Early Childhood Center gets new playground for toddlers

Emma Iannacone

Toddlers and infants got a new place to play at the Colorado State University Early Childhood Center Aug. 14.

The playground is meant to allow children in the early stages of development a safe place to play outside and in different terrain. Next to the new addition is a separate, pre-existing playground for older children.


“Providing an opportunity for the children to get out and be in nature has lots of opportunities for their growth and development,” said Barbara Benn, director of the Early Childhood Center.

children playing
Children play in the new playground at the Early Childhood Center (Emma Iannacone | Collegian)

Each year since 1929, the ECC serves 150 children from the Fort Collins community, CSU faculty, staff and students.

Housed within the Human Development and Family Studies department, the ECC also provides hands-on child care training to 170 students across various departments, according to the ECC’s website.

The play area includes climbing structures, sun shelters, a sandbox and a miniature kitchen with a water spigot for the kids to make mud.

“One of the funnest things I’ve seen since we’ve opened is the infants in the sandbox,” Benn said.

The sandbox uses a finer sand so it’s less coarse on the infants and toddlers’ skin, Benn said.

“If you think about what your fondest memories are of being a child, you were probably at a creek or on a rock or sliding in the snow,” Benn said. “We’re able to offer that in a group care setting, and that’s special.”

Four donors contributed to the development: Peggy Noland, Bea Romer and Karen and Greg Rattenborg, all of whom are CSU alumni.

Collegian reporter Emma Iannacone can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @EmmaIannacone.