It is the policy of the Elysburg Alliance Church (EAC) to provide a safe and healthy environment for all students (infants, toddlers, children, youth and adults). Therefore, the guidelines set forth in this manual are to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which we can bring our students to the Savior. We view ourselves as partners with God and families, seeking to provide quality care and instruction in our ministry to the family. All of the guidelines are designed to promote spiritual growth, building healthy disciples at every age level,and to protect both students and volunteers.
For the purposes of this policy, the ages of the children, youth & adult ministry are as follows:
Ministry Description /Age Range
Children’s Ministry Birth Through Grade 5
Youth Ministry Grade 6 through Grade 12
Adult Ministry Greater than age 18 / post graduation
All procedures outlined in this manual should be age appropriate and sensitive to the person’s personal needs.
Understanding the Issues
I.Understanding the NeedElysburg Alliance Church leaders and volunteers have a spiritual, moral and legal obligation to provide a safe and secure environment for students and teachers participating in church ministries.
II.Understanding Child Abuse
a.Child abuse is defined as a non-accidental physical or mental injury or mistreatment caused by the acts or omissions of the child’s parents, caretakers or volunteers.
b.Abuse is categorized as physical, emotional or sexual:
i.Physical abuse means non-accidental injury of a child.
ii.Emotional abuse means chronic attitudes or acts that are likely to produce long term, serious emotional disorders.
iii.Sexual abuse means sexual exploitation of a child, consensual or not, for the sexual gratification of the perpetrator or third party. c.Neglect means failure of those responsible for the care of a child to meet the physical and emotional needs of the child to the extent that the child’s health, development or safety is endangered. Neglect is categorized as physical or emotional:
i.Physical neglect means failure to meet the basic requirements for supervision, housing, clothing, medical attention and nutrition.
ii.Emotional neglect means failure to provide the praise, love, nurturing and security essential to the psychological and social
a.The Elysburg Alliance Church has scriptural and moral responsibility to students within the church.
b.The church represents Jesus Christ and must demonstrate and model His love, concern and holiness of life to everyone. The Scriptures say:
i.“Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
ii.“But among you there must not be a hint of sexual immorality,….because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3)
iii.“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6)
iv.“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. …Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1,2)
Proper Display of Affection
Physical touch is an important element in the communication of love and care. It is an essential part of the nurturing process that should be characteristic of our ministry with students. Volunteers need to be aware of and sensitive to, the special and differing needs and preferences of each individual child / student. Physical contact should be age and developmentally appropriate.
I.Appropriate Touch– The following guidelines are examples of pure, genuine and positive displays of God’s love:
a.Meet the child at eye level by bending or sitting down.
b.Listen to him / her with your eyes as well as your ears.
c.Hold a nursery or preschool child who is crying
II.Inappropriate Touch- The following types of touch MUST BE AVOIDED:
a.Kissing a child or coaxing a child to kiss you
b.Extended hugging and tickling
c.Touching a child in any area that would be covered by a bathing suit (exception – properly assisting a child in the restroom)
d.Carrying an older (4 years and up) child or sitting him/her on your lap
e.Being alone with a child whenever possible
f.Giving full contact, body-body hugs
Basic Requirements for Each Christian Education Volunteer
All volunteers should meet the requirements and qualifications outlined in their specific ministry description. The following are some general guidelines for Christian Education Volunteers:
•Teachers and certain ministry descriptions require church membership. All volunteers should be either church members in good standing or adherents in harmony with the doctrines and principles of the Elysburg Alliance Church.
•Volunteers who are not Elysburg Alliance Church members must give a personal testimony of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. •Volunteers should be regular attendees of the church for at least six (6) months, unless they are approved by the Board of Elders.
•Each volunteer must obtain and pass their Act 34 Criminal Background and Act 151 Child Abuse checks. These clearances will be updated every five (3) years.
•Each volunteer must be approved by the Board of Elders.
This classroom discipline policy is presented so that volunteers are able to deal with behavior difficulties in a caring and consistent manner. A hands-off approach is a must. Volunteers should study this discipline policy so that they understand the importance of its proper use and are prepared to use it. Proper discipline includes both preventative care and corrective action, and it also helps create a healthy learning environment.
1.REWARD good behavior. Immediate praise and recognition for positive actions are an effective way to encourage more of the same. Inform parent(s) when a child does well or shows improvement.
WHEN INAPPROPRIATE OR DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR OCCURS (Including violating guideline #6 below), teachers and volunteers should do the following:
2.REMIND the child of proper behavior. Remind him/her of the classroom rules and what is expected.
