At First Presbyterian Church, we believe this Scripture and have made it our mission to put this verse into action, so that every family and every child will know that they are “So Loved” by Jesus and his people.
So Loved Ministry Vision: We understand our work to keep this ministry thriving and do not view it as simply "babysitting"’ little ones. Our So Loved staff and volunteers are not just mere workers, they are all ministers of the gospel to the children. When children and their families walk away, they walk away feeling and knowing they are "So Loved."
Pre-Registration: We ask that you please pre-register for each Sunday you plan to bring your child to the nursery. Registration link is below.
Location: The So Loved Nursery Hallway is located on the first floor of the Education building, next to the 8th Street entrance.
Check-in/Drop Off: If your child is attending the nursery for the first time, our So Loved Nursery Coordinator will assist you with registering your child at the Visitor Registration Station. Once you have registered your child in our system, you can manually check in your child the following Sunday at one of our 2 check-in computers. Our staff is happy to accommodate special requests that will make your child feel more comfortable while in our care.
Room Moms: We have trained professionals, called Room Mothers, who are located in each classroom, birth-PreK. Our Room Moms will take your child at the door and answer any questions you may have.
Church Member Volunteers: Our So Loved volunteers are the heart of this ministry. Our church members volunteer in each classroom regularly. There are usually two volunteers and one Room Mother during each hour. If you are a member and have a child participating in Children’s Ministry, we ask that you serve in a classroom, one Sunday a month for one hour. This is what makes our ministry so special! To volunteer please contact Karah Guillory.
Pick Up: Please bring your guardian receipt (printed at check-in) upon pick-up. Only someone with a matching label can pick up your child. Safety first!
Sunday Morning ‘So-Loved’ Nursery Ministry at Glance
Childcare offered from 6 weeks through PreK, 10 am to 12 pm.
So Loved Classrooms
Caterpillars – 6 weeks until walking
Ducks – walking toddlers
Butterflies – 2 year olds
Bees – 3 year olds
Monkeys – 4 year olds
We pray that after spending time around our nursery, you and your children will know you are “So Loved.
Preschool Sunday At-a-Glance
The preschool years are all about discovery. During these little years, children are learning about Jesus through hands-on activities and age appropriate Bible stories. We equip teachers and volunteers with a gospel-centered curriculum appropriate for each age group.
Children’s church is offered for PreK and Kindergarten students during the 9.00 and 11.00 services. You will bring your PreK/K child WITH YOU to worship. PreK and K children will be dismissed to a Children’s Ministry staff member during the greeting and announcements. Children will get to attend their own “Order of Worship” that is suitable for their young age. We teach the same sermon text as our pastors! This is a wonderful opportunity for children to participate in age appropriate worship and it prepares them for big church when they enter the 1st grade!
If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact our Interim Director of Children’s Ministries, Darin Travis.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Our goal is for every family and child to feel "so loved" by our church and by God through their experience here. In order to achieve this goal, we will need a minimum of one volunteer to every four children that join our nursery. We will strive to find volunteers called by God to serve our children and families. These volunteers will be asked to commit to serve 1-2 times per month (at a minimum of one service time). This means 20-40 volunteers are needed.
The following are guidelines to ensure this ministry is a witness to our church and to the world.
First and foremost, we want our volunteers to be in pursuit of an intimate relationship with Jesus, which includes being a regular worship attendee.
Convey to everyone entering your environment that the children of this environment are “so loved” by Christ and his church (us). We want this message communicated to parents, volunteers, staff, custodians, and most importantly, to the children themselves. Communication does not necessary mean “speaking.” We communicate through actions, body language, appearance, etc.
Look to the Room Mothers for guidance and leadership. Room Mothers will be asked to be equippers leaving the volunteers to do the main work of being with and loving the children. When in doubt, turn to the Room Mother for support. This includes issues of child illness, behavior, crying, etc.
- Create an environment where children feel "so loved." This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Hands-on engagement with children at all times. Volunteers will not sit by idly and “watch.” This is a babysitting mentality. In order to communicate that children are “so loved,” we need to be playing, rocking, walking, holding, and generally engaging every child.
- Rooms are “clean” and excellent looking at all times. If you notice there is a spill, accident, broken toy, etc. please report it to the RM.
- Receive babies in a loving manner from the RMs. Smile at children, make them feel so loved and find out any specific needs that child may have.
- Each child will be called by name. Although you are not there every week, make an attempt to learn every child’s name as quickly as possible.
- Diapers will be changed frequently. No child should sit in a dirty or wet diaper for long. All diapers will be changed before the end of nursery time, even if they are clean.
- Volunteers should manage their appearance This includes wearing child-appropriate, but still professional clothing (no shorts, sweat pants, flip-flops, etc). Excellence in appearance conveys competence and love to parents. Below the knee pants or skirts are strongly advised. (Lots of bending over and/or sitting on the floor)
- Volunteers will make sure that nothing negative is ever said about a child. Love seeks to honor children and parents.
- Volunteers will make sure something positive is said to the parents about the children.
