Calvary Kids

Ministry Handbook 

Ministry Philosophy: 

Purpose and Mission

The mission of Calvary Kids is to instill a curiosity, awe, and trust in Jesus Christ in the kids God has entrusted to our care. Our purpose is to teach them about God’s word, who God is, and what He has done so they can believe on and trust in Him. The goal of introducing children to Jesus is to see them place their faith in Him for their entire lives. 

Spurgeon best sums it up when he says, “I have sometimes noticed that, in addressing Sunday-school children, it is not uncommon to tell them that the way to be saved is to love Jesus, which is not true. The way to be saved for man, woman, or child is to trust Jesus for the pardon of sin, and then, trusting Jesus, love comes as a fruit. Love is by no means the root. Faith alone occupies that place.” 

We Are Ministering to Kids, Parents, and Co-laborers: 

When we serve in Calvary Kids, we are ministering to more than just the kids. We are also ministering to their parents and our fellow volunteers. Parenting is often hard or discouraging and rarely rewarding. We need to encourage our parents in the discipleship of their own children with any and every opportunity we can. We also should encourage our fellow volunteers as we labor together. 

Most importantly, we are serving the Lord Jesus. He was the one that commanded the little children be allowed to come to Him. He is also the one that told us that if we have done any sort of ministry or service to even the smallest and most insignificant of his followers, we have done it to Him. As we serve these kids, parents, and our fellow volunteers we are truly serving and honoring the Lord Jesus.The significance of this cannot be overstated. Our service to Christ, by serving his people, will not be overlooked. 

Practice

As a church, we recognize that Jesus cares a great deal about children and families, so our heart is to provide Biblically sound teaching intended for children. The primary opportunity we have to accomplish this is during the Sunday morning service. Volunteers spend time with the children and give them opportunity for interactive play, bible study, scripture memorization, catechism, discussion, and songs of truth. ...we hope to “impart to children a vision of God, who He is, and who we are in relation to Him, and to establish them with a foundation of doctrine and truth.” 

Partnering with Parents: 

We believe that parents are the primary teachers of their children and it is our privilege to partner with them (Deut. 6:6-7) . While the church classroom is useful, parents have more opportunity to help their children apply the word in daily life experiences as a family. Therefore, it is essential that the church equip and encourage parents in their God-given role to disciple their children. To that end, we strive keep parents informed and provide them with resources to facilitate family discussions. 

Curriculum:

Our current curriculum is called the Gospel Project. Its goals and core values are are consistent with Calvary’s... 

The key goal of this curriculum is to show that the bible is not just a bunch of stories, but one whole story of how God has worked to redeem us through Jesus Christ, and each story is presented in light of its role in the whole story. Along with presenting the week’s teaching in a thorough and engaging manner, each lesson will also include:

  • Christ Centered Study – to Promote Gospel Transformation, Not Behavior Modification

  • Mission minded – to help kids understand the gospel gives us a mission and Jesus equips us for that mission

  • To equip parents to lead spiritual conversations in the home.

  • To help kids understand theological truths/doctrines and key themes of the Christian faith.

Structure of Curriculum:

  • 4 Volumes per year, 3 units per volume, 3-6 sessions per Unit

  • Each unit is built around one “Big Picture Theme”

  • The Sessions are broken into basically 3 parts (Opening Activities, Bible Story, and Review Activities).

  • Age Groups: PreK - 2nd Grade and 3rd - 6th Grade

Key Features of Curriculum:

  • Leader Guides

    • Unit Description, Main Point, Key Passage, “Big Picture Question”, Leader Bible Study, Bible Story worded for age groups, “Christ Connection”, group activities (material and prep levels listed in margins), Unit song, Bible skills activities, journal and prayer prompts.

  • Support Materials

    • Bible Story video, posters, activity pages, music lyrics and videos, Big Timeline Posters

  • Teacher Resources

    • Blog, Training videos for each session, and My Curriculum Manager

  • Parent/Family Resources

    • Big Picture Cards, E-mail template, iPhone/iPad app, Android app


(We use bits and pieces from all the available resources to put together the weekly lessons/parent updates)

Ministry Job Descriptions 

Ministry Roles and Responsibilities

Our current Calvary Kids ministry positions are Ministry Lead (Jannelle), Schedule Coordinator (Adam), and Lead Assistant (Christina). For each class, there are Teachers and Helpers. 

Ministry Lead: 

  • In addition to being on the rotating Teacher/Helper cycle, the Ministry Lead works with teachers and helpers to equip them in their service to the kids on a Sunday.

  • Coordinates weekly lessons and gathers supplies needed.

  • Sends out a reminder email the week before a scheduled Sunday, providing the teacher guide and other helpful details.

  • Reports (serious) incidents with kids in the Accident Handbook (found in the first aid kit) and notifies the parents.

