Check-in at each classroom vs centralized checkin

Our children's ministry team recently reached out to us with the desire to purchase additional check-in stations and printers for 5-6 classrooms.

Each classroom has between 30-50 students grades 1st-5th, and we think one printer per class should be enough. We currently do pen and paper check-in, enter the attendance retroactively, and manually print off name tags for these students (Avery labels).

For those who have made this switch before, what did you wish you knew or did differently while implementing?

We are currently thinking of going with a windows tablet or all in one device based on feedback ere: and a wired/wireless label printer. 

What device/printer combos are others using right now that seem to work well or not so well?

We are planning to avoid IPads based on feedback in this post (

Based on what I am reading here: and here: we will be avoiding the dymo printers.

For those with stations in each classroom, do you configure the stations to only allow check in to one room or is your setup more flexible?

  • For our largest campus (avg around 45 students/grade level), we run non-centralized check-in for this age group because the classrooms are not physically centralized (we have an outdoor campus and there isn't a clear "central" area for check-in for these grade levels). Most kids 2nd grade and older check themselves in, even if they're dropped off by their parents (the older kids get, the more likely it is they're checking themselves in) and our ministry leaders didn't want to risk children accidentally checking in their other-aged siblings. Sooo each classroom has their own check-in area and grade-restricted non-centralized check-in. 

    Our 4th and 5th grade classes each have 1 check-in kiosk, but the 2/3 class is combined (around 90-100 kids/service) and they have 2 kiosks. We are getting ready to roll this out to our K/1 room this summer and they will also have 2 kiosks. Each of these kiosks is a large touch screen built into a themed part of their room (mouse traps in our 2/3 room, a jungle temple rock in our 5th grade room etc.) They have wired, non-network printers and use the check-in application. Our Children's ministry for birth-PreK use WYSE units with touch screens and wireless network printers and use the Check-in URL. Because they have a physical centralized location, and the kids aren't checking themselves in, the birth-PreK ministry check-in is centralized. 

    With the older kids, we've had more success with printers with cutters than tear-off ones. We found we had lots of jams when students were tearing off their own stickers than when the printer drops it into a basket for them. Our teams wouldn't roll out check-in without printers + cutters because the issue was so prevalent when they tested it. All of our printers right now are Zebra printers.

    Our smaller campuses have centralized check-in for birth-3rd grade. Because they have a centralized physical area for check-in, this works well. Though for our older kids (4th and 5th grade), they have a non-centralized kiosk in their room for kids who go straight there without stopping at the kiosks.

    We have one campus that has centralized check-in stations with networked printers in the classrooms. This is the least flexible option--it works well on weekends when rooms don't change (you check in then walk to your classroom where our volunteers are waiting to greet kids by name), but makes it a challenge to run for mid-week events/make changes on the fly (each event/time has to have a different attendance type, you have to know what printer is where etc.). 

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