Since preschoolers tend to be the most physically active people inside your church, doesn't it make sense that you should pay particular attention to the places where they will learn, play and generally have fun?

Of course it does! With that in mind, let's take a look at some specific guidelines for preschool teaching areas and how you can make the most of your space.

Room size

Recommended size for a preschool room is large enough to allow 35 square feet per child. To calculate the recommended square footage for a class/department room, multiply the number of children by 35.


Solid doors with small rectangular window for safety and security are recommended for preschool rooms. (Half doors are not recommended; they invite teachers to visit with others in the hallway, and children are distracted by movement and noise outside the open half door.) Doors should be 36 inches wide and should open to the outside of the room.


Floors can be carpet or tile. Whatever choice is made, keep these aspects in mind.

  • Floors should allow preschoolers the freedom to participate in a variety of activities.

  • Floors should be comfortable for seating and for activities.

  • Floors should be easy to keep clean and sanitary.

  • Flooring should be safe for preschoolers.

Electrical outlets

If building new space, provide two outlets per wall. In rooms for babies through twos, outlets should be four and one-half feet from the floor (for safety). Install safety outlets or keep outlets covered with safety covers when not in use.


Walls in a preschool room may be covered with washable, nontoxic paint or with vinyl wallpaper with no pattern. Wall color is an important part of the learning environment. Neutral colors or soft pastels are best.

For rooms that receive much natural light, soft blues and other "cool" colors work well. For rooms receiving little or no natural light, a "warm" color, such as soft yellow, is a good choice. Bold colors, patterns, chair rails, borders and murals may distract from learning, may make rooms look cluttered, or may encourage overactive behavior. If additional color is desired in a preschool room, add a soft color accent wall to the room.


Recommended material for preschool rooms is an acoustical ceiling. These ceilings work to keep the noise level low.


Windows located 18 inches from the floor will provide preschoolers a better view of God's world. For safety, keep window ledges flush with the wall, and provide windows with shatterproof glass. If necessary, add mini blinds to eliminate glare or to close out distractions.


Fluorescent lighting works well in a preschool room. This lighting is brighter and less expensive to maintain. In rooms designed for babies, lights should be on a dimmer switch or designed so that some lights can be turned on while leaving other lights off (for sleeping babies).


For best results, preschool rest rooms should be connected to the department room. Equip the rest rooms with child-sized toilets and sinks with paper towels and soap dispenser on the level of preschoolers. Rest rooms should also have tile floors and doors without locks.

Preschool Sunday School space

  • Space per child: 35 square feet recommended

  • Room size: 200 square feet minimum; no wall less than 12 feet

  • Windowsills: 18 to 24 inches from floor

Preschool Room Capacities

  • Babies to 1 year old: 7-10

  • 2 years old: 9-12

  • 3-5 years old: 12-16

Weekday child care

  • Space per child: 35 square feet or by local codes

  • Play yard: 75 square feet per child minimum, or as required by codes

  • Rooms usually require grade level location, often with direct access to exits. Check codes. (Check state and local codes for detailed requirements.)

Lifeway Church Resources offers design help for churches through Visioneering Studios at Lifeway.

Call (615) 251-2466 for information.

Permission to photocopy this article in its entirety for individual church use is granted.
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