  • Set up (have all supplies in the classroom prior to class) and tear down of Kids classrooms (young and old), alongside the teachers for that week.

  • Formulates vision and future goals for Calvary Kids.

Schedule Coordinator:

  • Works with volunteers to know their individual commitment and availability.

  • Schedules volunteers based on the above information and staffing needs.

  • Sends out an email with a cycle (4 weeks) schedule around the 15th of the previous month.

Lead Assistant:

  • The main role of the Lead Assistant is to assist both the schedule coordinator, and the Ministry Lead, for any need that arises under each role’s responsibility.

  • Gather supplies needed for Sunday classes and Calvary Kids events.

  • Helps with set up/tear down of classrooms (young and old), alongside the teachers for that week.

  • Helps formulate vision and policy for Calvary Kids.

Teacher/Class Leader:

  • Leads the class according to the outlined lesson that was sent earlier in the week.

  • Know check-in procedures and software (helps any new parents)

  • Take children (along with the Helper) to the bathroom according to the Calvary Kids policies and procedures.

  • Prepare and serve provided snacks.

  • Helps with cleaning up the classroom, leaving the room clean and in good condition after serving.

    Class Helper:

  • The Helper should be familiar with the planned curriculum.

  • The additional role of the Helper is to help with classroom management (snack or materials distribution, student participation, behavior, etc). While the Teacher leads the Bible story the Helper stays with the younger kids and plays quietly with them.

  • The Helper is also encouraged to stay and help with clean up, leaving the room clean and in good condition after serving.

Ministry Commitments


Volunteer Commitments:

  • Serve 1-2 services per cycle (cycle = 4 weeks, and requirement is based on Volunteers availability/preference)

  • Attend 4 Calvary Kids Meetings per year (Tentatively scheduled for Feb, May, Aug, Nov).

  • Attend pre-service prayer on scheduled Sundays if possible.

  • Notify Schedule Coordinator or Ministry Lead in the event of an absence, as soon as you know.

  • Pray for students, their families, and your co-teachers.

  • Arrive for scheduled services on time in order to connect with fellow volunteers and kids who may show up early.

  • Help clean up classroom after service on scheduled Sundays.

Volunteer Requirements:

Calvary Kids Ministry Team Members need to meet the same three core requirements all church volunteers must meet: salvation, membership, and pursuing holiness

  • A volunteer must be born again, meaning he/she already has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and is actively following Him.

  • A volunteer must be an active member of Calvary Tri Valley.

  • A volunteer must be actively pursuing holiness. If there is ongoing sin and immaturity, the individual is not fit to be an example to the community at Calvary.

  • Additionally, Calvary Kids Ministry Volunteers need to pass a background check screening process.

Class Descriptions and Expectations: 

Pre-K through 2nd Grade:

This class is developmentally a bit diverse, but it emphasizes hands on learning; crafts, activities, memory exercises, all of which point to the Bible story and key takeaways. The exact age of the children checked in to this class will be up to the parents and teachers discretion.

Volunteer expectations:

  • Follow the example schedule provided.

  • While the Teacher leads the Bible story the Helper sits with the rest of the kids and gently encourages them to listen to the Bible story and participate in the key takeaways.

  • We strive to use and combine, as is appropriate, curriculum materials that are designated for “Preschoolers” and “Younger Kids.”

  • This age group is still pretty wiggly and should have some opportunity for physical activities, but most have likely been exposed to a school learning environment and should be able to sit, listen and participate in a Bible lesson.


Older Kids (3rd - 6th grade):

This class serves children grades 3rd - 6th. While still developmentally diverse, children in this group have an improved ability to learn through discourse, reading, and writing. 

Volunteer expectations:

  • Follow the example schedule provided.

  • Engage students in discussion about the Bible lesson, worksheets, and life application. Remember to be sensitive to a variety of backgrounds, and unknown circumstances in their lives.

Training: 

  • Our current training consists primarily of one on one discourse with the Ministry Lead or Lead Assistant, peer training (during class) and special topics covered at mandatory quarterly meetings.

  • Volunteers will initially be scheduled to observe the class they are working in and shadow more seasoned volunteers.

  • Training is an ongoing process and the ministry leadership continues to keep a lookout for particular training needs and provide opportunities to cover those topics at quarterly meetings or a one on one basis.

  • If any volunteers feel that they would like additional training in a particular area, they should let the Ministry Lead know.


Policies, Procedures, Safety, and Security 

All policies and procedures we have established are intended to protect both Children and Volunteers.


Check-in and Check-out Procedure:

Check-in:

  • All children (in the Pre-K through 2nd Grade class) should be checked in by a parent or guardian.

  • When checking in for the first time, the Parent or Guardian creates a Planning Center account, through our electronic check-in system. This system allows the parent or guardian to provide important information like emergency contact info, children’s allergies, etc. The Parent or Guardian should keep this information up to date by communicating any changes to the Ministry Lead.

