PREK (Age 0-4)
As you have experienced so far, these are trying days when it comes to our kids, our students, and everyone’s emotional, physical, and spiritual health. We are deeply grateful for the presence of God in Jesus by his Spirit among us, but we also know these are challenging times. Before we get to details, please – please – don’t hesitate to raise your hand if you feel you are drowning. Give one of our staff a call. It would be our privilege to humbly come alongside you and listen, talk, pray, and be available to help.
First, the fun stuff! It is with great joy and hope that we tell you we are ready to host your kids and students back on campus at Signal Pres for their own ministries and to be a support to adult ministries. We began with PreK Ministry on Sunday, August 16, for the 9 AM and 11 AM services (and the 4 PM service when it resumes), and will open for Childcare during women’s/men’s ministry offerings beginning August 27, with mid-week kids, and student ministries beginning on September 9.
The following applies to our PreK Ministry (birth-age 4 on the 1st floor, Cornerstone Building) beginning Sunday, August 16; there will be more communication for the rest of our on-site ministries in the next week or two, including PDS. We want to address several areas that will help you determine if you feel ready to return. This is the not-so-fun stuff, but it is important and addresses how we can gather as safely as possible. We know some of this will be inconvenient, but we share it as practical steps to loving both you and our neighbors in our Signal Mountain and wider Chattanooga communities. Please contact Elizabeth Collins directly if you have further questions.
1. Policies and plans for kids and volunteers to minimize risk.
- We have been working to prepare our spaces, caregivers, and practices for children age 0- Pre-K. Our caregivers and staff are fully briefed on these plans.
- We have reduced room furniture where possible to create more spacing.
- We have redirected foot traffic into one-way patterns where possible.
- We have examined and revised all our cleaning policies for before/after children are present to mitigate any COVID-19 exposure risk.
- We have set policies for staff, caregivers, and volunteer leaders governing what to do if they or a child presents with symptoms or is discovered to have been infected while on campus. We have a clear and thorough external communication plan in place to communicate with both Hamilton County and our families.
- We have significantly reduced shared items.
- We will prohibit mixing between groups to minimize potential exposure.
- All staff, caregivers, and volunteers will be wearing masks and/or face shields when indoors. They will also wear them outside if they are unable to maintain at least 6’ of distancing.
- Children in Pre-K rooms will not be asked to wear masks, but all others will wear masks.
- We will limit restroom occupancy to one person (or family) at a time when possible.
2. Waiver, Registration, and Screening.
There are three things you need to do as a parent before you come. Each of these is a crucial step in giving permission and letting us know your intentions on a specific day.
- First, complete a one-time waiver online for you and your family that is located at the top of this page. This simply notes you acknowledge the risks and assume responsibility. We will keep this document securely on file for the future.
- These next two steps apply each time you bring your child. As a matter of safety and stewardship we will be asking parents to make reservations in advance to ensure we have adequate space for children and do not run the risk of going beyond CDC recommended group sizes. Please make a reservation by Saturday evening for childcare during worship using the reservation link at the top of the page.
- Lastly, everyone entering the building will be asked screening questions and will have their temperature taken at the door. Temperatures must be below 100* F to enter.
We have worked out some new patterns to help with traffic flow on Sundays to minimize exposure to others.
- Please enter the youth parking lot from James and follow the signs to the children’s parking lot next to the playground.
DROP-OFF & CHECK-IN:
- Please park in every other space.
- There will be signs posted on the building exterior and interior to guide your next steps and communicate our best practices for hygiene.
- All Pre-K check-in will take place under the covered sidewalk next to the playground. Your waiver and screening can be completed ahead of time. When you arrive at checkin, we will do a quick temperature check.
- Any temperature reading of 100.0 or above means we will not be able to allow your child into the building. If the day and the car are hot, feel free to wait 10 minutes and we will try again to see if it is just an environmental factor.
- We will have single-use stickers ready to go for children, parents, diaper bags, etc. We will not be serving a snack during any childcare event.
