Getting started with the Children module

Introduction to the Children module

Welcome to the Children module! This module is for managing all the children and young people associated with your church, ministry or charitable organisation - typically under 18s. Through the Children module, you can record and track levels of engagement, manage common admin workflows, communicate and report with ease.

We encourage you to read this article in full to familiarise yourself with the module's key features and customisation options available and to acquaint yourself with some of the basic concepts and terminology you'll see within the module and our other Children module support articles.

Children module features at a glance

  • Add or import new or existing children and young people
  • Child profile pages with everything in one view
  • Link children to their adult parents/carers in the Address Book (a linked parent/carer) or, for those whose parents/carers are not in the Address Book, parent/carer details can be maintained against the child (an unlinked parent/carer)
  • Use the module's standard fields, enable optional fields or add custom fields
  • Manage each child's communication options, privacy settings and ongoing consent
  • Categorise children and young people using Tags
  • Maintain historical records of key dates and milestones for each child
  • Record internal-only notes against children and young people
  • Build custom forms
  • Use Flows to process children through your common admin workflows and receive reminders when tasks become due and overdue
  • Communicate by Email and SMS - choosing whether to communicate with parents/carers or children (sending in real-time or scheduling communications) or produce address labels
  • Wide range of standard reports or perform custom reporting using Smart Tags or the Table Generator
  • Perform batch updates of information to multiple children
  • Archive children and young people who have moved on from your community or set them active again if they return
  • Functionality designed with GDPR best compliance and safeguarding best practices in mind
  • Stay on top of birthdays, medical and additional needs, doctor and school details
  • Create age-based groups for each of your gatherings, assign children to groups and process them into other groups as they get older
  • Produce printed registers and badges for manual attendance recording or use the Child Check-In system to register children (and team) and check them in and out of groups quickly and safely
  • Wide range of attendance reports to help manage your children's ministry
  • 'Change logs' to help you stay on top of all the changes being made by your Users or parents/carers
  • Invite primary parents/carers to access the My ChurchSuite member-facing platform - enabling them to keep both their children's and their own details up to date
  • Invite children over the Age of Consent to access the 'My ChurchSuite' member-facing platform
  • Multi-site support - assign each child to a site, perhaps where a "site" represents your different communities, projects or locations (e.g. different worshipping locations for church services or different projects for a charity)

Next Steps

1
Review the module's settings: Head into the module settings via the cogwheel icon in the top right-hand corner. There you can decide which contact fields you want to make available, set the default Communication & Privacy settings for your children, add any Custom Fields that may be relevant to your organisation and choose a School Year Structure. You can come back to the module settings at any time to further customise as you use ChurchSuite more.
2
Import your data: This Support Article talks you through what you'll need to do to import your children's data. We'd recommend that you import child data to the Children module separately from the data you import into the Address Book module.
3
Cleanse your data and link relevant people: Using our handy reports, you can further tidy up and rationalise your data. We'd recommend running and actioning the Duplicated Children report and the Potential Parent/Carer Match report initially.
4
Set up Gatherings and Groups: Set up age-based groups within the Gatherings for each of your child-related activities. Set upper age limits in gatherings and entry ages in groups. If you're intending to use Child Check-In, set your badge printing preference for each group.
5
Add children to Groups: View each gathering and use Add children to add children to the relevant groups. Groups will be suggested based on age.
6
Check out Tags and Key Dates: Tags can be used to categorise children in the Children module - check out our Support Articles on dynamic Smart Tags and Fixed Tags. Key Dates are a way to log important dates and milestones, such as anniversaries, occasions, attendance to events or training, membership and more - our Support Article on Key Dates is here.
7
Try out Communication: Communicate by email with children and/or parent/carers - this Support Article gives you more detail.
8
Try out Child Check In: Check out our related Support Articles at the bottom of the page about configuring and using Child Check-In and do some trial check-ins.

Check out our short training videos...

Terminology

Here's a list of terms you may see across the ChurchSuite modules and in our support articles:

  • Attendance is the area where children's group attendance is logged, either manually or via Child Check-In.
  • Child refers to a young person in your Children module.
  • Child Check-In is a feature of our Connect area - it's designed to run on a device at a child registration/check-in point, enabling you to easily check children into their assigned groups, for example for the kids programme during a Sunday Service.
  • Fields are the areas that you can input information to e.g. First name field and date of birth field. Within ChurchSuite there are standard, optional and custom fields. Some fields will be required.
  • Forms are a way of collecting data.
  • Gatherings contain one or more age-based groups. A gathering may contain one group, for example, a youth group who meet as one group on a weeknight, or may contain several groups, for example, Sunday School children who are split into multiple groups by age.
  • Groups refer to the age-based children and youth groups that your church runs, typically at your weekend services, but may also include your mid-week children and youth groups, and children groups like "parent and toddlers". These groups exist in the Children module (not the Small Groups module). You can record attendance for children groups (either by producing printed registers for manual check-in/out or by using the module's Child Check-in system). Children are usually assigned to these groups based on their age and will normally be processed through your various children groups as they get older or in line with a change of school year. Children groups provide a means for managing your regular children and visiting families/children using the check-in system.
  • Key Dates are a feature of the Address Book and Children modules, ideal for recording significant date-related milestones, anniversaries and date events against people. These key dates might typically represent people's journeys and engagement with your church activities e.g. the date someone first connects with your church, the date they attend a significant event or course and the date they complete some training. In addition to the key dates your users can add against people, ChurchSuite also adds certain Key Dates, such as when a person joins or leaves a serving ministry or small group. Using Key Dates, it's very easy to visualise and report on people's engagement with the life and activity of your community.
  • Parent/carer is how we refer to the parent, carer or responsible person for a child. Parent/carers can be contacts in the Address Book who are linked to children or can be Not in the Address Book, for those young people whose families aren't necessarily connected to your church.
  • Tags are a simple way to group or categorise people. Once created, you can use tags to target your communications and filter reports. Within ChurchSuite there are two types of tags - Smart Tags and Fixed Tags.
  • Visitors are children who have been checked in using Child Check-In but who have not been added to your Children module.

Got a question?

You’ll find the answers to most questions in our support articles - they're all available through the Support beacon located in the bottom-right corner of each page in the Children module - just search by topic, phrase or keyword. You can also access the Support Article library on our website. And if you still can't find something you're looking for, click to get in touch with one of the ChurchSuite team - we’re happy to help!

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