We have several systems in place that help provide safe, healthy, consistent environments for our kids. Click on each policy below to find more information on our classroom policies.
- A parent, guardian, or individual who is 18 years old or older, must turn in a completed enrollment card for the child, found at each of the 3 check-in areas.
- After the enrollment card indicates 3 visits, the child will be given a permanent nametag and will be entered into the database.
- All visiting children will receive a temporary nametag.
- All regularly attending children will first need to find and wear their nametag located on a wall in their ministry area. If they cannot find their nametag or have lost one, they will need to go to the visitor/registration station in their area.
- All children with special needs must have a special needs intake form on file [to be filled out by parent or guardian] to be checked in to Sunday morning programs.
- A parent, guardian, or individual who is 18-years-old or older, must check in all children.
- At the check-in table, the parent/guardian/adult and the child will each be given matching numbered wristbands. Both parties MUST put the wristband on their wrist PRIOR to the child entering the classroom. Parents must NOT hold, transfer, or put the wristband in their pockets or purses. It MUST be worn.
- If the Ministry Pastors need to reach the parent, the number on the matching wristbands will be put up on the screen in the Shed, signifying the need for the parent to leave the service immediately.
- Once a child is checked in, the parent/guardian/adult may NOT leave the premises.
- Only Room Leaders, Security Team Members and Staff are allowed to check children in or out of the classrooms early.
- Check-in areas close at 9:10am and 11:10am.
- All children MUST be picked up as soon as the Shed Gathering is over.
- Elementary and Preschool areas will not open, unless there is a case of emergency, until 10:25am or 12:25pm. This is to ensure that kids are in the appropriate rooms and have a chance to complete their lesson without disturbance.
- Children MUST be picked up by the person who dropped them off and is WEARING the matching numbered wristband.
- If a parent/guardian/adult is wishing to check out a child without a matching numbered wristband, the following procedures are to take place:
- Room Leader should kindly ask the parent to wait and send someone to locate the Ministry Pastor.
- The parent/guardian/adult will be asked to wait until the rest of the children have been picked up
- If no other parent/guardian/adult comes to pick up the child with a wristband during that time, then the parent will be asked to show photo identification and it will need to match the information on the enrollment form.
- If at any time, there is questionable behavior from the parent requesting the child without a wristband, the Ministry Pastor will be contacted. If the Ministry Pastor is not available, the Family Life Pastor or the Security Captain will be called.
- If there is not a suitable next step and the guardianship or motives of the adult is actually in question, then we will proceed to the “suspicious person policy” and contact security.
- If 15 minutes has elapsed since the end of the Shed Gathering and a child has not been picked up, the wristband number will be placed up on the screen in The Shed, reminding the parent to pick up the child.
- If parents still do not pick up the child, we will send someone to look for the parents.
- If after all these measures have been taken, the child has still not been picked up, we will call the police and proceed under their instruction with the matter.
Specifically, we ask that parents refrain from bringing their child to Mars Hill Kids if he/she is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Fever over 100.4
- Skin rashes or eruptions
- Coughing associated with a respiratory infection
- Runny nose which has a yellow or green discharge
- Pink eye, which is often accompanied by a yellow/green discharge or thick drainage from the eye
- Parasites such as nits, lice, mites, or ringworm
- Drainage, in any form, from the ear
- Mars Hill does not dispense medications of kind, including creams, ointments or lotions. If your child needs access to an EpiPen, contact one of the MHK Pastors to submit a permission form.
First, we will ensure the child in question is safe and calm. Then, the Shepherd will inform the Room Leader [state the issue and persons involved]. The resulting series of actions/consequences will be as follows:
*Except in the case of behaviors that bypass a warning and directly result in contacting the Ministry Pastor [For example: danger to others or self, injuries, inappropriate touching etc.]
Room Leader will ensure calm communication with the child, reiterating the need for the child to comply with appropriate MHK classroom expectations. A firm statement of disapproval for inappropriate behavior will be given. An appropriate behavior will be stated and a potential consequence will be shared [refer to Time Out]. Room Leader will allow the child an opportunity for self-correction. Room Leader will restate the rules to the student while using positive reinforcement and affirmation.