3.REDIRECT the child. Move him/her to a different situation or area. Separate the child from others when he/she is having difficulty behaving.
4.REMOVE the child from the group using a time-out chair within the classroom and in view of the teacher/volunteer. After an appropriate explanation of the child’s behavior, give him/her several minutes to sit alone (the child’s age should equal the time-out minutes). When the child is settled, invite him/her to rejoin the group.
5.RETURN the child to a parent(s). If steps 1 through 4 fail to change behavior, the child will be taken to a parent for the remainder of the class. After class, the teacher will explain the problem to the parent(s) (in the presence of the child) and reassure the child that he/she is welcome to join the class next time it meets. The teacher should report the action to the appropriate ministry director. Note: If the parent(s) is not available, the child should be taken to the responsible adult in the sanctuary.
6.Suggested Classroom Manners
i.Be kind to one another
ii.Pay attention and listen
iv.Talk one at a time
v.Keep hands and feet to yourself.
Children & Youth Ministry General Guidelines
1.For all children’s ministry classrooms (including nursery, Children’s Church, Beginner’s Church, Awana, Sunday School, etc.) there should be a minimum of 2 volunteers present in each classroom. At least one of the volunteers present in the classroom must be an adult. Adult volunteers must be at least 18 years old and the 2nd volunteer must be at least 13 years old.
2.Doors on classrooms should have a clear glass window that allows for easy view of the classroom activities without interrupting the teaching process.
3.The supervisory staff will periodically check on classrooms to ensure that the room is properly staffed and functioning.
4.All CE staff should follow Health and Safety guidelines as detailed in this volunteer policy manual.
5.All parent(s) of children and youth that attend regularly scheduled children & youth ministry events (Sunday School, Beginner’s & Children’s Church and Awana) need to complete an emergency contact / medical release form for each child that will be kept on file in the appropriate classroom.
6.All children that attend regularly scheduled children’s ministry events (Sunday School, Beginner’s & Children’s Church and Awana) will need to sign out their child prior to that child leaving the classroom at the end of the scheduled session. Sign out sheets will be provided for each class.
1.Nursery volunteers should follow the diaper changing & hand washing procedure posted in the nursery and provided in Appendix C. 2.The diaper changing tables should be in full view from the nursery door.
3.At least 2 adults (or one adult and one person over the age of 13) must be present in the nursery.
4.When nursery aged children need to use the restroom, the top portion of the nursery door and the door to the restroom should be propped open.
5.All electrical outlets in the nursery should be covered with an outlet plug.
6.The nursery volunteers and children’s ministry teachers will follow the sign in/out procedure and make sure that there is medical and emergency contact information on file for each child when they enter the nursery/classroom.
7.Nursery Sign In / Out Procedure
a. A white board with different colored cards velcroed down the middle will hang in the nursery
b. As children enter the nursery, their name will be written on the white board, next one of the colored cards in the middle of the white board.
c. The child’s parent / guardian (s) will be given a card the same color as the one next to the child’s name on the white board.
d. Upon return to the nursery, the parent / guardian(s) will present the colored card given to them to “sign out” their child.
Special Events & Overnight Outings
Teachers / Volunteers are encouraged to have special class activities in their homes, to plan social activities, and to involve their students in field trips and service projects. However, precautions need to be taken with these activities. The safety guidelines outlined below should be followed during these events.
1.Field Trips and Special Events
a.Off-site activities should be pre-approved by the Pastor. Parents should be notified at least one (1) week prior to the outing.
b.Parental Consent and Emergency Contact / Medical Release forms are required for each student participating. Hard or electronic copies of these forms must be kept in the group leaders’ possession during field trips and events, and must be kept in the church files after the outing / event is over.
c.All trips and outings should be supervised by a minimum of two (2) approved adult leaders, preferably one male and one female.
d.All drivers transporting students during an activity must have a valid driver’s license and current automobile insurance.
e.The number of occupants in the vehicle should not exceed the number of seat belts. Seat belts must be worn by everyone in the vehicle and car seats or booster seats must be used according to the law.
a.All overnight events must be pre-approved by the Pastor. Parent(s) should be notified at least two (2) weeks prior to the outing. b.Parental Consent and Emergency Contact / Medical Release forms are required for each student participating. Hard or electronic copies of these forms must be kept in the group leaders’ possession during field trips and events, and must be kept in the church files after the outing / event is over.
c.All trips and outings should be supervised by a minimum of two (2) approved adult leaders, preferably one male and one female. d.There should be at least two (2) leaders for every ten (10) students. Every leader should have an assigned group of children for which he/she is responsible.