  • Once registered the child(ren) receive a name tag which has any allergies and an emergency contact number listed. The name tag will be attached to their clothing, on their back.

  • The parent can also receive a guardian tag which is linked to their child(ren)’s tag and use this for check out.

Check-out

  • Ensure that each child only leaves with the parent/guardian who checked them in, or an authorized guardian on their account.

  • Parents/guardians can check out their child(ren) the same way they checked-in.

  • Since we currently meet next to a busy parking lot, it’s very important to have the parents check their kid out, and acknowledge that they are no longer in our care.


Teacher Child Ratios:

A basic standard we hold very highly; no volunteer should ever be left alone with a child. Situations may arise where these standards cannot be met, and in such cases the adult in charge will use their best judgement in assigning appropriate supervision. 

The rest of these standards are based on developmental needs/physical limitations of age group, optimal usage of space, and safety during class time as well as in an emergency.

  • Pre-K - 2nd Grade:

    • Classroom (Approx): 12-14 children

    • Teacher Child Ratio: 1:7

    • Minimum Volunteers: 2

  • 3rd - 6th Grade

    • Classroom (Approx): 12-14 children

    • Teacher Child Ratio: 1:7

    • Minimum Volunteers: 2

Rules of discipline:

The method of discipline that we use allows volunteers to provide classroom order while also addressing the child’s misbehavior. We ask all volunteers to follow this model. 

  1. Reminder: Use the posted 3 rules to explain to the child what he or she did and why it was wrong (explain which rule their misbehavior falls under). Gently correct the behavior and explain what they should do instead and encourage them to do it.

  2. Warning: If the same behavior continues, patiently but firmly correct the child, this time with a warning of what’s to come next should the behavior continue. If needed, you can use a time out to help illustrate this warning. Time outs should not be a permanent solution for the rest of the class, but rather a moment for the child to calm down and understand that what he or she did was wrong. After, volunteers should encourage the child to come back and join the class.

  3. Parental intervention: If neither of the first two steps prevent the child from continuing to misbehave, volunteers may use the contact phone number on the child’s KidCheck label and contact the parent. When the parent arrives, volunteers should explain why the parent was contacted and have them bring their child into church for the remainder of service.

Restroom assistance:

Since Calvary Kids serves children of all ages, the needs of each class/age range varies. 

Pre-K through 2nd Grade: 

  • Children must be escorted to bathroom by the classroom volunteers. Check the bathroom first and make sure no one is in there. Have the child go in & provide assistance if necessary. If the child needs assistance, leave the bathroom door open. If the child does not need help, stand outside the door in line of vision of other volunteer(s). Children in this age group should be toilet trained.

3rd through 6th grade: 

  • Children may go to the bathroom without being escorted by a volunteer. Also, provide a planned opportunity to have children use the restroom, to try and minimize additional disruptions.


Appropriate Touching and Conduct:

The information below is provided to give a guide of not just unacceptable practices, but also acceptable or even encouraged practices, so that we are free to interact with the children in our care, creating an environment in which they know they are loved, accepted and acknowledged as beloved children of God. 

“Our purpose is not to develop a cold, sterile environment, but to provide a safe environment where ministry and activities for our children can continue unimpeded” 

Touch in appropriate ways, is important to all human interactions, to affirm, comfort, and show acceptance. However, what is appropriate for each age group differs. 

0 - 2 years: May need to be patted, held, hugged, or rocked. These are appropriate and expected

2 - 3 years: Need to be hugged and held from time to time.

4 - 6 years: Need to be hugged from time to time

7 + years: Touching should be limited to handshakes, a pat on the shoulder or arm, or ‘side-to-side’ hugs. There should be no lap sitting at this age.


Calvary Kids Volunteers must not, under any circumstances, at any time, make any comments of a sexual nature or inappropriately touch a minor, watch a child in a restroom, or in any way expose yourself, or make any other comments to take other actions which might be or could be interpreted as sexually arousing or satisfying to you, a child, or any other party present.  In addition, no volunteer should ever be alone with a child.

Any such accusations will be taken seriously, will be investigated thoroughly and will be reported to legal authorities as required. Should a volunteer be accused of sexual misconduct, they must comply with the investigation. Refusal to do so will result in permanent dismissal. 


Phones & Social Media:

While serving with the children, volunteers should refrain from using their phones unless necessary (ie: contacting a parent, contacting another volunteer, etc). Further, volunteers are not permitted to introduce content to children. This means that volunteers should refrain from showing children videos, photos, cartoons, or anything else that isn’t provided by the curriculum or formally introduced to Calvary Kids volunteers. Volunteers may not post images of children they are serving during a service on any social media outlets, without written permission from the children’s parents.