- We are asking one family member to drop off to reduce congestion in the hallway and to keep traffic flowing. That family member will walk the child to his/her classroom where our same, precious caregivers will be eagerly awaiting! We ask that parents not enter the classroom but drop off children at the door with the caregivers.
- The rest of your family will enter from the sidewalk, and walk straight to the stairwell door and continue to the third floor where you will follow the hallway to the sanctuary. • Masks and hand sanitizer will be available for all parents upon entry and exit, along with wastebaskets for any discarded items.
- When you exit the sanctuary following worship, return to the children’s floor through the building and down the same stairwell you came up.
4. What if…
We acknowledge that there are a host of questions you still might have. The chief among them might be these two:
- What if someone on campus is later confirmed to have COVID-19? First, we will keep that person’s name confidential but will promptly notify any participants or families who may have been around the infected individual. Second, we will shut down rooms that the infected individual visited for 72 hours for a thorough cleaning consistent with CDC guidelines.
- What if Hamilton County Schools shift to phase 2? Or phase 1? Because of the large size of our church community in a small-town setting, we are choosing to closely watch Hamilton Country Department of Education as they track case levels. If students are present in school only two days per week, we will likely remain unchanged in our schedule. If HCDE closes schools on the mountain or throughout the entire county, we will likely close our ministry environments completely in an abundance of caution. If that were to happen, we would clearly communicate with you and the entire church.
5. Readiness to participate
Finally, we want to affirm that you as parents are the best ones to decide if you are ready to do this. Here is simple set of questions to consider after you have read all this:
- Have we read and understood these practices?
- Do we feel they address the safety and health of children, staff, and volunteers – and do I trust the church to monitor and respond to changing needs and requirements?
- Have we completed a wavier, made a reservation, and answered the screening questions in a way that allows us to come?
- Finally, are we ready to make that step?
If you can answer “yes” to each one, we hope that gives you the confidence to join us on the church campus.
If you have read this far (and well done at that!), you might be asking the same question we faced in June with opening for gathered worship: is all this worth it? Our answer is the same: yes. It is worth it to enable families – some for the first time – to have confidence that their smallest children can be cared for while they can worship together with the gathered church. It is worth it to find out if we can make space at our church for children to meet with other adults and students who can point them to the Lord. And it is worth it to make a way to support ministries that allow women and men to come together around God’s word and encounter him together. We so hope you will join us as we venture into this next season together!
Grace and peace,
The Family Ministry Team
Elizabeth Collins, Preschool
The Preschool Ministry at Signal Pres is designed to nurture children physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our staff understands the special nurturing each child needs and strives to see that each child feels and understands Jesus’ love for him/her.
Children, Infants to age 4 for Childcare
Infants – age 5 for Kids’ Discipleship
- Sunday Worship from 8:45 AM through the close of the last service at 12:00 PM.
- Kids’ Discipleship on Wednesday Nights, 5:30-7:30 PM.
Located on the first floor on the west end of the Cornerstone Building. Enter through the back of the building adjacent to the small playground.
A combination of paid staff and volunteers provide the care and nurture in each room. The staff provide consistency for the children and maintain our high standards of health and safety. Volunteers teach children about God’s love for them through their interactions, Bible stories, songs, and age-appropriate activities designed just for little ones. All staff and volunteers who serve in Family Ministry attend leadership training, because we recognize that it is a high calling to teach the Word of God, from the youngest to the eldest. We also background check all staff and volunteers who serve.
If your child has special needs or needs additional support in the nursery setting, click here for more information on the Embrace Room.
A space is available in the Infant Room for mothers who need to nurse.
Please bring extra diapers (disposable are preferred), a bottle or sippy cup, and a change of clothing. Please ensure that all of your child’s belongings are labeled.
To help ensure the security of all children and the cleanliness of floors, parents are asked to remain in the hallway rather than entering the classrooms when dropping-off and picking-up their children. Caregivers will receive children at the classroom door.
For more information please email Elizabeth Collins, Director of Preschool Ministry.