Ministry Pastor will be informed and together with the Room Leader, will evaluate the situation and child in the hallway, away from the group. Room Leader or Ministry Pastor will tell the child his or her behavior has resulted in a consequence. The consequence is the same # of minutes away from the group as they are in age; i.e. 5 minutes for a 5 year old. Have the child take responsibility for his or her actions by confessing them to Mom or Dad [either by calling them out of the Shed if deemed necessary or after class is dismissed.].
Ministry Pastor will reiterate to the child his/her continued poor choices. Child will be removed from classroom, parent/guardian/adult will be called out of church and a discussion will take place between pastor/child/parent. The child will have an opportunity to explain his/her inappropriate behavior and how it is hurtful to others and himself/herself. The child will be encouraged to explain how in the future he/she will behave appropriately and what behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Parent is then informed upon the child’s next visit, the parent/guardian/adult will be required to stay with the child for the duration of the ministry program. Advanced notice is required as background checks apply for the entry into ministry areas.
If the inappropriate behavior continues [subsequent Sundays], the Ministry Pastor will immediately call parents to pick up the child. Pastor will offer to meet with the parents and child to offer support and referrals if needed. A support plan will be agreed on to help the child prepare to re-enter the classroom with appropriate behavior. The child may be asked to leave the classroom until the situation is under control and all participants feel comfortable with the child returning. Additional meetings and/or counseling may be necessary.
- The Room Leader is to stay with the agitated child. Shepherds lead other children to a safe place [hallway, Large Group room] and notify Ministry Pastor, Special Needs Coordinator, and parent.
- Remain calm and use these steps to de-escalate the child:
- Give the child your undivided attention: look at the child, make eye contact, and let him/her know that you’re listening
- Be non-judgmental
- Focus on the child’s feelings
- Allow silence and space
- Use positive talk
- If child begins to hurt himself or others, a trained Ministry Pastor or Special Needs Coordinator will use physical restraint
- Once child is de-escalated, tell the child that his parents have been called, explain to him that his behavior is not appropriate, and that we want him to remain safe.
- Staff will explain the situation to the parents apart from the child.
- A meeting with the Ministry Pastor, Special Needs Coordinator, parents, and possibly volunteers will occur before the child can return to the program.
- During the meeting, a support plan will be created for the child.
- The Ministry Pastor will complete an incident report, filing one copy for church records, and giving a copy to the parent.
- Age 0 to Crawlers: 1 volunteer to 2 kids
- Walkers up to 18 months old: 1 volunteer to 4 kids
- Toddlers 18 to 24 months: 1 volunteer to 4 kids
- 2 year olds: 1 volunteer to 6 kids
- 3-4 year olds: 1 volunteer to 8 kids
- 4-5 year olds: 1 volunteer to 10 kids
- K-4th grade classrooms: 1 volunteer to 10 kids
- Special Needs 1-on-1 volunteers do not count towards the ratios of the classrooms in which they participate
Fire Code Summary
- Babies: 132
- Preschool: 426
- 2’s Pod: 145
- 3’s Pod: 114
- 4-5’s Pod: 167
- Elementary: 676
- Kindergarten: 122
- 1st: 112
- 2nd: 110
- 3rd: 84
- 4th: 100
- Special Needs: 8 [SN1]
All children who need to use the restroom will be taken by 2 approved adult female volunteers, and one additional child of the same sex and age. The volunteer will check to make sure the restroom is safe. For children who might need assistance, the volunteer may enter the restroom to assist the child, but should leave the door ajar, while the additional child waits just outside the restroom. When the child is old enough to no longer need assistance, the door may be closed while the volunteer and additional child wait outside the restroom.
Diapers may only be changed by an adult [over 18] female volunteer, and if they do not have experience with changing diapers at home they will be asked to observe before changing a diaper.
*Hand washing after each of these procedures is expected.
Our serving age policy ensures a safe and secure environment for ministry participants.
- 10-12 year-old students will only be allowed to serve if approved by a Ministry Pastor.
