Building Teams Next
My goal is to have individual teams, each with a team leader, a
teacher, and at least two to four classroom assistants. Structuring
a team that way allows the leader to focus on the administrative
aspects of running a classroom, and the teacher is free to develop
and teach awesome and incredible lessons.
The classroom assistants help with the million and one small
needs. No one feels overburdened, and everyone flourishes. Even in
the largest of classrooms, all the kids have needs met, incredible
teaching and activity times, and personal interaction with adults.
Parents find orderly classrooms, clean counters and rooms, and
friendly team members.
Teachers look forward to church because they're getting to do
what they want to do. And the team grows when individuals are
placed in positions where they excel.
Recruiting Parents Always
For too long, parents have been left out of the equation. So
we've developed a Parent Partners cooperative program. Parents'
primary fear is that we're going to ask them to teach, or worse
yet, leave them alone in a room with 40 3-year-olds.
Once we're able to remove that fear, the vast majority of
parents are more than willing to help once a month in a variety of
roles. In our ministry, all parents get to be on the team of their
choice, but again, it's only once a month, and it's with the same
team every month.
We offer a range of places for parents to participate besides
the classroom. Parents can plug into the special events team, drama
team, office help, summer camp staff, and more. So even a parent
who's involved with choir (or anything else) can participate in our
Parent Partners program.
The co-op is not an option. But promoting it in a positive way
helps parents feel they get to, not have to, be involved. Keeping a
positive approach is essential when communicating the value of the
program to parents and existing children's ministry team members.
As a result, we have a huge pool of classroom helpers.
Making the Change
We actually began our program by changing our sign-in and
registration processes. We had parents sign an agreement that
they'd participate in our cooperative program, and we gave parents
all the options for involvement to check off. Then when the forms
were turned in, we placed parents on teams with committed team
leaders and teachers.
Each team leader's job is to match parents' talents, skills, and
abilities to positions on the team where they'll feel successful.
Their value to the team is confirmed with plenty of opportunities
to make connections and develop friendships with other team
members. Of course, we use background screening checks before
placing anyone with children. Parents are placed on teams after
they've attended our church for several months and have made a
commitment to our church as a church home.
It isn't easy setting up and establishing Parent Partners
programs. And it takes a while to change from the Lone Ranger
teacher method to a team approach in the classroom. But if you
answered yes to any of the questions in the pop quiz, a team
strategy could calm your Sunday morning chaos.
Sue Kahawaii is a children's pastor in Tacoma,