You will create your own program to fit the needs of your church. Here is what worked at our church:
Start-up costs were very reasonable:
- Toddler Musical Instruments: the kids will put these in their mouths! Make sure they meet the US federal standards for toy safety and is age appropriate. I purchased the toys I use for Lakeshore Learning. I like the Heavy Duty Rhythm and Sensory Blocks that had a good sound. I would recommend buying at least 24-30 instruments as the parents need to sing and play too - good role modeling that encourages the children to participate.
- Fabric scarves - make sure they are washable.
- Bulk box of Goldfish crackers :-)
- small paper water cups
The church provides a clean and welcoming nursery plus a staff person or volunteers to lead the program. The leader or group of leaders should be background screened and trained in safe church practices.
The leader sets up the room, welcomes the families, lead the songs, sets out the snacks and sometimes clean up afterward. The parents participate with their child during song time and are responsible for their children at all times.
To build the relationship it is important that the leader/team is there consistently. The leader and/or team advertise the program often.
I do Rockin' Toddler every week. That may be too much for you. Think out how many times a month you can commit to running the program. Try to find a consistent day (i.e. 9 am on the first Wednesday morning of the month).