- 10-12 year-old students may volunteer in Babies, Preschool, or Elementary, as long as they serve alongside an approved family member or adult mentor who is over 18-years-old.
- Students must be at least 13 years-old to serve in Babies, Preschool, or Elementary on their own. All students must submit an application to serve, have 2 unrelated references and an interview. The Ministry Pastor will supervise all student volunteers.
- A volunteer must be at least 15 years-old to serve in the Special Needs Ministry
Family Volunteering Together
- We encourage families to serve together, however, there needs to be at least one non-related adult serving in the room with the family. [For the purposes of this policy ‘related’ means spouses, partners, engaged couples and family members]
- Two Adult Rule: There will be 2 non-related adults in each classroom. No person under the age of 16 shall be considered as one of the adults.
- Parents who volunteer in any kids ministry location [Babies, Preschool, Elementary or Special Needs] may not bring children who are not approved to volunteer to serve with them.
Volunteer Screening Policy
The following policy has been adopted and will be strictly enforced to provide a safe and secure environment for ministry participants, and to minimize the ministry worker’s vulnerability to unwarranted accusation.
Volunteer Screening Guidelines
- Prior to consideration for a position, all prospective volunteers seeking a volunteer position that involves working with children, youth, or adults with special needs will complete an online ministry application, submitting 2 personal references. The references must be non-related persons who have known the prospective volunteer for 2 years or more, and who have observed them interacting with children.
- Each prospective volunteer will have an interview with a Mars Hill staff member. A ministry leader will carefully review the application, ensuring that the prospective volunteer is an appropriate match for the ministry position, based on the information provided. The prospective volunteer must be part of the Mars Hill community in order to serve.
- All 17 years-old and older volunteers, and visitors [including visiting parents] will have 4 criminal background checks done initially. If the volunteer continues to serve, a background check will be repeated every 2 years. Written consent must be obtained on a yearly basis.
- Any individual who has information indicating a criminal history of any kind will be contacted by a Ministry Pastor or the Special Needs Coordinator and may result in participating in a rigorous interview process to determine what level of personal recovery has taken place and whether they will be granted permission to serve in any capacity.
Volunteer Disqualification Process
- The Mars Hill Kids Ministry reserves the right to qualify or disqualify any individual from serving in any given role within the ministry. Individuals will be screened on a case-by-case basis and will be accepted based on criteria necessary for each individual role [see ministry specific expectation documents]
- A person having criminal child abuse violations or criminal sexual violations, whether charged, pending, convicted, or guilty is disqualified from volunteering or working with all children and youth [birth-12th grade] at Mars Hill Bible Church.
- In the event that an applicant has been deemed unqualified for serving in Mars Hill Kids, they will be dialogued with personally regarding how the decision was made and any opportunity to provide the applicant with the appropriate next steps for them will be discussed.
- All volunteer team members, parents, and visitors must wear the proper name badge in order to enter a Mars Hill Kids classroom during Sunday programs. The programs take place between 8:30am-10:25am and 10:30am-12:25pm.
- A picture of each volunteer team member will be taken by staff during their initial interview meeting. Pictures must be updated yearly.
- A name badge and lanyard will be issued to each volunteer team member at the time of their first serving experience. All volunteer team members must wear their name badge to enter a classroom during Sunday programming.
- The name badge will include their first name, last name, and picture. Handwritten name tags are only permitted for temporary use by staff on a non-reproducible template.
- All volunteer team members must check in with the appropriate person in their ministry area to pick up their name tag and check in for their serving time. All volunteer team members must return their name badges to the volunteer room after serving for the morning.
- If a name badge is lost or missing, the volunteer team member must inform staff immediately and will be issued a temporary name tag until a permanent name tag can be made.
- Parent visitors must be pre-approved by MHK staff prior to visiting their child’s classroom during Sunday programming, which includes 4 criminal background checks. Parents are permitted to help their child assimilate before programming begins. If a parent has been permitted by staff to remain in the classroom during programming, the Room Leader must be informed and they are required to wear a parent visitor name badge issued by staff, which will include their first and last name.
