Babies and Toddlers

We provide a nursery for children up to age 48 months during both our 9:15 and 11:15 a.m. services. Our paid caregivers follow strict policies and procedures. We ask that parents review the following policies and procedures for parents before using the nursery for the first time.

Welcome to Parents, Babies and Toddlers!

Babies and toddlers have a special, safe place to spend time apart from their parents or guardians during Sunday morning worship services. The nursery is located downstairs in the Parish Hall in rooms 1 and 2. Our nursery is managed by two Nursery Supervisors, members of the Religious Education staff, in cooperation with volunteers. All are guided by our Safe Congregation Policy.

Ages

The nursery is available for infants at 6-weeks, babies and toddlers who are three years old or younger. Our three-year-olds have their own program that runs during Young Church. It is possible for children who turn three during the year to move to the three-year-olds classroom; please speak with our Director of Religious Education (DRE) to explore this possibility.

Safe Congregation Policy

South Church has been operating under a safety policy to protect our children and youth from abuse since June of 2000. All paid staff and volunteers who supervise the nursery must be appropriately screened and receive safe congregation training from the DRE. There are at least two screened adults at all times in the nursery as required by our Safe Congregation Policy. Any toddler or baby who needs to leave the nursery will be cared for by the Roaming Supervisor or by our DRE. Copies of our Safe Congregation Policy are available and can be secured by speaking with the Director of Religious Education.

Hours of Operation

The nursery opens at 8:30 a.m. until 12:30pm. Parents are asked to pick up their children within 30 minutes of the conclusion of worship. Parents are welcome to use the nursery during social hour to socialize with their children and other families. There is often nursery care offered during church forums as well, feel free to contact the office to inquire should you wish to attend a workshop or community talk and would require childcare.

Registration

Whether families are members or friends of South Church, all babies and toddlers must have a completed registration form on file in the Religious Education Office. This form must be renewed each church year beginning in September. Blank forms can be obtained from the Nursery Supervisor, the Director of Religious Education, or at the Welcome Table during social hour.

Visitors

We look forward to having new families visiting us. We ask that you complete our Visitor form and become familiar with our Nursery staff and our procedures before leaving your baby or toddler with us. These Procedures are posted in the nursery and can be found on our web site (www.southchurch-uu.org). Please be sure to alert our staff of any medical issues (such as food allergies) or social/emotional issues. If you have visited more than three times, we ask that you complete a Registration form (see above).

Cooperative Staffing Program

The nursery is a cooperative program. Care is managed largely through the support of parent (and sometimes grandparent) volunteers. Parents and/or guardians are asked to sign up to help in the Nursery by seeing our Nursery Supervisor. The schedule is managed and posted by the Supervisor. All parents are welcome to stay the morning with their baby or toddler. However, any parent who is assisting the Nursery Supervisor as a volunteer, even if their children are present, must complete the safe-congregation screening. We schedule one volunteer to assist; however, some mornings an extra volunteer is needed. On these busy mornings you may be asked to help us.

Morning Routine

The physical and emotional safety of our babies and toddlers is our primary concern at all times. These young ones can be very sensitive and need close attention. In order to provide a calm soothing atmosphere, we ask that parents and/or guardians work with the following structure:

1. Arrival: Arrive well before the service begins to allow time to check in and to help your child transition. Parents are asked to stay with their child until they are comfortable and ready to be parted from them. Parents may find the nursery filled to capacity when babies or toddlers start with their parents in the Sanctuary or arrive late. Late arrivals may cause distress to many babies and toddlers and we strive to keep everyone comforted at all times.

2. Getting Settled/Signing In: Please sign in on our attendance form and speak with the Nursery Supervisor, especially about any issues she should be aware of. If you are leaving any materials, be sure they are labeled and are placed out of reach. Any special foods or drinks should be clearly labeled and identified to the Nursery Supervisor.

3. Sanctuary Seating: Please sit in the last three rows of the Sanctuary in case we need to ask you to return to the Nursery. We ask that you refrain from checking in on your children as your presence can cause distress to the babies or toddlers. One crying baby or toddler can create much upset to the others. The Roaming Supervisor or DRE will be happy to check in for you. Nursery Use Considerations In consideration of our young ones, we may ask you to make other arrangements for your baby or toddler if: 1. Your baby or toddler is ill. 2. The limit has been reached on the maximum number of babies and toddlers that can be safely housed in the room, especially if you arrive late. 3. If you are planning to leave early as this may cause distress with some babies or toddlers. 4. If your baby or toddler has separation issues and may not be ready to be left with strangers. We do work hard to help children acclimate to being away from their parents.

4. If our nursery is not equipped to handle particular special needs. Please note that our nursery staff is not permitted to dispense medications of any kind.

Questions or Comments

Please speak directly with our Nursery Supervisor if there are problems or concerns. If further discussion is required, please contact our Director of Religious Education, Kirsten Hunter at Kirsten@southchurch-uu.org