Child check-in - operation

In this article

Introduction
Starting a check-in session
Checking a child in - overview of the user experience
Overriding a child or visitor's default group
Checking in children using group search
Checking in team members

Introduction

ChurchSuite's Child Check-In system is purpose-built to help churches register and check children and young people into groups quickly and securely, and then just as easily check them out again at the end of the session, helping leaders manage their session and ensuring that each child is returned to the correct responsible adult.

The Check-In system can be used to check in your regular children, serving team members and visiting families. It can be used at your church's central child registration point in both staffed or unstaffed configurations, or for leaders to run "in room" check-in/out on a portable device, or a combination of both. The Child Check-In system adds child attendance records to your ChurchSuite Children module, providing churches with the all-important safeguarding records and comprehensive attendance reporting so that churches can easily monitor growth in this vital area of ministry.

When used with a compatible Brother label printer, the Child Check-In system can be used to print child name badges, parent pick-up badges, room badges and team badges. The Check-In system can also be used without badge-printing, perhaps for a mid-week youth gathering where you simply want to maintain an accurate check-in/out register of attendance.

The system is incredibly versatile, allowing churches to effectively manage adult-to-child ratios, and any restrictions you may have around each group's capacity (preventing further check-ins once capacity is reached).

Importantly it's easy to use - your leaders, parents and visiting families will love it!

Starting a check-in session

Before children and team can check in, you must first open a check-in Session. Where multiple check-in devices are being used, you'll start the session on one device and then your other devices will join the active session. Once a session has been opened you can easily test your printer by printing a test label.

You can launch the Child Check-in system in any one of several of ways: -

  • by entering your ChurchSuite account URL account.churchsuite.co.uk/connect into your browser (where account is your church's subdomain name)
  • by clicking the ChurchSuite Connect "quick link" on the ChurchSuite summary page in the admin-facing system, and selecting the Child Check-in system there.
  • by clicking the Goto Child Check-in "quick link" located on Children > Attendance on the right-hand side of the page, and then selecting the Child Check-in system there.
  • using the Child Check-in "kiosk mode" browser shortcut that you created in the previous section of this support article.
  • using the Android Connect app, available from the Play Store, on a compatible device.

To use the Child Check-in system a User must be either an Administrator or have Connect > Check-in user permissions.

Once logged in to Connect, select Check-In.

You can now select to join an Active Session (if there is one) or start a New Session.

To start a New Session, begin by entering a session Name or selecting a previously-used session from the Suggested names list. You can then click Start Session.

Note: The Suggested names are derived from previous session names that have been used. It is not necessary to create a new session name each time you subsequently use the check-in system. We recommend you use the same Session name(s) each week for a Gathering so that you can more helpfully track and report attendance history for that session over time - this will not be possible if you create a different session name every week! It's also not necessary to include a "date" in the session naming convention as the date (and time stamp) is part of the child attendance data recorded for each group within the session.

If selecting a previous session from the Suggested names list, the Gathering and all the other session Options default to the previously-used session settings.

If you operate groups across multiple gatherings, select the appropriate Gathering from the drop-down list.

Click + SHOW OPTIONS.

The Session Options allow you to override/set the Check-In Code, switching between one that is Auto-generated by ChurchSuite will appear on the child and parent pick-up badges, or a Manually entered code, perhaps if you are using pre-numbered parent pick-up wristbands.

The Process setting is to select between [One Stage] Register and Check-in (i.e. badges are produced and the child is immediately checked-in, with an attendance record added to the system), or [Two Stage] Register First, Check-In Later (i.e. badges are produced but no check-in or attendance record is added until the child is later checked into their group via the Child Check-in "Admin Area").

'One Stage' or 'Two Stage' check-in?

For check-in sessions where children will immediately go straight to their groups from the Check-In station (i.e. immediately handed over into the care of your leaders), you would likely choose [One Stage] Register and Check-in - badges are printed and the child's check-in attendance entry is immediately recorded.

However, if children are registered first - perhaps before the service at a central registration point where they will obtain their child/parent badges, but then either remain with parents until later in the service, or because the parents still have responsibility for their children at the point of registration until they are handed over to the leaders in the group's room - you would likely choose [Two Stage] Register First, Check-In Later.

