Sunday, March 14, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

After Church this morning, my husband and I were discussing the Church nursery. It seems like EVERY church nursery is different and uses totally different methods in doing things. We both agreed, there are the totally out of date ones, and the ones up to date. I will attempt to give you the whole conversation, as it was quite interesting :)
Firstly, we were discussing the up to date nurseries. These are the ones where the director knows the lastest data concerning germs (there is so much hand sanitizer, clorox wipes and Lysol Disinfectant you'd think it was a hospital). With all the different kinds of sickness going around today, such as RSV, the swine flu and millions of other childhood illnesses , it pays to try and keep a sanitary nursery. The door is locked and the babies are passed over, or little people let in. No one but the nursery workers are permitted inside the nursery (unless there is a nursing mother or two) to keep the chaos to a minimum and the children safe at all times. At the end of service the babies and children are passed back over with coats and shoes in place and their proper belongings, including cups, with the right child to the RIGHT parents. There is a "chore list" the workers must complete after each service... empty trash, sanitize baby changing table, door knobs, toys, vacuum ... etc. Under NO circumstances are strangers or siblings under the age of 13 to be let into the nursery to pick up children.(For this sort of thing, there is a list of people who can pick up a child.. if you aren't on the list, you aren't picking up a child :) The nursery is then locked until the next service. You make think this a silly thing, but they always open a fresh, clean nursery,,, tidy and inviting.
Now on to the not so up to date nurseries. I'v been in many, many nurseries traveling with my sister and brother in law as they made their summer rounds. I was in charge of their 2 boys at the time.... one was not yet 2, so more often than not, I was sitting in the nursery with him all by myself and observed first hand how the nurseries ran. Now in most of the instances, they were country churches which had nurseries, but these were only used if the little one got fussy in church. The mothers would then take them out... calm them down in the nursery, then take them back in the service. This being said, those nurseries were not used very much. The toys were yellowed with age and use, mostly broken or needing batteries. The decor was outdated and faded, the changing area smelling faintly of ammonia. If you found any snacks at all, it was probably a good idea not to feed them to anybody. Not having any kids of my own,,, I really didn't care how the nursery looked,,, just so long as I had a place for my nephew to play. Now, when I think of some of those nurseries, I cringe thinking how dirty some of those toys must have been and wondering when the last time they vacuumed was. Now I'm not saying these churches didnt care about the nursery,,, that just wasn't an important area to them. Either they were a dying church full of older folks, or like some of the country churches, baby friendly in the service.
In conclusion I think my favorite nursery was the one at our church in Missouri. It was wide open, clean, homey, inviting ,,, the children LOVED to be there and so did the workers. They cheerfully cleaned and sanitized after each service, so the burden never fell on just one person. The kids observed first hand how to tidy up and always wanted to help when clean up time came around. The toys were clean, up to date and in working order, as were the linens for the baby beds. It was a joy to work in a nursery in a growing church :)

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