Public invited to share memories of CSU’s Early Childhood Center, Washington School

Scenes from the Early Childhood Center in the 1920s and 1930s, at its original home — the current site of the Rainbow Restaurant on Laurel Street.

The Early Childhood Center at Colorado State University is asking community members to submit their memories of the center — and the Washington School building where it is now housed — in honor of two big anniversaries.

The ECC is celebrating its 90th birthday this year, and it is also the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Washington School.

Based in CSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, the Early Childhood Center has been serving children and families in the Fort Collins community since 1929.

The former Washington School, located at 233 South Shields St., was part of the Poudre School District and has been the home of the Early Childhood Center since 2013.

All alumni, students, parents and staff are invited to share their memories and congratulations, in preparation for a September anniversary celebration.

Organizers have some questions to get community members thinking:

  • What years did you attend?
  • Did you attend the ECC, the Washington School, or both?
  • Were you trained at the ECC for your career?
  • What is your best memory at the ECC or at Washington School?
  • What do you remember about your classmates and teachers?

Memories can be submitted at, or shared in person at the Lagoon Concert Series July 10.

The community is also invited to join an anniversary celebration at the building on Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon.


1919 – Washington School is completed to serve a growing Fort Collins population.

1929 – The ECC program originally started at the site where the Rainbow Restaurant now sits, at 212 W. Laurel St. At that time it was a summer-only program.

1972 – The ECC program moved to Rockwell Hall

1976 – The Early Childhood Center moved into the Gifford Building.

2012 – The ECC expanded its services to include infants and toddlers.

2013 – The Early Childhood Center moved operations from the Gifford Building to its current location at the former site of Washington School at 223 S. Shields St.

After being renovated, the 100-year-old Washington School on Shields Street was reopened as the new home of the ECC in 2013.

About the ECC

The ECC has a three-fold mission of teaching, research and service:

  • Its teaching mission is provide hands-on learning opportunities for CSU students interested in careers working with children and families.
  • Its research mission is to promote diverse opportunities for research related to children, families and early childhood education.
  • Its service mission is to provide high-quality, developmentally appropriate programming for young children in partnership with families.

CSU University Communications Staff