For Two Stage check-in, no attendance entry is recorded at the point of registration. Only when the child is handed over into your care and checked in to the group by a leader (using the "Group check-in page" in the Admin Area) will an attendance entry be added against the child/group.

Registrations for children that don't subsequently check in to their group, for whatever reason, are deleted from the system when the Session is closed. Up to the point the Session is closed, the Admin Area will always show leaders a list of both registered children and checked in children.

The Printing options determine how many badges of each type are to be printed for the active Session only. Ordinarily ChurchSuite will respect the Group default setting for badge quantities, which may be different from group to group. However, for each badge type you can override the Group default setting and specify the number of badges to print, or even select "None" (if no badge printing is necessary).

Having review the Session Options, click Start Session to save the changes and begin the session. Other check-in devices can now join an Active Session.

Clicking Start Session will open the check-in page, ready to receive parents, children and team.

At this stage it may be helpful to test your printer settings. Click into the Check-In Admin Area by clicking the Admin button in the top right corner of the page. Enter your Admin PIN when prompted.

Working within the Session section select Print test.

On the Print test pop-up begin by selecting between the Child and Team badge Type - example badges of the selected type are displayed.

Moving your mouse cursor into the label preview surfaces options the option to Print test badges - click the Printer icon to test your printer and label settings are working as expected. Refer to the "Child check-in - configuration" support article for further guidance on setting the printer and label settings.

Checking a child in - overview of the user experience

There are a number of ways that a parent can check in their child. Depending on the child Search Fields you have enabled in the Children module's Connect Options (see related support article), they can enter the child's first name or last name, or the full or last four digits of their phone number (either mobile/cell or landline of the child or any linked parent of the child); or if your church has enabled a barcode scanner (see the related support article), they can scan their barcode or QR code and locate their children that way.

From the search results simply click each child to be checked in (or registered). Note that children are checked in to the group they are assigned to in your Children module. If a child has not yet been assigned to a group in the Gathering, the child will be auto-added to a group based on the child's date of birth and the group's entry/exit criteria set for the Gathering.

When using one-stage check-in a Check-In button is shown, but if using two-stage check-in, a Register button is displayed instead. Click Check-in (or Register) to check-in (or register) the child. If badges are to be produced for any of the selected children these will now be printed to the printer, including any parent pick-up badge and room badge. The Check-In system will then auto-cycle back to the check-in page ready for the next child.

Checking in visitors

In addition to checking in your regular children, as demonstrated above, you can also check in visiting children. The visitor check-in process begins with the usual Search, to make sure they're not already on the system for any reason; perhaps if they've visited previously.

Any matching search results are listed, including the option to Add as a visitor?

Select Add as a visitor. On the Add visitor page enter the child and parent information. The fields on the form are set in your Children module's settings on the Connect Options tab. Required fields are distinguished with a red asterisk symbol. The child's Name, Sex and Date of Birth are always required fields, but other fields can be set as optional in the Children module's settings on the Connect Options tab.

If you have uploaded a data protection statement or privacy notice to ChurchSuite, Visitors will be required to confirm they have read, understood and accept your privacy notice. The Save Details button will only become active when they tick to confirm their permission for you to process their personal information in accordance with your policy. Once they click Save Details, a customisable Success email is sent to the parent email address (if supplied) confirming the personal information they have submitted through the form.

After the visitor details are saved, the usual check-in page is displayed, with the visitor child's name pre-selected ready for check-in.

At this stage, for visiting families checking in multiple children, some of details from the first child are pre-populated into the form for subsequent children being added/checked in for that family. In the example below, Brady was added as a visitor first. Now, clicking Add as a visitor, the parent contact details are pre-populated into the form, so only the child details now need to be entered.

Visiting children, once added in this way, are retained on the system for a fixed period of time (the visitor retention period is set in the Children module's settings on the Connect Option tab) , meaning that returning visitors can check-in again in the future without the need to re-enter all their details. For multi-site churches, Visitors are assigned the same Site as the Gathering into which they are checked in. This means that a child search will only return results of children and visitors who belong to the same site as the session Gathering. If a child or visitor visits a different Site, their details will not be found in a child search for that Session and will need to be checked in as visitors to that site's Gathering.