Children who show any visible signs of illness should not be allowed into the classroom. When addressing this issue with parents, assure them that we want their child in the nursery ministry as soon as they are feeling better. If you continually have a problem with a sick child, enlist the help of your Room Mom. If an illness is discovered after a child is in the classroom, remove the child from the other children and ask your RM to locate the parents.
Upon the recommendations of the Committee on Control of Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child should not be taken from the home when any of the following conditions exist:
- Vomiting or diarrhea (even associated with teething and medication)
- Any symptoms of childhood diseases, such as scarlet fever, German measles, mumps, chicken pox, cough, strep throat, flu, etc. or any other infectious or contagious disease
- Common cold from onset through one week
- Sore throat
- Earache or any discharge from the ears
- Fifth disease
- Any unexplained rash
- Eye discharge, pinkeye or other eye infections (All eye infections are contagious. The child must be on medication for 24 hours and not exhibiting any symptoms before entering nursery)
- Cloudy or green runny noses or persistent cough
- Head lice
- Any communicable disease
We require that a child be free of fever for 24 hours before entering First Nursery Ministry. When in doubt, please apply the “Golden Rule.” Adherence to this policy is important to protect the health of all children in our department.
One of the best ways to prevent the passage of germs is by washing hands. It’s important to teach children and model for them frequent hand washing especially at this age because many of them are still putting hands, fingers and sometimes toys in their mouths. Please remind the children continuously and assign a volunteer to help them wash their hands.
Hands should be washed:
- Upon entering the classroom
- Before and after eating
- Before handling food for snack or center time
- Before and after changing diapers
- After helping a child in the bathroom
- After wiping and blowing noses
Please make sure all snacks are eaten in a contained area. Do not allow children to walk around the room or playground with food. Snacks should be administered and eaten at table in classrooms.
Please make sure that every child goes home with a dry and clean diaper. This communicates to every parent our care for the welfare of his or her child. It is important to follow these procedures to eliminate the spread of infectious diseases. Each child’s health and safety is our ultimate priority. We will assemble all of your supplies for you and have them together in a tub/container. These supplies include diapers, wipes, paper towels, rubber gloves, wax paper, cleaning spray (Basic G) and a changing pad.
- Wash hands
- Use wipes, if there are none in the child’s bag, then use wipes provided by the church
- After changing, return the child to the play area
- Spray the area, let the cleaning solution sit on the mat for a minute and then wipe thoroughly
- Place soiled diapers in an individual plastic bag and dispose of in the diaper trashcan
- Wash your hands
There is one designated area for changing diapers. Please do not change diapers anywhere else in the room.
For the protection of our children and our volunteers, it is important to follow procedures when taking children to the restroom. The following guidelines are the rules for the bathroom, please don’t overlook them.
- You must do your best to make sure the bathroom is clear of any other people.
- A volunteer is never allowed in a bathroom stall alone with a child.
- All boys must use a stall (this is for their protection).
- Assist children with their clothing in the open doorway before they go into the bathroom.
- Encourage children to do as much of this for themselves as possible
- If you have an emergency situation where a child becomes ill or needs your assistance, open the stall door and provide what assistance the child may need. Under no circumstances will a volunteer be inside a stall with a child with the stall door closed.
- Make sure the child washes hands before leaving the bathroom.
There is nothing more important in the nursery ministry than the safety of our children. We will do everything to the best of our ability to keep them safe and secure while in our care. This speaks volumes to the families that we serve. Please immediately report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect of which you have knowledge or observe within the scope of your duties to the Room Mother/Hall Coordinator and the Childhood and Family Ministry Director.
Additional safeguards are as follows:
- The "Rule of Three" ensures that no staff member is ever alone with a child in a private space.
- There must be at least two volunteers in a classroom before children are received. No one may be alone in a classroom with a child.
- No one is to be alone in a bathroom at any time with a child. (See bathroom policy)
- All staff and responsible leadership have frequent access to all classrooms where children are being cared for.
- Any toy or piece of equipment that is broken or poses a hazard of any kind should be removed and/or reported to the coach immediately.
- During playground time, any balls or toys going over the fence must be retrieved by an adult only.
- Older siblings and/or children should not be present in the classroom. Their size, enthusiasm and lack of judgment can cause unintentional injury.
- Security tags are required when releasing a child from a classroom to the parent.
Please alert the coach if any toys, beds, etc. need replacing or replenishing. Clean, safe and “desirable” toys and equipment should be available at all times.
Toys should be sprayed with disinfectant before and after Sunday services. If a child puts a toy in his/her mouth, then moves on to another, that toy should be disinfected and allowed to dry before making it available to other children.
Any major spills, vomit or other messes that may require the custodial staff should be reported to the coach immediately.
Infants – Parents must supply all bottles, sippee cups, etc. for children in our infant nursery on Sunday mornings. The nursery staff may offer plain Cheerios or Gerber Puffs only in the infant room. Food, whether sent by parents or offered from staff, can only be administered in a high chair or at a table. Children may not eat while sitting or crawling on the floor.
Toddlers – PreK – In the rooms of our toddlers – Preschool, we offer only peanut-free snacks and cool water. Snacks must be administered with children seated at a table. Children may not have snacks while walking around a classroom or on the playground.
