Setting Capacity and Leader Ratios in LifeKids

Excellence—it guides everything we do at LifeKids. It’s why we created the Excellence Walk Checklist. It’s why we carefully craft our curriculum. It’s why we never settle for “good enough.”

And that includes our capacity for kids rooms.

We get a lot of questions about how we determine leader-to-child ratios and the number of kids per room. In a nutshell, we have minimum and maximum standards that serve as starting points to inform our best practices. The needs of every church and ministry is different, but we’ve found a few flexible principles that work well for us:

Ratios depend on the age of the child. For example, from birth to 23 months old, we require one leader for every four babies. From two years old to kindergarten, that ratio goes up to one leader for every six kids. And finally, for 1st through 6th grade it’s one leader (plus an emcee who helps run our curriculum) for every 10 kids.

Just because these are our guidelines, that doesn’t mean we only try to meet the bare minimum. In best case scenarios, we have more even more leaders in the room than “required” so that the ratio of leaders-to-children is even better.

We open new rooms when attendance swells. Growth in your children’s ministry is great, but it can also come with challenges. Once more and more kids start filling up a room, it becomes difficult to maintain the high standards for leader-to-child ratios we’ve set.

In certain scenarios, it might make sense to combine ages in a single room, such as including three-year-olds in the “two-year-old room.” But if the group grows to include eight or more three-year-olds, we would open a new “three-year-old room” in order to serve both groups well.

Two rooms for each age group are also often necessary. If we have a large number of two-year-olds, we don’t just want to cram them into one room and call it good. More than 20 kids in a room is generally too many, so at that point we open a second room, split the group, and engage additional volunteers. Church Metrics helps us gauge over time if we’re consistently maxing-out rooms and helps us decide when it’s time to open a new room.

We realize that, like in many aspects of ministry, additional space and volunteers can sometimes be hard to come by. But because we’re driven by excellence, we’re also driven to find creative solutions to these challenges. Whatever unique needs your kids ministry has, routinely examine your minimums and maximums so you can consistently serve families well.

Parents trust us with their little ones, so we want to ensure our trustworthiness as we partner with parents to lead kids to become fully devoted followers of Christ.

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