Keeping TeamKIDs safe
TeamKID: Kids in Discipleship is a great and exciting ministry for preschoolers and children in grades 1-6. TeamKID is not only fun, it provides opportunities to involve the whole body in learning. Keeping the meetings safe takes some planning as well as knowledge of safety requirements.
Make sure your church's insurance liability policy provides coverage for caring for preschoolers and children. Your church should have policies and procedures that provide guidelines for how teachers care for and relate to children. Give a copy of these policies and procedures to every TeamKID coach and make sure he or she is familiar with the guidelines before starting a TeamKID club.
Provide safe leaders
Screen coaches and workers and interview them to find out their qualifications for working with children. Discuss the importance of following the policies and procedures adopted by your church or organization.
Operate by the "two adult" rule. At least two adults (18 or older) should be in each room at all times when children are in attendance, regardless of the number of children.
Provide a safe environment
Provide adequate space, keeping in mind you will need lots of space for games and other movement activities. Establish boundaries. Mark off the area and make sure the participants understand the acceptable area to be used.
Check all equipment for any broken parts. This needs to be done before each meeting. Supervise games and equipment at all times. Keep equipment out of sight until time to use it.
Clean the floors, but make sure they are not slippery. A floor that is highly waxed is an invitation to an accident.
Check the area for hazards such as thumbtacks, splinters, staples, and other items that could injure a child. If some activities will take place outdoors, check the grass carefully for any foreign objects that could injure someone.
Keep emergency exits clear of clutter, furniture, or equipment. Point out the exits before beginning each meeting and practice emergency procedures as often as necessary.
Store first-aid supplies in a special container that is clearly marked. Replace items as needed and inventory expiration dates on supplies.
Provide a positive learning environment
Do not allow ridiculing or other inappropriate teasing to take place. Aside from being unkind, allowing children or adults to ridicule or bully others can cause an atmosphere of distrust and violence.
Never embarrass a child in front of his peers.
If a child with special needs will be participating, find out what is required for meeting his or her needs.
Know the game rules and give clear, brief instructions when introducing a game. Remember, the younger the child, the fewer the rules.
Model respectful behavior. Always treat others, adults and children, with respect. Train children to do the same.
Review the safety guidelines often with other coaches and hold each other responsible for following the safety rules. You are a mirror for the children, and they will imitate not only your action, but your attitude as well. Have fun and stay safe!