When you arrive for the first time, please go to the 3rd floor and the receptionist will register your family. Provide your name, date of birth, email, and cell phone number in addition to your child’s name, date of birth, and any health or allergy information.
We will help you find the right class for your child based on age and development markers.
If you’ve already enrolled your child in West Side Kids, you’ll be able to check in your child by typing in your phone number, selecting their class, and printing your child’s tags.
Your child’s tag includes a security number. You’ll be given a corresponding identification tag with a matching security number. This security number changes each week.
Nursery through PreK-aged children can be dropped off on the 3rd-floor as early as 30 minutes before service starts. Elementary-aged children will worship with their families and will be released to their 4th-floor classes before sermon time.
If your child needs extra attention while you’re in the service, we’ll display your security number on the screen in the sanctuary.
Please hold onto your tag, as it allows you to enter the childcare area and pick up your child from their classroom.
We recommend you wait until your child is at least 2 months old and has begun receiving immunizations. We’ve noticed that children brought to the nursery prior to 8 months old are less likely to experience separation anxiety as they grow older.
You may bring your child’s diaper bag and other items, but make sure they are labeled. Please leave all toys and dolls at home.
For health reasons, nursery workers unable to mix your child’s formula. Please pre-mix your child’s bottle.
If your child is unwell, we ask you to keep them at home.
Children must be free from the following symptoms and illnesses (without medication) for 24 hours before entering the classroom:
- Fever of 100° or higher
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye or other eye infection)
- Nasal drainage that is green or yellow
- Sore throat
- Open sores
- Cold or Flu
- Excessive coughing
If your child develops any of these symptoms in class, you’ll be notified to pick them up. If we’re unable to reach you, the area supervisor or receptionist will stay with your child outside the classroom.
Nursery classes are led by staff and volunteers, all of whom have completed the application process and gone through mandatory training and background checks. We hold comprehensive trainings ensuring our volunteers follow our policies and are equipped to nurture your children.
Youth must be at least 16 years old to serve in the nursery, 12 years old to work in the two-year-olds’ classrooms, and middle school-aged to serve in preschool.
In case a last-minute volunteer is needed, they will be approved by the area supervisor and placed with a volunteer or staff member who has gone through a background check.
Each nursery class has an adult-child ratio based on the developmental needs of each age group:
- Infants and Crawlers: 1 adult to 3 children
- Walkers: 1 adult to 4 children
- Twos: 1 adult to 5 children
We closely monitor the adult-child ratio in each classroom. Should a classroom go over the appropriate adult-child ratio, the area supervisor or receptionist will ask parents to volunteer. On occasion, a classroom may be closed if not enough adults are available.
We also require a two-adult ratio in all classrooms. This means there will always be at least two adults, one of whom is a woman, present while children are there. This is to protect children from potential abuse and to protect adults from false accusations. If there is ever an inevitable situation in which there is only one adult, the door to the room will be open.
Our 5th floor has an enclosed area where mothers may nurse while listening to the service. Mothers are also welcome to nurse in the nursery if their child needs to be fed during class time.
If your child has any allergies or special conditions, please explain them in detail to the staff member leading your child’s class.
Make sure allergies are listed in your child’s check-in account. When allergies are correctly noted in the system, they will be printed on your child’s name tag.
If your child has severe allergies requiring epinephrine, please give the medication to the lead teacher.
Yes! We are committed to caring for children with special needs.
Inform a staff person that your child has special needs, and discuss any special instructions with class teachers. Please attend class with your child for the first few weeks to help them get acquainted with the classroom environment. During this time, inform staff and volunteers of any routines and practices that will help your child thrive. As always, we welcome suggestions for how we can best serve your family.
If your child needs one-on-one attention, we can introduce them to one of our special needs buddies attentive to your child’s needs. With a special needs buddy, your child will be in a small classroom environment for most of the class time, with some time spent in a larger classroom setting for worship.
Please contact Alyssa Davis, our elementary coordinator and curriculum specialist, for more information.
If your child has a difficult time initially separating from you, understand that this natural developmental phase is brief.
We recommend you stay with your child in the classroom for no more than three weeks. If separation anxiety continues past this point, we’ll work with you through our graduated system of separation. During this time, you’ll gradually increase the amount of time your child is separated from you. This approach includes:
- Quickly dropping off your child at the classroom gate with no lingering
- Telling your child you will return in 10 minutes and returning as promised
- Upon return, staying in the classroom for the remainder of the class time
We’ll ask you to follow the same routine, increasing the time away by 5–10 minutes each week for 3 to 5 weeks.
This process not only teaches your child that you’ll always come back to them but also enables you to begin attending worship service without worrying about your child’s anxiety.
Here are a few more tips for easing separation anxiety:
- Ensure your child is well rested, healthy, and fed before service.
- Stay calm and assured during the separation. Children naturally absorb insecurities, so show confidence in your child and the nursery workers’ care.
- Leave in a timely manner. Belaboring the process accentuates emotions.
- Develop a special goodbye routine. It could be a silly tickle, a high five, a hug, kisses in the hand to keep, kisses thrown in the air to catch, or a favorite phrase.
- Realize that this is a natural developmental phase.
- Pray for your child before separation and during the church service.
- Celebrate small victories and encourage your child in love.
If you’re needed in the classroom because your child is upset, struggling, or having discipline issues, your security number will display on the screen in the sanctuary.
Our staff and volunteers can only administer adhesive bandages and ice packs. If more attention is required, we will immediately notify you.
If the fire alarm sounds while you are in the service, you must follow the evacuation instructions and exit out of the sanctuary. Do not come to the childcare area. This will cause congestion and prevent us from safely evacuating your child from the building.
In the event of an emergency, your child will be evacuated according to the following plan:
- Deputy Fire Wardens and assistants will evacuate children and infants via stairwell B leading to the W. 83rd Street sidewalk.
- Staff, children, and infants will proceed to the rendezvous location at the northeast corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 82nd Street.
- Communication will be made by two-way radio between the Children’s Ministry staff to establish progress and status.
- Teachers will have attendance sheets with them to check attendance at the rendezvous location.
- Parents will pick up their children from the rendezvous location of Amsterdam Avenue and 82nd Street.
During services, we have a security guard and West Side Kids staff person present at all times. Parents or guardians must present their child’s identification tag with the security number they received at check-in. Adults without an identification tag will not be permitted into the hallway unless escorted by a staff member.
Information about children, staff, and volunteers may not be distributed for any reason without appropriate consent.