Tables should be wiped down with disinfectant wipes before and after snacks are given.
In the event that a class leaves their classroom as a group, such as playground time or a nature walk, the following security measures will be taken:
- Children are counted before leaving the room.
- The Room Mom or a volunteer will check the bathroom and under furniture for any stray children.
- When arriving at the destination, the children will be counted.
- Upon leaving the playground or other destination, the children will be counted and the Room Mom or a volunteer will check under and inside all play equipment for stray children.
- The children will be counted again upon entering the classroom.
Discipline provides a set of guidelines for behavior of children and adults.
“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22: 6).
Discipline is necessary:
- To prevent bodily harm
- To protect the child's health
- To increase the child's social awareness and encourage the child to develop
- To provide the child with emotional security
Discipline and punishment are not the same. Discipline should show the children how to behave in a social environment. It should be a process by which children are learning to control their own actions. The ultimate goal is to build up the child's self control. Discipline redirects behavior in a positive way. Because we provide low ratios of adults/children in our classroom, adults should usually be able to head off most situations before they occur. In the rare event that action is needed for our wee ones, like toddlers and two’s, loving correction and redirection should usually be sufficient. When possible, adults should practice the desired behavior with the child before moving on to another activity. When redirection does not produce the desired results, our older toddlers and two’s may require some “time out” or cool down time away from the group and beside an adult. A child should NEVER be placed in a room by himself or alone with one adult.
Time Out should never exceed 2 minutes for toddlers and 2 year olds or 3 minutes for 3 year olds. This time-out is not to punish but rather to redirect the child. No corporal punishment will be used at our facility. Often, a reminder is all that it takes to change a child’s behavior. The Room Mom will speak calmly to the child about how the behavior was inappropriate. If a child becomes uncontrollably distractive to the other children, a parent will be contacted. If the Hall Leader and Room Mom should determine that a child’s continuous undesirable behavior is detrimental to the other children in the group, the Hall Leader will request a conference with the parents to discuss strategies for helping that child on a more individual basis.
Any behaviors that require further action, should be brought to the Hall Leader and dealt with along with the parents of that child.
Biting is a normal stage of development for young children who are teething and are still developing their language skills. It is usually a temporary condition that is most common between thirteen and twenty-four months of age. This means that is a particular concern for the staff in the Toddler/Young 2s Room.
For safety and health concerns, we take biting seriously. When it happens, it’s very scary, frustrating and stressful for children, parents and teachers. It is also not something to blame on children, parents or teachers, and there are no quick and easy solutions to it. Children bite for a variety of reasons: simple sensory exploration, panic, crowding, seeking to be noticed or intense desire for a toy. Repeated biting becomes a pattern of learned behavior that is often hard to extinguish because it does achieve results: the desired toy, excitement, attention. Knowing that the effect of their biting will hurt another person is not yet a part of a child of this ages’ mindset, so the “cause-effect” relationship is not internalized. Our teachers plan activities and supervise carefully in order for biting not to happen. There are times, however, when everyone cannot be within immediate reach to prevent a bite.
Our policy for handling a biting incident is the following:
- The biter is immediately removed from the group with a firm "NO."
- The bitten child is consoled and the bitten area washed with soap and water. If necessary, ice is applied to reduce any swelling or bruising.
- The biter is not immediately allowed to return to play and is talked to on a level that he/she can understand, then redirected.
- A written incident report is given to the parents of all children involved when they are picked up that day. The name of a biting child is not released because it serves no useful purpose and can make an already difficult situation more difficult.
- We look intensively at the context of each biting incident for pattern, in an effort to prevent further biting behavior.
- We work with each biting child on resolving conflict or frustration in an appropriate manner.
- We try to adapt the environment and work with parents to reduce any child stress.
- We make special efforts to protect potential victims.
We try to make every effort to extinguish the behavior quickly and to balance our commitment to the family of the biting child to that of other families. Only after we feel we have made every effort to make the program work for the biting child do we consider asking a family to keep the child out of our nursery for an agreed upon amount of time in order to break the pattern.
In the case of an emergency, such as fire, that requires evacuating the building, the following procedures will be used:
- Room Moms and nursery volunteers will gather and count all children in their class
- A volunteer will lead the children out of the classrooms designated emergency exit door
- Room Mom will check the bathroom and under all furniture, in playhouses, etc. for stray children, then follow the class out making sure no children are separated from the group
- All classes in the preschool hallway will be taken to the "Louisiana Companies" parking lot across 8th street where students will be counted again
- If a child is missing, the Room Mom will re-enter the building to find that child while leaving the class with the volunteers
- Coach and hallway greeters will immediately go to the infant nursery to help carry non-walkers out of the building
- Children will not be brought back into the building until it has been inspected and cleared by the Fire department or other safety authorities
- Children will be released from the parking lot across 8th street to authorized guardians with a pick-up receipt
- Parents are advised NOT to come to the preschool area during the emergency, but to come to the parking lot across 8th street to wait for their child
The success of an emergency exit and the safety of everyone involved depends on all of our RMs, volunteers, coach, and parents remaining calm and following the procedures that have been set.