When directing a cm that had a director before you – how to establish or improve classroom management?

Your Question:

“How do I establish, or improve, the classroom management process?”

The Issues:

The ability of the CM team to control the learning environment, while also being kind and gentle with the children. An “out of control” environment or an environment that is too strict can both drive children and parents away.

Scripture Foundation:

“But everything must be done in a proper and orderly manner.”  1Corinthians 14:40

Short Answer:

Of course, the success of a children’s ministry (CM) depends on God’s blessing, but two other factors are the quality of the CM team members and the learning environments.


Setting realistic standards for the learning environments is a critical step in building a successful CM. Letting each CM team member create his/her own classroom management standards or procedures may lead to a lack of unity among the CM team and confusion in the children. It is critical to establish foundational standards for classroom management that apply to every age group or CM gathering. 


The concept of “classroom management” implies that there is a positive, controlled environment that fosters enjoyable learning experiences for the children, while also accomplishing the goals for the specific session. A classroom environment that is too strict will frustrate children and may actually lead to more discipline issues. A classroom environment that is too “loose” may also lead to frustrated children and a lack of actual learning. 


The goal of any classroom management process is to build a fine balance between control and enjoyable interaction among the children. There has to be freedom and fun, while also progressing toward an educational goal. To establish or improve the classroom management within an already-existing CM, you need to conduct some required training seminars for the CM team. Each CM team member needs to understand your perspectives and goals for classroom management.  At these seminars, you should let the team members enjoy some role-plays that reflect actual encounters in the classroom and that apply your process for accomplishing a balanced classroom management. You should look for team members who are resistant to change, and who may not be able to foster a healthy classroom environment.


If you discover any CM team members whose views of classroom management do not match yours, you must specifically deal with those challenges right away.  A CM team member who refuses to apply your standards for classroom management may become an “old wineskin” within the team. It is important to do all you can to create team unity as soon as possible. If that means confronting a team member with his/her refusal to apply your standards and warning him/her that you may ask him/her to step away from the ministry, do so.


Healthy classroom management standards might include the following:

  • Unified classroom rules (across the whole CM).
  • The application of positive reinforcement (complimenting those children who obey the rules or who display appropriate behavior) rather than only correcting wrong behavior. The development of relationships with the children that foster the desire, on the part of the children, to obey and to please.
  • A “climate” of kindness, respect, and cooperation (from the CM team member to the children, and from the children to each other).
  • A predictable and consistent schedule or process during the class or ministry time (always beginning and ending with prayer, “talk about your week” time, lesson time, etc.).
  • A shift from “free play” time to “controlled interaction” time (a difference in how this time is spent, monitored, and introduced).


The “bottom line” of classroom management is that the children sense that the teacher or CM team members have a specific process and plan that will happen. Children (and adults) enjoy working within comfortable, clear boundaries, rather than a “wild and free” environment.

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