On their level

Billy Goff, CEO of Dallas-based Goff Companies, shares the 5 elements his firm’s most successful children’s spaces projects all have in common.

1) Security. This is the first and foremost priority. We like to design spaces with one way in and one way out, aside from emergency exits. The focus is on having one check-in area, which is often gated, and/or a pair of entry doors.

2) Leadership style. These days, children’s ministry leaders are active teaching pastors. We believe that the way you grow a church is through kids. Visionary leaders know that leading children requires much more than just filling a space.

3) Theming. Theming used to be a rarity, but it quickly moved into 2D spaces with murals, for example. Next, 3D became a big trend — with elements such as rollercoasters or cars emerging out of the walls, for instance.

KidstownPerimeterauditoriumNow, we’re moving away from those trends. We believe you can have a really creative children’s space without spending a ton of money. Using lots of paint colors is one cost-effective way to make a children’s space unique and engaging. (We’ve used upwards of 50 different colors in one space!)

Also, you can install way-finding carpets, with different-colored “paths” running to age-appropriate spaces. This makes it easier for kids — and their parents — to know where they belong.

Or, you could opt for round windows versus traditional square ones, as well as unique doors and cabinets with high-gloss laminate finishes.

All these efforts just allocate the money you’re already going to spend in unique ways that create high-energy spaces for kids.

4) Child-size worship. These days, dedicated assembly spaces for children’s worship is a growing trend. These areas usually have their own unique A/V setups and some breakout spaces around the perimeter

Parents want their kids engaged, not just looked after. Keeping them interested is more difficult today; but, if you design children’s spaces effectively, kids are apt to bring their parents to church, not the other way around.

5) Kid-friendly A/V. The idea with A/V setups in children’s spaces is to support interactive teaching. A/V elements need to support drama presentations, videos and more. Even toddlers react well to technology in these areas.

— Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh

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