- Non-parent visitors must be pre-approved by Mars Hill Kids staff and have 4 criminal background checks in order to enter any classroom during Sunday programming. They are required to wear a visitor name badge with their first and last name printed on it. Non-parent visitors must be accompanied by Mars Hill Kids staff [i.e. photographer, grandparent].
Dress above reproach. No high heels, bare midriff, halter tops, low cut shirts, clothing that reveals undergarments or private body parts, excessively tight clothing, or offensive lettering or graphics are permitted.
All MHK volunteers must wear their MHK issued nametag with photo while serving.
We live in a culture that has developed a variety of ways to share our lives, stories, pictures, thoughts, and heartaches with the world. Just as with any new technological advancement or invention, together we need to be aware of the ways communicating through these mediums could be potentially beneficial or damaging to ourselves or to those we’re trying to love and serve.
Do not take any pictures of any kind while volunteering in Mars Hill Kids. It is impermissible to post pictures of yourself with any children on social media while serving [i.e. photo of “here I am with my Sunday kids”] As a role model to kids, we’re asking you to follow these guidelines regarding social networking sites and electronic communication:
Appropriateness [In social media]
- Think critically about the pictures you post of yourself and that you’re tagged in
- Un-tag or delete pictures that may lead others to question your character or integrity
- Pictures of you or your friends wearing immodest clothing [inappropriate swim suits, excessive cleavage, or exposed private areas], doing anything illegal, or participating in harmful behavior [use of alcohol, nicotine, or any illegal substances] must be removed
- Think critically about the language and topics you choose to reflect your life
- Delete inappropriate comments that are posted on your page
- Remember that pictures or suggestions of what is appropriate “adult” behavior may lead to inappropriate behavior in the lives of our kids
Appropriateness [In the classroom]
These boundaries set the parameters of what is and what is not acceptable behavior by a volunteer as it relates to the relationship with a child. Boundaries help protect both the kids and the volunteer by clarifying what types of behaviors or actions are not acceptable.
Physical affection should be appropriate to the age of the child [For example: It is generally appropriate for a 1 year-old to sit in a Babies Volunteer lap and give a hug, it is not appropriate for an older child + leader to behave in this manner.]
- Refrain from physical affection which includes but is not limited to prolonged physical contact, wrestling, tickling, piggyback rides, initiating or encouraging hugging, picking up, swinging of a child or playing with hair.
- Physical discipline is never allowed [see Discipline Policy].
- Physical contact or closeness is discouraged [High Fives are encouraged instead].
- Do not give any gifts of any kind to a child.
- Make no promise of confidentiality [report any suspicious activity or information to the Ministry Pastor].
- No volunteer should ever be in an isolated situation with a child.
- A female volunteer should be the one to comfort an upset child.
- Volunteers serving in Preschool and Elementary may not allow a child to sit on their lap.
- Never touch a child in any area that would be covered by a bathing suit [except when changing a diaper or properly assisting a child in the restroom]. Touching and affection should never be initiated by a volunteer.
The safety of children is the utmost importance at Mars Hill Kids. Please observe the following :
- Volunteers may not have hot beverages of any kind in Babies, Preschool, Elementary or Special Needs, including coffee [even if it is in a travel mug with a lid].
- Volunteers serving in Babies may not under any circumstance pick up a child unless the volunteer is at least 16 years-old.
- Babies Volunteers must remove shoes when volunteering [Please wear socks. If you forget we have them available].
- Volunteers may not bring friends who are not approved to volunteer with them to serve.
- In the event of a power outage, all children and volunteer team members should remain in the room they are currently in, unless otherwise instructed by a Mars Hill Kids staff member.
- Team members should encourage all kids to stay calm and near to their Shepherd or other volunteer team member serving with them at that time.
- Team members will use a manual lighting source located in each classroom.
- If a parent approaches the group, they are allowed to stand nearby once the Room Leader has checked the wristbands.
- Parents cannot take children with them until a Mars Hill Kids staff member has given approval or until the power has been restored.
- marshill.org [look for a cancellation announcement on homepage]
- 616.249.3337 [listen for a cancellation recording]