shake my hand after services. My earliest childhood memory of church was playing the game, Red Rover.

Do you remember it? Red rover, red rover, send Rebecca right over? It was in Jacksonville, Fla., in the springtime, and I couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5. I was a shy child — the youngest of five — and I barely spoke to people, period. As was the usual routine, just before the minister was about to begin his sermon, he invited the children in the congregation to have children’s services separately so as to not get bored and fidgety during the sermon. Usually, I stayed behind with the adults. I would quietly sit by my mother and make designs in the soft suede of her purse. But on this day — the day I remember most — I went with the other children. I can’t really say what it was that made me go that day. Maybe it was the promise of playing outside, or maybe it was the warm smile of another child getting up to go with the Youth Leaders. I remember there was a lesson first, followed by a snack of orange slices. Decades have blurred my memory about what the bible lesson was that morning, but I can tell you what I really learned that day. I learned the joy of acceptance by strangers, friendship by children, and the gentle inclusion into a community that I have always held dear to my heart. I fell in love with my church community that morning. There, under the moss-covered oak trees playing Red Rover, I felt a sense of belonging that has never left me.

churchexecutive.com

A change of scenery will do everyone good Classroom activities, such as crafts, music and coloring that relate to each week’s church lesson is an easy way to emphasize and repeat the information. But if you want to raise the bar on your youth ministries lesson planning and inclusion, take the kids outside. A quiet group of children who don’t see each other on a regular basis might not be very open and interactive with each other. Going outside and having games to play can help make visiting children feel at ease and can bring shy kids out of their shells. Playing outside is a great social equalizer that encourages interaction of all types. A generation ago, warm weather meant children playing outdoors for long periods of time. They built forts, climbed trees, and jumped off rocks. Today, children’s fading engagement in outdoor play is largely influenced by parental and society safety concerns. To alleviate these concerns, create a safe outdoor play space that parents feel comfortable with. Include the following safety measures to keep your outdoor play space safe and sound. • S eparate each major age group — toddlers, preschool, school-aged. This will keep the younger children safe from having older children accidentally run into and trip over them. • I nclude tall fencing (preferably 6-feet tall) that would be difficult to climb. Having a taller fence will prevent the ability for an adult to reach over and lift a child out of the playground. Having a fence that is difficult to climb will prevent children from both climbing out and falling off the fence. • Safety fall zones under play equipment are areas that extend 6 feet away from the play equipment. These fall zones should have 2-inch-thick impact padding, 6-inches-thick of rubber mulch, or 9-inchesthick of sand, pea gravel and wood mulch.

• A rrange the playground equipment so that all areas of the playground are easily visible for parents, teachers and staff to supervise. If you wrap a playground around the corner of your building, separate the two sides so that children cannot run around the corner out of eye sight from supervising adults. • L eave an open area for organized games. Having open running space for games within the same fenced area protects children and offers the freedom to organize small and large group games and contests. • K eep a hose and hose bib nearby. A hose is handy for both rinsing off kids hands and rinsing off sidewalks and playground equipment as needed. Rebecca Calbert, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB is the Owner and Principal Architect at Calbert Design Group, LLC in Kennesaw, Ga. With 30 years of professional experience, Calbert has worked with various award-winning architectural firms in the Metro Atlanta area.

Your playground’s spring maintenance checklist • Vandalism • Loose bolts • Loose anchoring • Insect damage • Rusted metals • Rotting wood • Cracks in plastic • Broken glass & trash • Wood splitting & splinters • Washed-away fall surfacing • Loose, damaged or missing parts • Sharp corners, points or edges • Peeling, cracking or chipping paint. • Areas of entrapment (>3-1/2 inches but <9 inches diameter)

C H I L D R E N ’ S S P A C E S • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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Church Executive Children's Spaces  

Church Executive Children's Spaces  

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