Notice (below) that visitors are auto-assigned to the appropriate group in the Gathering based on their Date of Birth and your group entry/exit criteria for the Gathering.

When using one-stage check-in a Check-In button is shown, but if using two-stage check-in, a Register button is displayed instead. Click Check-in (or Register) to check-in (or register) the child. If badges are to be produced for any of the selected children these will now be printed to the printer, including any parent pick-up badge and room badge. The Check-In system will then auto-cycle back to the check-in page ready for the next child.

Overriding a child or visitor's default group

It's possible to override a child's group in two different ways. You can override their group permanently at the point of check-in or you can make a "one-time" override of the child's group in the Admin area after they have been checked in.

You might override a child's group permanently so that visiting siblings can be together in the same group or because a regular child's group needs to be updated. To do this, search for the child or add the visitor in the usual way (see example below), then click the Unlock button in the top-right corner.

You'll need to enter your Admin Area PIN to Unlock.

Once unlocked, you'll be able to select a different group from within the same Gathering.

Once revised groups have been selected click Lock to lock in the group(s). This action will alter the child's allocated group in ChurchSuite.

To make a "one-time" override of a child's group - perhaps because they need to join an older sibling for one week only - check them into their regular group first. Select Admin and enter the PIN to enter the Admin area. Select the relevant group and child, then click on the three dots to the right of the child's details and choose Move child.

Select the group you'd like to move the child to and click Confirm. This will be a "one-time" move and will not affect the child's group on their ChurchSuite contact record.

Checking in children using group search

Group search is an alternative to Child search, and is useful in larger churches where leaders simply want to see a list of all the children that are members of their group. They can then tick names (like a register) to check each child in to their group. Group search is ideal for "in room" check-in. Child and parent badges are still be printed, and visitors can still be added.

To switch from Child search (below) to Group search, select the Switch to group search option to enable this functionality (and also to revert back to Child search again).

Using Group Search screen (below), select the group within which you wish to search.

In Group search you can easily locate a child or visitor within that Group - either scrolling down the full list of children, or filtering using the Search options at the top of the list of children.

The list of children auto-filters as you type in the Search. For very large groups you can also filter just Boys or Girls if you wish. When searching for a child or visitor you can widen the search to Search all groups (in the current Gathering) - perhaps if the child you are searching for is not listed - in this way it's easy to check whether a visitor or child has been previously registered to another group before you Add as a visitor for your own group.

Simply click on a child's name, or Add as a visitor (which works as describe earlier) and click Check-In to complete the process.

Checking in team members

For churches wishing to manage adult-to-child ratios team members will need to be checked in too. The team check-in option can also produce a team badge, so that visiting families can easily identify your team members when handing over children or if they have questions. Only children aged 11 years and older can be checked in as Team - those under this age will not be displayed in the team check-in search results. Team members under the age of 18 are not counted towards adult-to-child ratio calculations. .

Whether a Team badge is produced is determined by the Printing options set when the Check-In Session is opened.

Team are checked in just like children. Notice the Team option under the Search. Select Team and enter the team member's name in the Search.

In the matching search results, select the Group that team member will be assigned to.

Selecting a Group will tick their name. Click Check-In and the Team badge is generated and printed. The Check-In system then re-cycles back to the Child search page ready for the next child or team member.

Within the Check-in Admin Area (see the related support article) you can view a summary of checked in team numbers (the smaller font "+1" indicates an under 18 team member)....

...and drill down to individual groups or "All groups" to see the names of checked in Team members (column heading are click-sortable.

When viewing the Team section clicking on the ellipsis menu icon on the right hand side of a person in the list provides options to Re-print the team member's badge, Move team member to a different group, or Delete team member from the active session.

Back in ChurchSuite in the Attendance section of the Children module, just as with your child Check-In attendance data, team Check-In attendance is also recorded for each group. The Attendance list displays 'at a glance' each Group and the number of Children and Team in attendance for a Date and Session.

You can drill down further into an attendance entry by selecting View from the action cog (see above) to view a list of the specific team members that checked in. In the attendance entry's "Edit" page, team attendance can also be manually added/edited if required (example below).

Still need help? Contact ChurchSuite Contact ChurchSuite